Final Thoughts of SHOT 2014

This is my second year to attend the show and I still haven’t gotten over how big the show truly is. I don’t want to throw a ton of numbers at you but I will share a few numbers like 1600 booths and 67,000 attendees and $73 million injected into the Las Vegas economy.

67,000 people seems like a lot but the best way I can think of to share how big the show really is to tell you about the city I live in which has a population of about 48,150 (as of 2012) in a 10 square mile area. My city is almost 19,000 shy of being the same size as what goes through the halls of SHOT which is a five floored convention center.

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At the Kriss booth at media day at the range checking out the guns

 

 

After 4 full days, I wish I could say I saw the whole show but I know that I saw maybe half of what there was to see and do. I spent my time making the contacts I need to, to get the products we review on this website at SHOT Show. The crew is  good at visiting as many booths as they can with the very limited time we have and bring back as many pictures and info on the new products for 2014.

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I am hoping that the crew will be shooting some SCARS in 2014

 

On the first day of the show from 8:30am until 5:30pm I had walked only half of the big room and  felt that was a big accomplishment seeing as the show is 12.5 MILES of walk way.

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This was from 2013 SHOT but I think it serves the purpose to show you a small look into the shows walk ways.

 

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As I flip through my show photos I seem to have found a lot of pictures like this one. It is hard to always get the perfect picture here with so many people walking  the show floor.

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This simple photo took about 2 minutes of waiting just to get the browning logo.

 

Final thoughts:

The show doesn’t run perfect with so many cogs all moving at once but for the size and amount of people who show up every year the NSSF Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade Show is one awesome show.

I am not a big fan of Las Vegas since I don’t gamble and I drink very little but with that said I am willing to put up with it once a year for one of the most impressive trade shows in the world.

Howard Leight Impact Sport E-Earmuffs review

I had planned to just review the Howard Leight*1 Impact Sport Electronic Earmuffs but plans changed.

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Customer Care

A few months back I got in contact with Howard Leight about getting some earmuffs to review for shooting but what I didn’t know at the time was that I was going to review the company as well. When I contacted the company, instead of my normal getting bounced around and transferred five times until I talked with the right person, I talked with ONE person. I had the pleasure of talking with Customer Care Rep Laraine from Howard Leight.

Empowered Reps

Normally I have to talk with someone in marketing or another division who handles media requests such as this one. With Howard Leight, I only worked with the customer care rep who the company has empowered to be able help the customer not like a number of other large (non-firearm) corporations.  Most companies keep sending you to the next tier up because all the first tier customer care rep can do is ask you if you have turned the product on and off.

I am not going to get on my soap box and talk about that because I really want to just talk about Howard Leight and how I had such a pleasant experience with them.

skip to Earmuff Review

I called Howard Leight and spoke with Laraine about getting the earmuffs and she was more than willing to help me out with this not just because I am a blogger but because Howard Leight seems to only employ customer care reps who CARE. I know this to be a fact because in the few times I did have to call the company and ask for Laraine I would always be greeted by one the of reps who would try to help me in any way they could before I would ask to speak with Laraine.

Consistency

I have contacted Howard Leight a couple of times since my first contact and have spoken to different customer care reps who were just as helpful and knowledgeable as Laraine.

Lifetime Customer

Howard Leight makes great ear protection but they have also made me a lifetime customer because of how they work with the customer.

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Specs: Impact® SportFolding

  • Sleek, extremely low profile earcup design allows for full clearance of firearm stock
  • Automatic 4 hour shut-off increases battery life
  • AUX jack connects to MP3 players and scanners
  • Automatically shuts off loud impulse noise to a safe 82dB while amplifying conversation and range commands
  • Convenient folding design for easy storage
  • One single power and volume control knob
  • Air Flow Control™ technology
  • Black leatherette headband with sporty hunter green earcups
  • Water resistant
  • Easy access to the external battery compartment
  • 2 AAA batteries included

Source: The Howard Leight website

Impact Sport E-Earmuff Review

For a number of years now I have used the surefire earplugs or my good old non-electronic over the head earmuffs because both offer me what I need for shooting.

The surefire plugs are great if I am going to be just shooting and minimal talking on the range and when I have a rifle stock glued to my face.

My  non-electronic over the head earmuffs offer me noise dampening but they are quick to slide off if I need to make a video or hear what the crew is saying, they are overly bulky and you hear every tap of the buttstock to your earmuff.

Adjustable Volume

The Howard Leight electronic earmuffs give me the best of both worlds. I can adjust the volume when I need to listen or almost turn the sound off when I am firing on the line with the three .30-06 rifles going off. The muffs are low profile so the overly bulkiness is minimized to the point it is comfortable to run and shoot with a rifle or to sit on the bench and shoot long distances.

Long Battery Life

We have been using the muffs for about 5 months now and haven’t had to change the batteries yet.

