Committed to providing you and your family with the best survival knowledge, skills and equipment.
A Guide to Testing Your Survival and Camping Skills in a Safe Way
Before you head into the wilderness and test out your survival skills for real, you should first make sure that you’re at the appropriate skill level for this. This means that you should test your survival and camping skills in the safest way possible. Here’s a guide that can help you to do just that.
· Find a Great Campsite
Rather than wild camping in a location that might not be wholly safe and that’s completely exposed to poor weather conditions and wildlife, you should first consider camping in a supported place where you can get help if you need it.
By using a campsite as your base, others will be alerted to any issues quickly, and you’ll have a comfortable space to return to each evening after a day of exploring the wild. This can be a great option for those who are heading out into nature for the first time and who might be nervous about the experience.
Although you might think that any equipment that you use is there to protect you, it can also harm you, especially if you don’t know how to use it. This means that you should always read the instructions of any equipment that you purchase and study tutorials online.
You should also practice with this equipment in a secure environment before heading outside with your tools. This is especially the case when it comes to sharp equipment, such as weapons such as knives that can be used for self-defense, hunting, and stripping away foliage. If you’re unsure how to handle this tool, you should stop using it immediately until you do.
· Go on a Survival Skills Course
When you’re trying to hone your survival and camping skills, you might also look into courses where a trained expert can help to teach you the basics. This will give you the chance to pick up some tips that you might not otherwise have known and enhance the knowledge that you already have.
These courses might be over the course of a day or a weekend, or perhaps longer, with a session or so every week. This might also give you the chance to ask any questions that you have and to iron out any issues that you’re having with survival skills.
· Go With Others
If this is your first time going on a survival trip into the wilderness, you should think about taking at least one other person on the trip with you. This means that there will always be someone to call for help and give you first aid in the event of an emergency, as well as someone to discuss any problems with.
If you don’t go with someone, you should make sure that someone knows where you are at all times and that you keep communication channels open with people back home.
5 Tips on How to Protect Your Hunting Rifle Scope From the Elements
Just bought a hunting rifle scope and wonder how to protect it when you go on your outdoor adventures? Not sure how to do it or if you need to buy extra equipment?
Hunting isn’t a hobby you can do sitting at home where you’re protected from the elements. It’s a rugged activity where you and your equipment will be exposed to everything mother nature can throw at you.
From things like the rain, heat, or cold to accidents like dropping your rifle and scratching the lenses, there are many ways hunting rifle scopes can get damaged while you’re outside.
Fortunately, there are many ways you can protect and weather-proof your hunting rifle scope without spending a fortune or having to worry about it constantly. In this guide, we’ll teach you how to do it yourself.
5 Ways You Can Protect Your Hunting Rifle Scope
Here are five things you can do to protect your hunting rifle scope from the elements. Whether you’re using an LPVO or a simple scope, you’ll want to check these tips out.
(For more useful information about hunting rifle scopes and firearms in general, check out Shooting Mystery.)
Buy a Scope Lens Cover or Dust Cap
The most effective way to prevent your scope lenses from getting damaged is by getting a scope lens cover (sometimes called a dust cap) for both ends of the scope.
There are an unbelievable number of lens covers that you can find that will fit any size rifle scope. In fact, many rifle scope companies sell it alongside the scope.
If your scope doesn’t come with one, you can get a pair that screws on and off, pops on and off, or flips up and away from the scope’s front and rear, allowing you to push the flaps down when you’re done.
While this part is up to personal preference, the flip-up lens covers are the most convenient — no need to worry about where to store them after use.
Get a Full-Size Scope Cover
Other than the lenses, the scope’s body also needs protection. The best ones are made of a neoprene material that protects the metal parts of the scope from corrosion and scratches.
The neoprene material is usually thick enough to absorb most normal bumps and knocks it can encounter during regular use. These covers also conform tightly to the scope’s housing, providing no extra bulk.
Even if dirt does get stuck between the neoprene cover and the scope, the material’s soft nature means it won’t scratch or damage your scope.
Don’t Store the Scope Outdoors
When you’re done using your hunting rifle and scope, make sure not to leave them exposed to the elements by storing them outdoors.
Factors like humidity, temperature, water, and oxidation will damage your scope over time, especially if you live in a more humid area or near the sea.
The safest thing to do with your hunting rifle scope is to store it indoors, where it won’t be exposed to harsh conditions.
You might also want to consider getting a storage case or bag for your scope and rifle, whether you always take your scope off or keep it on your rifle after use.
