Back when Podcasting was all the rage, I did one with an old college buddy.  We ran it for about five years and then as family and work obligations took over, had to shut it down. One of my favorite episodes was always the “What’s On My Christmas List” edition we would do in late November/early December. We don’t do the podcast any more, but I still like making lists, so without further ado, I present a few items for you gift-buying consideration…

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Compact Binoculars – Depending on your preferences and budget, there are three decent sets out there that I have come across. First up are the $700+ Leica 10×25 BCR Ultravids. The next option are the $547 Nikon Premier LX-Ls.  Finally, for those who don’t want to break the budget, there are the $165 Bushnell Legend Ultra HD 10×25 binocs. I’m liable to push for the Bushnells for a couple of reasons. First of all, compact binoculars are always going to be a compromise. The 25mm objective is simply not going to take in enough light to rival even mid-range 42 or 50 mm objective lenses. Secondly, I’ve had good experience with Bushnell’s line of elite rifle scopes – they may not be in the same league as the really high end competition, but they get the job done at a reasonable price. Plus, Bushnell will buy them back if you aren’t happy with them.   isatphone-pro-na-plans Satellite Phone – Whether you’re preparing for bad weather, social collapse, or just plan to do some traveling in an area where cell phone coverage is spotty or non-existent, a satellite phone may be in your future. Keep in mind that cell towers require power so a really bad storm can shut down the cell system. Furthermore, in the event of a localized disaster, service to normal people can be turned off completely or simply degraded to make space for the “official” first responders.  Sure, Amateur radio exists, but it can be a pain in the backside to locate a working repeater that can do a telephone patch if you want to call someone on the phone to let them know you are okay or to pass a message. Sat phones have come down in price over the past few years and there are some reasonable options.  I’m not going to do a full discussion of Sat phones here because after all, we are a gun blog, but suffice to say that you need to pick your service provider carefully. The big three (Globalstar, Iridium, and Inmarsat) all have pros and cons. What I’m going to recommend however is a deal that Roadpost.com is running on Inmarsat phones. The $600 Inmarsat IsatPhone Pro is currently available for free if you sign up for a two year contract.  Sure, the cheapest plan is $50 per month and only provides you 10 included minutes, but let’s face it, how much time to you plan to spend yakking anyway?

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Orvis Men’s Simoon Zip Neck Shirt – My wife picked up a couple of these last Christmas and I want some more this year. While they are made by Orvis, they do not seem to be available on Orvis’ own site – only through Amazon.com.  I like these for a couple of reason.  First of all, the Poly/Cotton Blend makes them easy to wash and they keep their shape wash after wash. Secondly and the real reason I like them is that they tend to be cut lower than many other sweaters and sweatshirts. They are the perfect length for concealing a compact firearm either inside or outside the waistband. Finally, the leather trim and collar make it easy to slip this on over a t-shirt and look relatively neat and professional. Not a bad thing for $79.

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Offset Rail for my AR My SIG Sauer 516 currently wears a Nikon P-223 3-9 x 40 scope. It’s great for intermediate range work, but not so good for close in stuff.  If I’ve learned nothing else from the CQB courses that I’ve taken, its that sometimes, you need to deal with a potential threat right in front of you. Even if you have a rifle.  3x is not terrible for this, but it does cost you situational awareness. With this in mind, I’d like to put one of the red dots I have lying around to use and mount it on my rifle. Sure, I could always replace the scope mount that I currently have with one that includes an angled mount, but I think the cheaper option would be something like this Daniel Defense 1 o’Clock mount.

 

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Stoeger Coach Gun Supreme – Ever since RF mentioned the Stoeger Coach Gun as one of his “Three Guns to Take to Work” back in September, I’ve had a hankering for one of these (damn you, Robert).  I’ve never been a big shotgun guy.  Sure, I’ve terminated my share of clay pigeons over the  years, but never with my own gun.  A couple of years ago, I picked up a Mossy 930 Tactical Shotgun, but that’s really for a different purpose.  The classic look of the side by side epitomizes the old west and from a self defense perspective a side-by-side has even fewer things that can go wrong than a pump or my semi-automatic.  Plus, I love the fact that this thing takes down quickly for easy transport.  The supreme version that I want ships with a couple of choke sets and has a thicker recoil pad.  I’ll take mine in 12 gauge and a nice nickel finish.  There have been some issues with the single trigger version, but the double trigger one seems to be rock solid.  If I get one of these, I’ll do Joe Biden proud.

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Polymer 80 Polymer 80% Lower – Did you know it is completely legal to make a gun for your own use? For years, gun enthusiasts with some machinist experience have been exploiting a small loophole in the existing draconian Federal Firearms laws by making their own guns.  Yes, it’s completely legal (at least for now) to build a gun for yourself without notifying the Gestapo ATF of its creation.  AK-47 pattern guns have been popular for years with their stamped sheet metal receivers that requires some molds and a modicum of experience to bend and weld into a working receiver that can then have a rifle built around it.  AR-15 pattern rifles are also popular due to the accessories available for them, but their receivers are a little harder to build without access to a CNC machine.  One way around this is the 80% lower.  It is what it sounds like – an AR-15 receiver that is only 80% finished.  As such, it is not considered a firearm by law and sales are not subject to 4473 or registration of any kind.  The purchaser of these 80% lowers is responsible for doing the last 20% of the work, thus being the creator of the firearm.  In the past, these 80% lowers have been largely made from Aluminum which requires either a milling machine or a drill press (and a lot of patience) along with some degree of milling expertise.  In the last year or so, a number of companies have released 80% lowers made from polymer which is much easier for the home gunsmith to work.  Polymer 80 offers 80% lowers as well as a drilling template that fits around the receiver and makes it fairly easy for someone with a bit of woodworking skill to create a fully functional lower.  If you buy the recevier and template from Polymer 80, they throw in a set of drilling/milling bits, so all that you need is a drill press.  Polymer 80 also offers instructions for those who want to do the job with a hand drill and Demel, so not even a drill press is needed.