Increased Range Communication

I like the fact that I can adjust the volume easily when I am shooting from the bench and we have other shooters near us.  The spotter and shooter can almost whisper to each other adjustments without having to listen to everyone on the range. I can also turn the volume all the way up and hear the crew from a distance without anyone having to scream commands.

 

Overall Thoughts:

The earmuffs will run about $50 but for the safety of your hearing and still being able to hear what is going on around you,  they are well worth the investment.

 

*1 Howard Leight is owned by Honeywell, An American multinational conglomerate company that produces a variety of commercial and consumer products, engineering services, and aerospace systems for a wide variety of customers, from private consumers to major corporations and governments.
Source: Honeywell’s Wiki page

Panzer – Leupold VX-3 3.5-10X40mm Reviewed

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This review will start like so many of my previous in Las Vegas at the Shot Show 2013. Since I was planning an elk hunting trip that fall  and had very little knowledge about optics and sights I made it my mission to collect as much info as possible. I had done a little long-range shooting but never took the time to learn the subtle nuances of high-powered rifle optics. Five months later and the final search for a scope was on. We followed up with Leupold and spoke with Sarah Kirby who is the Marketing Communications Assistant for Leupold & Stevens, Inc. She was very eager to help us find the perfect scope for what we needed. The attention to customer detail is phenomenal at Leupold, anything we needed and even things we had not thought of Sarah was ready to help. After consulting with her scope experts at Leupold they suggested the Leupold VX-3-10X40mm with the Matte 1 in reticle. She explained it might take 6-8 weeks for the scope to arrive and within 3 weeks I had my new scope. We forgot to ask for the mounting rings but a week later she suggested the Leupold duel dovetail mounting system for my Winchester model 70.  It is possible to mount the scope yourself, but in order to ensure a perfectly aligned scope I took it to SMR firearms because my gunsmith had the right tools and expertise.

Here is a list of the specs for the VX-3.

Low

High

Actual Magnification

3.30x

9.70x

Linear Field of View (ft/100 yd)

29.80ft

11.00ft

Linear Field of View (m/100 m)

9.90m

3.70m

Eye Relief (in)

4.40 inches

3.60 inches

Eye Relief (mm)

112.00mm

91.00mm

Weight (oz)

12.60oz

Weight (g)

357.00 g

Objective Clear Aperture (in)

1.60 inches

Objective Clear Aperture (mm)

40.00mm

Elevation Adjustment Range

52.00 moa

Windage Adjustment Range

52.00 moa

As I previously mentioned I had a little experience with long range shooting but never had I hunted large game in the mountains and the last thing I wanted was my scope to be the reason I missed my shot. I needed to be able to take down a large game at 300 yards with as clear of an image as possible.  The first day I tested the scope at TDSA range in Ferris TX, I learned the difference between sub par optics and superior quality.  With the help of a friend at TDSA, who was much more skilled, I sighted my rifle in at 200 yards using the non-turreted toolless finger adjustments. It was fairly easy to figure out how to dial in correct adjustments with 1 cm per click. With the generous eye box I had no problem quickly finding the sweet spot in the scope and setting up for the shot whether at 25 or 300 yards. My favorite feature is the adjustable power ring which acts like a zoom dial quickly bringing distant targets into clear view. My confidence level quickly grew as I pushed my abilities to their limits combining the dependable accuracy of my rifle with the preciseness of VX-3 optics.

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The proudest moment for me was once I put my money where my mouth was at the range in Colorado right before the hunt. My father, who accompanied me, was ready to see what I could do. After hitting a perfect bull’s-eye I proceeded to do it 3 more times at 300, 350 and then 400 yards at varying elevations. I turned around and noticed my dad with a look of satisfaction that meant “alright I think you are ready”. Thanks to all the time at the range in Texas I was very comfortable with what the Leupold VX-3 has allowed me to shoot at various elevations and distances. Most impressive was that I didn’t need to mess with the scope after a month which included a 13 hour drive and a very rough ride on the back of the ATV. I didn’t have to worry about my accuracy because the durability of the scope design protected it from bumps.

While in the mountains the elements put my equipment to the test with rain, mud, snow and ice on the daily. I noticed my eye glasses were fogging regularly while my scope remained crystal clear. Usually Leupold uses nitrogen gas sealed inside the scope which prevents condensation on the lens but with elect scope models, as with the VX-3, uses 2nd generation Argon/Krypton Waterproofing which not only reduces the effects of thermal shock, but also works better at preventing fogging and condensation inside the scope from forming. My other concern was scratching the lens since dirt and dust were inevitable out there. What  I did not realize at the time was that my scope was treated with lens coating called DiamondCoat 2 which not only protects the lens from abrasion but greatly enhances light transmission which increase clarity.

2nd Generation Argon/Krypton Waterproofing

While we still waterproof other optics with bone-dry nitrogen – technology pioneered by Leupold® – Select models feature our exclusive, proprietary Argon/Krypton gas blend. Its advantages are two fold: it nearly eliminates the effects of thermal shock, and the Argon/Krypton molecules are significantly larger than nitrogen molecules, reducing the diffusion of gases sealed inside your scope even more than our proven nitrogen technology already does. We pioneered riflescope waterproofing, and now with Argon/Krypton we’re exceeding the standards we set ourselves.