Use a Sling With Your Hunting Rifle
Using a sling with a hunting rifle is highly recommended for safety and convenience reasons. It keeps your hands free if you need to do other things like grip on trees for stability or dig the bullet out of your prey’s carcass.
However, using a hunting rifle sling can also prevent damage to your scope. If you accidentally drop the rifle while holding it, the sling prevents it from hitting the ground.
Imagine if you didn’t have a sling. The rifle would hit the ground hard, most likely damaging the sensitive scope, which would be a very costly mistake.
The sling allows you to be more mobile and walk freely without the rifle getting in your way while keeping it close to the body. This reduces the chances of it bumping into trees.
Clean Your Hunting Rifle Scope After Each Use
One step that can keep your hunting rifle scope looking brand new for years to come is regular cleaning. This is because your scope will be splattered with dirt, dust, moisture, and other external elements.
If you clean your scope each time after hunting and before storing it indoors (and in the case), you’ll prevent any dirt, dust, or particles from sticking to the scope.
You’ll want to remove any excess dirt particles because some are abrasive enough to scratch the material of your rifle scope, even if it’s marketed as scratch-resistant.
Just because your rifle scope is rated to be weather-resistant and scratch-resistant doesn’t mean you can be careless with it. It just means there’s a less likely chance it will get damaged if you are.
How You Can Protect the Rest of Your Rifle
While protecting your hunting rifle scope, you should also take care of the rifle it’s mounted on. Some of these tips and tricks can be done simultaneously to protect both the optic AND the weapon.
Put Muzzle Tape on Your Barrel
Your rifle’s barrel is one of the largest entry points where dirt, dust, and humidity enter. It’s also the part of the rifle most crucial to accuracy.
Having any rust or corrosion inside the barrel isn’t ideal and can lead to irreparable damage. Taping the front end of the barrel with electrical tape can help cover it up.
After shooting, the electrical tape will come off by itself. Then, Remove the extra pieces with your hands (unload the weapon first, of course).
Before you clean the gun and put it back into storage, you can put more muzzle tape again so that you don’t forget it the next time you go hunting.
Use Protective Anti-rust Coatings
Using anti-rust coatings on the outside of the rifle can help keep it rust and corrosion free. Make sure to apply these anti-rust or corrosive solvents on the outer part of your rifle.
Examples of anti-rust coatings are Rem Oil, WD-40, Kroil, and Corrosion-X. You can apply these by putting the liquids on a damp cloth and then rubbing it on your barrel’s exterior.
Disassemble and Clean After Use
You should disassemble and clean the parts of your rifle, especially after a particularly dusty, humid, or wet day in the field. You can do this as part of your end-of-day routine.
Disassembling and cleaning the rifle of all oils and grime helps, especially in icy or dirty conditions. For icy conditions, cleaning up the oil prevents it from freezing and getting too sticky.
For dirty and dusty conditions, the oil might mix with dirt and dry up as the day progresses, causing it to turn into a thick mush that will clog up your rifle.
If you’re hunting in frigid weather, consider disassembling it and leaving it in a cold but covered area. Putting it back in average temperatures might induce condensation.
Frequently Asked Questions
After learning more about how to protect your hunting rifle scope from the elements, you might have some related questions. Here are answers to the most commonly asked ones.
Can You Wrap a Scope?
You can choose to wrap your scope in vinyl skin as an additional layer of protection while you’re out and about instead of using a neoprene cover.
Most people buy it because you can choose custom designs or add camouflage to a plain-looking scope. Functionally, it can also repel some dirt and prevent rusting.
However, remember that it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a full-size neoprene scope cover. This is because it won’t protect against any bumps or falls.
Can a Rifle Scope Go Bad?
Sometimes, the rifle scope will go bad (losing accuracy, clarity, or reliability) even if you take care of it properly. In this case, take some time to diagnose the problem before going hunting again.
If the rifle has just lost its zero, then all you need to do is zero it in again. However, if it constantly loses zero right after adjusting it, there might be another issue.
If you see fogging or liquids inside the scope, it means that the waterproofing seal has broken, and you won’t be able to trust the scope for any accurate shots.
If it makes weird sounds whenever you move it, like something is loose inside, then you’ll have to replace the scope. Check with your scope’s manufacturer for warranty claims.
Can a Rifle Scope Lose Zero?
If you miss even when your shot should be on target, the most likely cause is that your rifle scope has lost its zero. There are many reasons why a rifle scope loses zero.
Sometimes, it loses zero because of excessive recoil, improper installation, incorrect scope mounts, or because you’ve dropped the scope hard.
Some of these issues require reinstallation or even bringing it in for repairs, but you can try to zero in the rifle scope again to see if it still works well.
