Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Archery Range Meetups and Keeping Your Cool

New bow hunters are usually quick learners and they simply need guidance and encouragement.  I encourage anyone and everyone to come out and shoot. It brings out the best in us and some friendly competition is good for you!

Just a few weeks ago, I got a message from a young gentleman I met at one of my seminars at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. He wanted to see if I wanted to get together to shoot sometime. I told him, 'Sure!' We met up at the local range to not only practice, but get to know one another a bit. Another time, another seminar attendee brought his dad out to shoot. His dad is just starting out, but he did the right thing and shot many bows before choosing the one that fit him the best. We shot many rounds and had a great time getting to know one another. Plus, his dad nearly out shot us at the end of the day! That is some of the best time you can have. Practice as often as you can and invite your friends! Make it a friendly competition and see who can hit the smallest target at a distance. You may not be the best, but it will make you focus more. Also, bring your own target to the range. Typically, straw bales are not meant to withstand high powered compound bows and the arrows will embed in the rubber backstops. You'll thank me later. 

There can be a downside to shooting around many people and that is dealing with "that bow hunter" at the range. It can ruin a target session if you let it. You know the guy. He's been bow hunting for years, shoots deer at 140 yards with his recurve, and looks at your compound and says it's not set up properly (I kid you not, these were all said to me recently). What do you do? My response was to simply put on a smile and have a conversation. Try not to get defensive, but have some fun with the person. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with such a gentleman at our local range. The banter was truly comical for a nearly ten minutes, until he reached for my bow and claimed it was set up improperly. Normally, it wouldn't bother me, but I was trying to help a new bow hunter shooting properly. Instead of getting overly upset, I pointed to the four arrows buried in the 4" circle of my Rinehart target 30 yards away. 'It seems to be working just fine for me,' I said. He wasn't amused, but smiled and abruptly left. It truly bothers me when other archers or bow hunters claim to be experts and start telling you what you are doing wrong or how your equipment should be set up. I keep to myself unless asked or I see someone doing something dangerous that can hurt themselves or someone else. I encourage you to do the same.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Introducing the Remington 870 Triggersafe!

Firearm safety is a topic of discussion everywhere I go. Whether it be at a Bass Pro Shops seminar, an NRA fundraiser, or online forum, the people I chat with all bring it up and have stories to go along with their comments. Accidents happen and that is why I continue to promote firearm safety. We all expect the person at the range next to us to be safe with their firearm. I've talked about Triggersafe at the Anteris Alliance Try & Buy and now it's time we talk about them again. They are stepping up their game, in a great way.

The Triggersafe on my AR-15 works great in making sure there isn't an accidental discharge. It protects the trigger from my finger getting in there and it also protects it from a twig, article of clothing, etc. How many of you own a Remington 870? Probably a good many of you! Hunting with an 870 is fun, exciting, and it is a great firearm to enjoy. Allow me to be the first (outside of the Triggersafe IG and FB pages) to introduce the Remington 870 Triggersafe (Patent Pending)! It is being developed in fluorescent orange and will be available sometime in June 2018. MSRP should be right around $9.00 per unit. Triggersafe will be taking discounted pre-orders in a few weeks as they roll out additional announcements. 

Do you guys have any questions for the folks at Triggersafe? Any comments? This is an open invite to hear what you guys have to say.

Great news! Triggersafe has offered a 15% off discount code for the AR15 version to my readers. Simply go to and at checkout put in discount code "SOCALBOWHUNTER" when asked for discount codes. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

The Range Day Handload Project

Saturday is Range Day! Well, it was Range Day. I ordered me up some fun last Saturday and was able to do some relaxed shooting with my friends Mike and Bill. I also field-tested the Impact Sport BOLT hearing protection from Howard Leight by Honeywell. They worked quite well and I have so say I was surprised and impressed. I have a few minor suggestions to improve them, but my ears were protected and that is what counts.