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Gift Certificate to the Local Gun Store – When all else fails, a gift certificate to your local gun store is always a winner.  Sure, you can save a buck or two buying your guns from the online guys (and I do business with them when I want something my local guy can’t get), but at the end of the day, its the local gun store where you go to fondle the merchandise and to shoot the breeze with other people who think the way you do.  I’ve been in no other retail environment where a conversation can get started between several perfect strangers and go on for an hour.  Your LGS is the glue that holds our local gun communities together and the slight premium we might pay to buy something from them is worth it.

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45 Responses to Jim’s Christmas List 2013

  1. It’s chancy to admit it after that asshole biden endorsed them, but I like double barreled shotguns. They are ideal for hunting. It’s so rare to shoot more than 2 rounds at a given animal that being limited to 2 is a non issue. All other things being equal a double gun is shorter and lighter than a pump or semi.

    In a true SHTF situation you can forage with a slug in one chamber and a load of birdshot in the other. No meat, big or small gets past the pot.

    And yes, I’ve always liked double triggers.

    • that’s why i love my two Drillings, one is from Jan 1925 it’s a SXS 16ga with a 8X57 rifle barrel under. the other, i haven’t been able to figure out how old it is (pre 1912 dating laws) and is a SXS 16ga with a 9.3×72 rifle barrel. both with beautiful walnut stocks and engravings everywhere

      • Europeans loved them some 16 ga. I did too. Perfect all around ga. Never used a drilling. The Savage model 24 is the closest I’ve come. Handy concept.

        • I wonder why 16 ga never caught on here. Seems the perfect “bridge” caliber between 12 and 20. I’ve shot a 16 in the past and like Goldilocks, I thought it was “just right”

        • the 16g a was doomed when they lumped it into the same trap and skeet category as the 12. in every way it’s the straight 6 of the shot shells but up against the 12 it doesn’t have the commercial backing. it’s easier to overload a 20 or overpower it with a 12. ok tangent aside.

          Similar to my list but you forgot the stocking stuffer: AMMO

  2. The polymer 80% lower is $80 and the jig is $20. Assuming it works satisfactorily in the end, that’s the cheapest option I’ve seen to complete your own 80%. If anyone has a comparable alternative, please share.

    • The jig is stated as one time use, well maybe.
      If making more than one lower the first jig could be used as shown in the video.
      The second jig could be used for drilling the holes only then use the first jig for milling it out.
      If done in that manner no new jig would need to be purchased for the 3rd or more lowers.

    • The James Madison poly lower is IMO the best poly lower on the market. Much stronger than any others ive seen, NFA, Carbon15, Windham, Poly80, etc.
      Its $99 with jig

  3. I have the Daniel Defense mount on my PWS Mk216. Rock solid, holding up just fine under field conditions for a year so far.

    • @Hasbrudal- what is the MRDS that you have mounted on the 1 oclock? I tried a similar mount with a Burris fast fire but could never quite get the angles worked out to see the red dot in a way that it increased speed of target acquisition.

      • I used a docter micro dot, think it’s the same size as your burris. Took a lot of practice to get it right, though. Snap from low ready to firing position with the backup optic, and from firing position with the regular optic to the backup. Enough times and it starts to feel natural.

  4. ummm 10×25 binoculars? i don’t like anything with an exit pupil less than 3.5mm. 10×25 is pushing if you actually want to ‘use’ them.

    • As I said, its a compromise. They are small and light. There are plenty of cases where I’ve brought an old pair of 7×25 compact binocs where I would not have bothered with my larger pair. If you have the space and don’t mind the extra weight, then larger binocs are by all means superior in almost every way.

  5. Gotta say, I have that shotgun(stoeger supreme nickel and walnut finish) and I love it, though it only comes with 1 set of chokes from the factory(IC and mod) it is easy to find more, and the thing is a beauty to shoot.

    • My blue finished supreme is great. I also bought my brother a standard, and his barrels are so well regulated that I would’ve stolen them if they fit. And you can take it down faster than you can say “Hey, how do you disassemble that shotgun?”

  6. $50/Mo for 10mins….ouch. i know its a sat phone and you’d prob never use those 10 monthly minutes, but that kind of just makes it worse haha.

        • They are about what cell phone service cost back in 1990 (don’t ask me how I know). Give it time and prices will come down. In the meantime, if you have the $600 a year and think you might find yourself in a situation where a Sat phone would come in handy, then it might make sense.

        • If I often (or ever) went into the jungle or other middle of F’ing nowhere places as a survivalist or whatever I can see it being worth it. If the price does ever become reasonable its definitely something id be interested in one though. You never know when you might actually need a phone where there’s no towers or they are down for whatever reason

        • I’ve been to several places (State Parks for example) in the Northeast that are not all that far from civilization, but far enough that there was no cell phone service. If you live in a heavily populated area, then cell service is pretty ubiquitous, but there are more places than you would think where cell service is very bad or simply not there.

    • Those are cool but unfortunately, the Thuraya service doesn’t cover the North or South America. They are EMEA+Australia+Asia only.

  7. A serious AR designed for field work is not made from polymer. Stay away.

    A gift certificate to midway or Brownells is far more useful than throwing money away at the LGS.

  8. Those Orvis pullovers are great. I have had a few over the years and they are a perfect blend of comfortable and durable.

  9. Colt’s new “museum quality” replica of their 1877 Bulldog Gatling Gun, in .45-70, with tripod or carriage mount. At a bit under $50,000, every household should have one!

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