Protecting your hunting rifle scope from the elements isn’t as complicated as it sounds. Methods like buying covers for the scope and lenses help prevent damage in most cases.
However, the most crucial way to keep your rifle scope (and the hunting rifle itself) clean and working 100% is to clean it after every use. It might take up a bit more time out of your day, but 2-3 years down the road, your optic will look almost as fresh as the day you bought it.
Putting The Pieces Together; The Logistics of Your Off-Grid Project
Many people are striving to live off-grid and enjoy life in its more basic form. This can be merely because they want to be totally self-reliant while others are doing so with a more political mindset. Whatever reason you have, before you take that initial step, there are some fundamental things that you ought to think about.
#1 Find the right location
Finding the right location may sound far easier than it actually is. This is because you will be looking for an area that will sustain you and your loved ones. In order to do this, it will need to have a few very important aspects.
Water – it will need to have its own water supply; whether this is an underground spring or a trickling stream, it doesn’t matter at this point.
Accessibility – your plot will have to have accessibility so that you can get in and out of it. How much accessibility is entirely up to you and down to your beliefs and the reasons why you want to be off-grid.
Planning permits – you will no doubt want to build a dwelling to protect you and your loved ones from the elements and provide some safe to retreat to. For this, you are going to need to apply for or requestion a piece of land with the relevant permits in place.
#2 Find the right equipment
You will have to then invest in equipment that will help you survive while you are living off-grid.
Power generators – you shall have to decide what type of power generator you are going to have to provide you with basic forms of electricity, whether you choose to go for solar or wind turbine or any other suitable substitute.
Food sources – you are going to need food sources if you are choosing to go off-grid, of which you have a couple of options;
Stocking up from local stores
Living off of the land, both in the farming aspect and hunting wild animals
#3 Bringing it all together
Of course, the main point is to bring it all together. With stockists all over the world selling items that will be useful, if not crucial to the project that you are embarking upon, you may as well make use of the grid while you are still on it. This means that you will be able to send your items in a crate to the location that you choose. So, you can either have them delivered to your door or have your crate shipping sent to a location of your choice so that you can stay incognito and collect them to bring them on the last part of the journey home.
A few final thoughts
So, as you can see, there is certainly more to this project than finding a field and setting up camp. It requires very careful planning and forethought, especially if you are taking your family with you. Keeping your mind open to every eventuality is a must, as you will be totally alone without the ability to call the real world if you should require assistance in a hurry.
Prepare for the Unthinkable: Arm Yourself with Essential Survival Skills and Knowledge!
Get Started with Prepping: Essential Tips for Beginners
In an unpredictable world, being prepared for unexpected events and emergencies is a wise choice. Prepping, short for preparedness, involves acquiring the knowledge, skills, and supplies necessary to effectively navigate and survive various crisis situations. Whether you’re interested in natural disasters, economic uncertainties, or personal safety, embarking on your prepping journey can provide peace of mind and the ability to take care of yourself and your loved ones.
This guide will help you get started with prepping by recommending online channels to follow, providing steps for exploring this new journey, and sharing essential tips for beginners.
1. Online Channels for Prepping:
The internet is a valuable resource for preppers, offering a vast array of educational and informative content. Here are some recommended channels to get you started:
a. Year Zero Survival: Is a comprehensive website that covers various aspects of preparedness. They share practical tips, gear reviews, and survival techniques.
b. Canadian Prepper: This channel provides a wealth of knowledge on prepping, survival skills, gear reviews, and discussions on current events. Canadian Prepper offers practical advice for both urban and wilderness survival scenarios.
c. The Urban Prepper: Focusing on urban preparedness, this channel offers tips for city dwellers, apartment preppers, and those with limited space. It covers topics such as food storage, self-defense, and urban gardening.
d. Sensible Prepper: Offers a wide range of prepping videos, including bug-out bags, gear reviews, DIY projects, and everyday carry items. The channel emphasizes practical and cost-effective solutions.
e. Wranglerstar: Is a homesteading and self-sufficiency channel that covers various aspects of preparedness, such as woodworking, off-grid living, and outdoor skills.