The main reason we went to the dessert was to begin testing our handloads. I am working on a reloading/handload project with different caliber California legal bullets and some different powders for California hunters. I'll be working on this for the next few months and if there is a bullet you'd like me to test, please let me know. I'll be loading copper rounds for .223, .270 WIN, and .300 WIN MAG. This is going to be a rad project for California hunters. I have three projectile manufacturers in mind (Cutting Edge Bullets, Barnes Bullets, and Nosler, Inc.). I'll go into the details of the reloads and testing in the next few months. 

To get a feel for some of my handloads, I shot my .270 handloads with the 130 grain Cutting Edge Bullets with 42 grains of H4895 powder. All five shots hit at the center of my steel gong at 135 yards. The copper marks in the center of the gong were lying prone. I did shoot a couple factory .270 lead rounds and copper .300 WIN MAG rounds for fun. I also toyed around with the Max Ordinate Precision Speed Challenge targets for rapid and controlled shooting. That was challenging and I need work, but I enjoyed it!

On my way out I was confronted with yet another Mylar balloon hiding under a bush. I hate them and they litter the landscape. I stopped my truck and snagged it. One less shiny piece of trash in the wilderness. Others have joined the fight and are entered into my monthly #MylarChallenge2018. Check out my Facebook and Instagram pages for details. Some great prizes will be given away. The more you enter, the better the prize!

Now that I am back, it's time to put everything on paper, process some brass, and gear up for some seminars, banquets and gear reviews. Who will be attending the West Valley Friends of the NRA Banquet this Saturday? I'll be there with Bass Pro and hoping to meet as many of you as I can. If you will be there and want to chat, don't hesitate to come say hi! Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

SHOT Show 2018 - Industry Day at the Range Highlights

SHOT Show 2018 is over, but the chatter is still very much alive! There weren't a slew of new calibers being shown (with exception to the .224 Valkyrie). There were some new products that shined for many and others that didn't impress. Overall, we had a great time meeting with companies, talking with marketing managers, and hearing pitches. Most companies were much more receptive that last year and I think that's one of the things we anticipated. Instead of simply walking the floor, I made sure to book interviews and meetings with many companies. That paid off and I would recommend that to any newcomers. Here is what I was impressed with at Industry Day at the Range:

Springfield Armory 10mm TRP Operator- I had the pleasure of shooting this handgun and wasn't sure what to expect. Let me tell you, this delivers and then some. It looks sharp and cycles super smooth. It has a very light trigger and that surprised me in a handgun. I was impressed with the way it felt when shooting and how little recoil there was. If it were California compliant I would already have an order in for one.

Ruger 10mm Revolver - This six-shot revolver is powerful and accurate, but what else would you expect from Ruger? The wooden grip had been replaced with a more ergonomic rubber grip and that was a huge improvement. I don't care for the wooden grips on pistols. This one felt great and held true when firing.

Glock 19x - New grip, compact, and incredibly fun to shoot, the Glock 19x was a nice surprise. I haven't had the pleasure of shooting many Glocks, but the ones I did shoot have been great. This new handgun was no exception. Five out of five shots on steel and it cycled beautifully. Another one that is not California compliant, but that is the fault of Cali, not Glock.

Howa bolt action rifles - Always great things to say about the Howa rifles at Industry Day. Smooth action, bolt cycling was smooth, and the staff is always knowledgeable about not only the new products, but they remember last years as well. We had a great chat about all the rifles and I was not only impressed with the rifles, but also the people.

Excalibur Assassin Crossbow - The team at Excalibur was fun to shoot with and talk with. They were upbeat, having a great time, and went through the features of new Assassin Crossbow without missing a beat. They guided me and then had me cock and decock it. Great system and with 290# of draw weight it is a beast! We set up at 90 yards with a 5-10 mph crosswind. With a slight adjustment for the breeze, I pegged two-out-of-two balloons with ease. I had never shot an Excalibur before, but I am a believer now!