2. Exploring the Prepping Lifestyle:
To start your prepping journey on the right foot, consider the following steps:
a. Assess your needs: Identify the potential risks and hazards in your area and determine the specific areas of preparedness you want to focus on. This could include food and water storage, emergency shelter, first aid, self-defense, or alternative energy sources.
b. Research and educate yourself: Read books, articles, and online resources about prepping. Watch videos, attend workshops or classes, and seek advice from experienced preppers. Building a strong knowledge foundation is crucial.
c. Start with the basics: Begin by acquiring essential supplies like water storage containers, non-perishable food items, first aid kits, flashlights, and batteries. Gradually expand your inventory based on your needs and budget.
d. Practice skills: Prepping isn’t just about stockpiling supplies; it also involves acquiring practical skills. Learn first aid, basic self-defense techniques, fire starting, gardening, and other relevant skills that will be valuable in emergency situations.
e. Connect with the community: Join online forums, social media groups, or local prepping communities to connect with like-minded individuals. Networking with experienced preppers can provide valuable insights and support
3. Essential Tips for Beginners:
As a beginner in the world of prepping, keep the following tips in mind:
a. Prioritize the basics: Focus on the essentials first, such as water, food, shelter, and medical supplies. Aim to have a sufficient amount of clean water (at least one gallon per person per day) and non-perishable food to last for at least two weeks.
b. Create a bug-out bag: Prepare a portable emergency kit, often called a bug-out bag or go-bag, that contains essential items for survival on the go. Include items like a multi-tool, first aid supplies, a flashlight, extra clothing, cash, and copies of important documents.
c. Rotate and maintain supplies: Regularly check the expiration dates of food, medications, and other perishable items in your supplies. Create a rotation system to ensure items are consumed or replaced before they expire.
d. Develop a communication plan: Establish a communication plan with your family or household members. Determine how you will stay connected during emergencies, including meeting points, emergency contacts, and alternative communication methods like walkie-talkies or ham radios.
e. Practice and adapt: Regularly practice your prepping skills, such as setting up a tent, purifying water, or starting a fire. Conduct drills with your family to ensure everyone understands their roles and responsibilities during an emergency.
f. Stay informed: Stay updated on current events, weather forecasts, and potential hazards in your area. Sign up for emergency alerts and notifications to receive timely information.
g. Physical fitness and self-defense: Engage in regular exercise to maintain good physical fitness, as it will contribute to your overall preparedness. Consider learning self-defense techniques to enhance personal safety and security.
h. Consider sustainability: Explore sustainable practices such as gardening, composting, and renewable energy sources. These skills can provide long-term self-sufficiency and resilience.
Prepping is a journey that requires ongoing learning, preparation, and adaptation. By following informative online channels like Year Zero Survival, Canadian Prepper, The Urban Prepper, Sensible Prepper, and Wranglerstar, you can gain valuable insights and guidance.
Remember to assess your needs, research, start with the basics, practice skills, and connect with the prepping community. Prioritize the essentials, maintain your supplies, and develop a communication plan. Stay informed, stay fit, and consider sustainable practices. Embrace the prepping mindset to ensure you and your loved ones are better prepared for whatever challenges may arise.
(Note: YearZeroSurvival.com is a comprehensive website that covers various aspects of preparedness. It offers practical tips, gear reviews, and survival techniques. Visit the website for more in-depth information.)
How Long Do Magazine Springs Really Last?
As a gun owner, you’ve probably assessed your firearm and examined where its reliability could be tested given a slew of survival scenarios. Undoubtedly, you’ve looked carefully at the magazine. It is after all the critical component that a magazine-fed firearm relies on to feed ammo into the chamber effectively and efficiently. Are you positive it’ll always work when you need it to? As you most likely know, a magazine contains a certain metal component which renders the entire firearm ineffective when it breaks or loses its elasticity. We are speaking of course about the spring, which is why thelatest project from AmmunitionToGo.com recently garnered our attention.
How long can a mag spring last? Does leaving a mag loaded for an extended period of time gradually damage its spring? Does the simple act of loading a mag damage its spring in any measurable way? These are the questions Ammo To Go set out to answer by conducting a mag spring torture test (or mag spring enhanced interrogation test, if any congressional committees ask about it).
Ammo To Go’s Mag Spring Test Process
The team at Ammo To Go spent almost a year loading, unloading, and testing the spring functionality of 13 different mags:
Magpul Gen 2 PMAG (30 rds)
Magpul Gen 3 PMAG (30 rds)
Magpul Gen 3 PMAG (40 rds)
Amend2 AR-15 mag (30 rds)
Lancer AR-15 mag (30 rds)
USGI AR-15 mag (30 rds)
Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm mag (8 rds)
ETS Glock 17 mag (17 rds)
Glock 17 Factory mag (17 rds)
Magpul Glock 17 mag (17 rds)
Glock 17 Factory mag (33 rds)
USGI 45 ACP 1911 mag (7 rds)
Wilson Combat 45 ACP 1911 mag (8 rds)
First, they used adigital force gauge to establish each mag spring’s resistance. Then they subjected samples of each mag listed above to the following test protocol over the course of year.
Load to full capacity; store in climate controlled environment
Load to full capacity; store in shed where temperatures regularly fluctuate to over 100 °F
Do not load; store in climate controlled environment
Do not load; store in the miserably hot and stuffy shed
Load to half capacity; store in climate controlled environment
Load and unload to full capacity five times biweekly; store in climate controlled environment
Load and unload to full capacity 15 times biweekly; store in climate controlled environment
Load and unload to full capacity 15 times biweekly; store in the same horrible shed
The ATG crew regularly took the mags to the range for field testing throughout the duration of the test. Their team fired one round every two seconds, and then used the samedigital force gauge to determine whether the mag springs’ resistance values changed in any significant way.
The Mag Spring Torture Test Results
After about ten months, hundreds of hours, thousands of rounds, and countless mosquito bites, their team determined the following: zilch.
Allow us to elaborate using the PMAGs as an example. Regardless of how frequently they were loaded or unloaded – and regardless of their storage conditions – not a single PMAG failed. The digital force gauge revealed zero significant variability in their springs’ resistance!
This isn’t to suggest that the PMAGs weren’t changed over the course of testing. In many cases the springs put up 20-25% less resistance than they had when the mags were fresh out of their factory packaging. Even so, all of the PMAGs performed flawlessly during field testing, and the other manufacturers’ mags followed suit.
So, They Did Even More Testing
The test protocol revealed that factory mags are pretty much unaffected by regular usage. But they wanted to determine precisely how much punishment a mag can tolerate before its spring starts pushing up daisies. That’s why they recruited help from the only people who are bigger nerds than us: the laboratory technicians ofApplied Technical Services.
The team gave ATS a factory 17-round G17 mag and a 30-round PMAG. They slightly modified each mag to fit correctly into their spring compressing contraption and proceeded to punish the absolute bejeezus out of the poor little springs.
Their results were fascinating. The G17 mag spring endured 14,842 cycles (the equivalent of 252,314 rounds) before it snapped; the PMAG endured 69,881 cycles (2,096,430 rounds) before it finally gave up the ghost. To put that into context, if you were to fire a case of 223 Rem ammo every two weeks, the PMAG spring would endure for eight decades. That’s bananas!
You can’t pretend that ATS’s testing perfectly emulated real world conditions. When they’re used by actual firearm enthusiasts, mags get dirty, subjected to temperature fluctuations, dropped, quickly reloaded, and otherwise mistreated. You can reasonably expect environmental damage to shorten a mag spring’s lifespan, but their tests didn’t confirm that expectation through scientific experimentation.
Regardless, it’s safe to conclude that mag springs are outstandingly rugged. Kudos to the manufacturers for appreciating just how essential springs really are!
Does Storing a Mag Half Loaded Extend Its Lifespan?
Many folks believe they can protect their mag springs by “downloading” – i.e. loading their mags shy of full capacity. Their reasoning is simple enough: by avoiding full compression, the spring retains its resistance and full functionality.
The ATG team put this theory to the test by downloading Gen 2 and Gen 3 PMAGs, as well as Amend2 AR, G17 and S&W Shield mags. After 10 months of identical use and storage conditions, they measured no significant difference in spring resistance between the downloaded mags and analogous mags that they left unloaded or fully loaded when they weren’t in use. Like we pointed out earlier, the test’s protocol doesn’t perfectly emulate real world conditions, but there’s no evidence downloading poses any actual advantage.
At the end of the day, it’s typically wear and tear or factory defects that render mags ineffective – not gradual spring deterioration. So long as you take care to maintain your firearm, you can expect reliable performance from your mag for many decades. One less thing to worry about, we say!
What Is The Shortest Effective Barrel Length For An AR-15
In this piece, we’re going to take a pass at addressing the question: what’s the shortest effective barrel length for an AR15? To do so, we’ll start with a little bit of general ballistic science to get some basic concepts under our feet. From there, some specific commentary on the operating mechanism of the AR platform, specifically the gas system, is important.
But first, let’s define effective. Here, we mean an effective barrel length as one that can be used in an AR with which you can reasonably expect to engage human-sized targets out to about 300 yards with some skill involved.
Ballistic Science 101
When a bullet is fired, the burning powder builds pressure behind the bullet, pushing it forward through the barrel, where the bullet roughly seals against the rifling, accelerating as it travels down the barrel.