Mauser M18 RifleAs you can see, I was very happy after shooting the M18. Accurate, lightweight, and very affordable at $699.00. I bench shot and stood and shot, and I have to say that it was dead on and incredibly fun to shoot. Look for this one making more headlines this year.

Industry Day at the Range was great and I was able to make some great connections. I am already looking forward to 2019! Next up will be some of the exciting finds on the SHOT Show floor. It gets better!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Gear Review: SneekTec SneekBoots

Images provided by SneekTec.

A successful stalk must be near silent. Have you ever tried sneaking up on an animal only to hear the sand crunching or branches crackling under your feet? Sure you can learn to walk quieter, but it is never as quiet as you need it to be. Some guys like to take their boots off and stalk in their socks and while it is effective, it can be very uncomfortable. What if I told you the best of both worlds are available? SneekTec SneekBoots are here and give you an edge on that silent stalk!

Hunting in California means mountains, dry brush, and sand. Lots of gravel and sand. Walking on any of these is noisy. I'm not a small guy, so I tend to make some noise when I walk. I've tried to put a stalk on a sandwich before and that failed. It heard me coming! No longer! For six months I have been testing the SneekBoots out and I am very impressed. SneekTec Boots are Berber fleece-lined pads that attach to your boots.

  • Thick Berber Fleece for optimal sound elimination and durability.
  • Non-slip bottom ensures safer, more secure ground connection.
  • 1" Industrial grade open cell foam with additional 1/4" closed cell foam in heel area.
  • Anti-bacterial treated fabrics eliminate scent created by ground bacteria or foot sweat.
  • Soft mesh carry bag with carabiner to attach boots to a pack.
  • Weighs 0.6 lbs! 

My first test was challenging and a learning experience. When I was first considered a review, I emailed SneekTec owner Jim Durfee. I wasn't sure which size to go with. He mentioned that with a 10.5 boot size, I may want to go up to the XL boot. The large size goes up to a 10.5, but he felt it might be tough to fit my boot in, so he recommended I also try the XL version to see which worked better. When they arrived I felt he was right, as I had a tough time getting my boot in the large. I tried out the XL and had no issues, but they were slightly loose on me. I tried the large again and figured out I needed to take my time and loosen up the cords properly. I recommend taking time at home to get them situated just right. Once that was done, I simply needed to find the best way to slip them on. After that each boot went on easily and fit snug.

Here comes the best part; SneekBoots are awesome! They are ultra quiet and easy to use. I first tested them on gravel and sand. I am a big-bodied individual and while I have great boots, being stealthy in them can be tough. Once I strapped on the SneekBoots I turned into a ninja. I was able to walk around ultra-quiet and not lose any mobility. A couple weeks later I tried walking on pine needles. Pine needles that have been baking in the sun for months! I was better off shuffling my feet that walking on top of the needles. I sat on a rock, slipped on the SneekTecs and tried again. I was truly amazed at how they muffled the sound and allowed near-silence as I walked. They did pick up some pine tar in the process, but that comes with the territory. They were still very quiet.

As I have said, I do recommend practicing putting them on and taking them off. The SneekTec Boots come in a black, mesh bag that cinches up. You can attach the bag to the outside of your pack or stuff the boots inside. I recommend finding a good spot where you can get to them easily, get them out and put them on your feet. It'll take a bit of practice. I would like to see the bag come in a camo pattern so the dark shape doesn't stick out so much (see image above).

SneekTec Boots retail for $64.99 and that may seem high, but consider the investment you make into scouting and hunting a particular animal. Consider the price of tags, gas, and incidentals. $64.99 could make or break a hunt. I highly recommend these to anyone who hunts in an area where a stalk is necessary. I loved how they performed and how incredibly quiet they made me. No matter where you hunt, if you put a stalk on an animal and get busted by the crunching under your feet, you'll wish you had these.

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