In general terms, greater barrel length means more velocity, which, in turn, means less bullet drop and greater accuracy. Of course, there’s a limit to this: a six-foot barrel would not net you many gains in velocity, but it would make the rifle extremely unwieldy, something like an old-timey Punt gun, which was a bow-mounted shotgun people used to hunt ducks.
AR15 Gas Systems
Regardless of barrel length, the AR15 is a direct gas impingement gun, requiring a gas tube that runs parallel to this barrel. To have the gun cycle as a semi-automatic firearm rather than a bolt action one, you’ll need to have a function gas system. These days, gas systems come in several more or less standard lengths.
Pistol length gas systems are the shortest, and they’re about 4” long. A carbine length system is 7” long. Further, a midsize gas system is 9” long and the longest, rifle systems are 12” long. These, as you’ll see soon, correspond to several barrel lengths, and with accompanying pros and cons.
Six Inch Barrels
About the shortest barrel that you can hope to have normal function in an AR is a 6” barrel. These will have substantial accuracy problems because of a short sight radius as well as the fact that the bullet will not get up to normal velocity, resulting in a bullet drop. These will function with a pistol-length gas system and might work for extremely close quarters work, but be careful as you’ll have your hands awfully close to the muzzle at all times.
Ten To Twelve Inch Barrels
With a little bit longer barrel comes a little more velocity: with a carbine gas system, these short ARs can gain some serious accuracy over the extremely short models, but you’ll still notice that bullet drop will start sooner than you’d like.
This is a common length of AR for folks in special forces who know that their mission will take them indoors, as this is a compact weapon that still can reach out to about 200 yards with a little bit of practice. Overall, these are the first reasonable option we think is out there if you want accuracy past room-clearing distances.
Thirteen to Sixteen Inch Barrels
This is, in some regards, the Goldilocks zone for AR barrel lengths, as we’ll develop in the next section. Paired with a Carbine length gas system, rifles with barrels of this length give up very little in terms of velocity when compared to longer barrels but are a little more compact than longer weapons. Additionally, the carbine gas system, balanced with an appropriate buffer spring and weight, are exceptionally soft recoiling weapons, which makes follow-up shots a lot easier.
Twenty Inch Barrels
About the longest barrel you’re likely to see on an AR platform rifle is 20.” These give the greatest possible velocity out of standard 5.56mm ammunition, without being too bulky for people to use in adaptable mission settings. Barrels of this length are less common now but are a good choice for folks who want to stretch the legs of the platform. With a rifle-length gas system, they’re also exceptionally reliable weapons as well, as this is basically the design as it was first developed in the 1950s.
So, What’s the Best Barrel Length?
As with most things in the firearms world, the answer is: what’s your purpose?
If you want the best possible ballistics, then a 20” barrel with a rifle-length gas system is the way to go. Even though these are long and a little heavier than what’s common these days, most accuracy-focused setups will have longer barrels to get additional velocity and a longer sight radius for iron sights. The M16A1, as issued in Vietnam, came with a barrel of this length and it performed well for troops for years.
Of course, some people don’t want the best ballistics, and they are looking for a handy gun to use in home defense. To that end, a Short-Barreled-Rifle might well be the most effective: a 10” barrel with a pistol length gas system can be highly effective in close quarters and they’re super handy. If it were up to us, we’d also put a suppressor on it to tame the unholy muzzle blast that comes from all of the unburnt powder and unused energy from short barrels.
For most folks, something in between works well. Enter the M4, the standard service rifle in the hands of several million people in the armed forces all over the world. With a 14.5” barrel and a carbine length gas system, the M4 can reach out to about 300 yards with no issue but is also handy enough to be pressed into room-clearing duty in, say, Fallujah. This is what we go with most of the time on our personal rifles.
With all of that said, and government paperwork aside, you don’t really have to choose. It’s entirely possible to have a single lower receiver, a few buffer springs, and a set of uppers that you can change out in seconds depending on your mission requirement. That’s one of the brilliant things about the AR 15 design, and we personally own several different barrel lengths for different tasks.
Must Have Items to Take Hunting
If you do not have the items you need to get through the day, hunting can be tricky! There are the normal things you need to have on hand like rifle magazines, snacks, extra water, or a small first aid kit. But what are some things you may need that you would not normally think to pack? Forgetting the small things is so easy to do, but it can make a significant impact on the experience you have on your trip. Save yourself some grief and be sure to include the following five things in your hunting pack.
Just the thought of lugging around an extra bag or crate of decoys can feel frustrating. However, having a few on hand can increase the amount of game you see in your crosshairs. Either those of deer or of fowl, are made of light materials, but they help your prey feel safer in the area you set the decoy. An important tip to remember is to set the decoy upwind from where you will be. This will help keep your scent from flowing towards the decoy and tipping off the prey of your whereabouts. Decoys look interesting and cause the hunted animals to be curious about who the decoy is (are they from my herd or somewhere else?). If you want to make decoys extra effective, you can purchase decoy smells to add, further luring out the hunted prey. The sense of smell is one that animals rely heavily upon, so adding this layer to your decoys can further increase your daily yield.
You may not think about doing laundry before or after your hunting escapade, but you will if it means further disguising yourself from the animal you are hunting. Wildlife Research Center’s Super Charged Scent Killer Clothing Wash is one of the many options available to kick the nasty scent of “human.” There are body sprays and the like that you can keep in your pack for your trip. However, you will be adding a layer of smell protection when using the detergent, as your clothes will not smell like you, and they will trap in some of the odors that typically emanate from your body. Taking advantage of this will keep animals from suspecting you. Try washing your clothes in a scent killer laundry detergent and you will not be disappointed.
If you are new to the hunting scene, you may have never heard of or thought of setting up cameras around where you will have your hunting stand. At face value, this sounds like a lot of work for an unknown yield. However, they can help you keep an eye on your prey, even from a distance. Trail cameras are made rugged so that you can even consider putting them up for extended periods of time, no matter the weather. This gives you the opportunity to plan your hunting patterns on the grazing patterns of your prey. This allows you to create hunting locations based on the areas the animals frequent most. If you have been struggling with your tracking, if you are wanting to bag a certain amount or a specific animal, trail cameras can help you make better plans and properly execute those plans. Investment of time and money will serve you well. Do not let the novelty and the time commitment discourage you from using this helpful tool!
Surveyor’s tape or another brightly colored tape or tie off will serve you well in the field. When you make a shot, you want to know you can gather your kill without getting lost in the woods. It can be easy to do, thinking you are on the correct trail then lose sight of both your kill and your stand. This can lead to you heading home emptyhanded. Avoid this tragedy by keeping surveyor’s tape in your pack to brightly mark where you have been. As you follow the blood trail or your trajectory path, put some of the tape on a nearby tree or other standing structure. This will guarantee that you can make it back to your starting point. If you lose track of your kill, you can also go back to the last place you were sure you were on the right track and continue the search from there. Having tape on your person can prove helpful in other situations, too, where you need to tape something back together or ensure you do not lose an item. Brightly colored tape can also be used as a signal to other hunters or emergency personnel in emergencies.
This may be a surprising suggestion, but zip-ties can serve many uses in the field. If you need to attach an extra item to your pack or if a zipper happens to break, zip ties can help you fix that! They can also be useful in tagging your kill or binding up their extremities for easier carry. Zip ties can also be used to help you mark your trek if you run out of or have forgotten your surveyor’s tape. Also, they can help you tie back branches that may be problematic when aiming or looking through your scope. Zip ties are cheap and are easy to use. They are even easier to take apart when you are done with them; just cut them!
Some items on this list may not be what you initially think of when you imagine packing for a hunting trip. However, thinking outside of the box with these items can help you better bag your prey, keep on the trail, and go home successfully. Why work harder when you can work smarter with things like decoys, scent killing detergent, trail cameras, surveyor’s tape, and zip ties? Make it easier for yourself and keep these items in your pack and encourage others to do the same. What are some other out of the box items you like to keep on you?
What Is the Best First Gun for New gun Owners?
While many gun enthusiasts begin their journey at a young age, there are just as many late entries into gun ownership these days. Not everyone can build an AR lower into a complete AR 15.
Suppose you’re one of those thousands who are considering purchasing your first firearm. The odds are that you’re more than likely not going to enjoy the benefits of a tactically configured AR15 with an offset RMR red dot optic system attached to the upper receiver.
What you’ll discover is that you have minimal knowledge of firearms, in general, and your first trip to a gun store will be a bewildering mass of choices that will make your head spin.
Whether it’s a shotgun, small or big game rifles, or full-sized or concealed carry pistols, the best thing you should do in advance of your purchase is to do your homework.
Speak with veteran gun owners about their choices, take a few safety training classes that will not only teach you how to handle a firearm safely but give you advanced knowledge of the type of gun you’ll enjoy firing.
For the first-time gun shopper, the three targets you need to hit before you ever fire that first shot mean you’ll want to find a weapon with an acceptable balance of durability, price, of course, and lastly, a gun that is easy to use.
Concerning doing the research, here are a few suggestions that may help your decision-making regardless of whether you’re seeking to purchase your very first rifle, shotgun, or pistol.
The field of quality pistols on the market today is vast and can be downright confusing when picking out the right one for you. How you carry one, what you intend to use it for, and what size you need that’s a perfect fit for your hands and shooting style all come into play in the world of pistols.
You’ll likely come across brand names such as Glock, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, and others while searching for the best handgun for you. While these companies may provide the best solution, note that it will still take much investigation on your part before you finally choose the right one for you.
Suppose you decide to search for the perfect concealed carry pistol. While there are no actual guidelines that help you resolve the complex subject of concealed carry, one handgun that arguably comes as close to the perfect handgun is the M&P Shield 9mm from Smith & Wesson. A pistol red dot sight attached to your handgun is a great option for concealed carry.
The M&P Shield has redefined the concealed carry industry for over a decade, offering an affordable pistol with outstanding ergonomics regardless of hand size and seven or eight-shot magazine capacity.
You may want to consider purchasing a Performance Center Shield that offers two ports along the barrel to reduce muzzle flip traditionally experienced with smaller pistols. Buying a Performance Center Shield like the M&P 9mm means making a perfect concealed carry pistol even better for a few dollars more.
While this list of guns for the first-time gun owner is not comprehensive, it should help you on your way to years of exhilarating moments at the range, in the woods hunting small or big game, and while sitting in a duck blind.
Produced for over fifty years, the Ruger 10/22 is arguably one of the best small game rimfire rifles on the market today.
Capable of firing .22 caliber and 22LR caliber cartridges, this single rifle from Ruger has created a proliferation of aftermarket parts and accessories, giving a new gun owner endless customization capabilities that meet and exceed all the needs of a first-time gun owner.
Another fantastic feature of the Ruger 10/22 is that the rifle’s operation has changed very little over the years, providing its owner with a highly reliable and unique rotary-feed magazine and semi-automatic blowback action.
If you dream of being one with nature and making a long shot to bring down a much bigger game but still love the feel and action of your Ruger 10/22, then consider graduating to another rifle by Ruger, the Ruger American.
Ruger introduced the American almost a decade ago, providing a reliable and affordable alternative to Ruger’s Model 77 Hawkeye. The American comes in multiple calibers and various magazine configurations, and the American buttstock integrates with the bedding block to create a free-floating barrel.
The Ruger American also sports an adjustable trigger and a two-position tang-mounted safety system. One of the most notable features aside from the ease of operation that separates the Ruger American from most big game rifles is its out-of-the-box accuracy.
With sufficient amounts of practice, you’ll soon surprise yourself with spectacular shot placement and grouping even if you’re firing a high-velocity caliber round such as a Creedmoor 6.5 at a distance of over one hundred yards.
While you can choose a reliable shotgun such as Remington 870 Wingmaster for upland fowl hunting, keep in mind the three things you’ll want to achieve as a first-time gun buyer. Remington offers a shotgun that provides all the excellent functionality of the Wingmaster but at a much more affordable price. With a receiver machined from a single steel block, the Remington 870 express comes in .410, twenty gauge, and 12-gauge models and vent-ribbed barrels of either twenty-six or twenty-eight inches.
Like its cousin, the Wingmaster, the 870 Express is a literal no-frills workhorse for upland hunting and handles two and three quarter and three-inch shells consistently and effectively. The 870 express from Remington also comes in compact and Jr. versions for the younger first-time upland hunters.
One of the best things about a pump shotgun is that most of them hit the sweet spot for affordability.
In 2020 Browning introduced the BPS Field Mossy Oak Shadow Grass. Though this waterfowl pump shotgun is slightly heavier, weighing in at around eight pounds, if you’re sitting in a duck blind, the additional weight probably won’t be much of an issue.
The Mossy Oak Shadow Grass is somewhat more costly than other Browning shotguns, but it does offer one fantastic feature that makes it a perfect choice for both the veteran and the first-time waterfowl hunter.
Browning manufactures the BPS Field Mossy Oak so that the spent shells eject straight down from the bottom of the shotgun receiver. Browning’s straight-down approach to shell ejections prevents distraction and helps you keep your eyes on the sight and the target.
An essential factor, especially for a first timer who needs plenty of practice learning to hit those fast-moving birds on the wing.
You’ll discover that purchasing and firing your first gun will become a very personal moment for you. Many veteran gun enthusiasts will quickly point out and proudly display the very first gun they ever purchased.
Over time while on your journey from novice to veteran gun owner, you’ll never forget the first gun you ever bought and will probably want to break it down, clean it and take it to the range for a few hours of nostalgic shooting.