[From the Leupold.com website]

Overall Thoughts and comments:

After all the time I practiced for that perfect 300 yard shot my elk walked a mere 50 ft. in front of me. I truly enjoyed the opportunity to take the Leupold VX-3 with me on the hunt and have learned what superior quality optics can do when put to the test. Overall I feel the Leupold VX-3 is a reliable scope for the hunter or range shooter because it offers flexibility, durability and top of the line quality for around $600 MSRP. For middle of the road cost you get top quality glass from a company that in my experience not only goes out of their way for you, but seems to take great pride in their craftsmanship as evidenced by the life time warranty.  I was unable to find anything wrong with my scope, and  trust me I did try, but I can not wait for my next hunting trip.

Pros and Cons:

  • Easy to use from box to sighting in.
  • Durable design meant did not have to worry about easily getting damaged and stood up to the elements.
  • The adjustable power ring for clear image at various distances
  • DiamondCoat 2 for abrasion resistance and enhanced light transmission
  • Non-turreted toolless adjustment for windage and elevation made sighting in actually fun
  • Eye box and eye relief made for easy target spotting at various distances

Panzer – Magellan eXplorist 350H reviewed

Panzer – Magellan eXplorist 350H reviewed

At shot show 2013 I was called over to the Magellan booth by Atticus because Magellan was interested in Gears of Guns reviewing their new Magellan eXplorist 350H. This was perfect because I was planning an elk hunt for the following October. So I listened very attentively to the 30 minute presentation Carol Bardia had for me and the Crew. I will be up front with you, I was unfamiliar with Magellan, as well as GPS systems designed for outdoor enthusiasts, so the learning curve was steep at first. Fast forward to August 29th 2013 when the product arrived and I immediately discovered my lack of experience did not matter. The applications in the field and at home after the trip are so numerous it is difficult to list them all but here it goes.

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The eXplorist  350 H is above all else very user-friendly and within the first 10 minutes I had already begun planning my trip by locating the exact area I would be hunting within 10 feet. I had topographical data, county roads and game management areas (GMU) all loaded with the push of a button. The five button control panel was easy to use, with or without gloves and I liked the way you could quickly access trip information without excessive toggling.

Field Functions:

Upon arrival to the campground I mapped out the my various points of interest using several of  the handy custom marker icons specially created for hunters including; campsite, blinds, stands, glassing areas and trail heads to name a few. Or you could mark way points using specific game icons, bedding locations, scat, blood trails, scrapes, rubs, sheds and many more.  I also used the text function to enter field notes when a custom marker wasn’t enough. My first few days before the hunt I was glad to have the eXplorist on hand because it allowed me the chance to get oriented and to map and section out the large area quickly and effortlessly. After taking a long ride on my 4 X 4 with the eXplorist on board, I had all my ATV trails marked without having to do very much but enjoy the ride. At no point during my two weeks there did I have to worry about finding my way back to camp day or night.

In an effort to conserve battery life I utilized the active suspend function which worked like a sleep mode but with continued tracking. Also the screen saving mode turns off when not in use within 20 seconds. It takes two double A batteries of which I replaced once the entire trip. While it is stated to have a battery life of 18 hours (if you use lithium), if you fail to use active suspend don’t be surprised if the hours of battery life vary. Another annoyance is that the Duracell alkaline batteries got down to 25% remaining and a message would appear telling you to change them and soon after that the device would shut off. The batteries I used after the first change were (Duracell AA alkaline), however Magellan recommends using two AA lithium batteries.

Once I had my hunting area mapped I could track prey, mark glassing areas and establish which group members were hunting where. The stated temperature range for this device is between 14 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. While it continued to work for me at 20 degrees F your experience may vary, however at times it was cold enough for my smart phone to stop working while the eXplorist continued to worked. Magellan has used the IPX7 waterproof standard for this device. During my trip I exposed the device to rain and snow and had no issues with it working properly.

Computer Application:

Even though I enjoyed using the GPS in the field once I returned home and plugged the eXplorist 350H into my computer and downloaded the Vantage Point software onto my PC, my experience only got better

You must be using Windows XP, Vista or Windows 7 to use the Vantage Point software or if you are running a MAC you can use the Magellan communicator for MAC which is compatible with a website called Geocaching.com. Once installed the Vantage Point software took all the data I had collected on my two-week trip and plugged it into the DigitalGlobe format where I could play back  every movement I made while the device was active using either  satellite images or the topographical map. There are countless ways you can use this software from planning available routes, tracking animal movements or  measuring distances. The Vantage Point software uses collected data to paint a clear picture of the outdoor experience while allowing the user to plan, track and view all movements in the field. So when I was ready to relive the experiance, Vantage point software painted the picture for me. When I am ready to plan my next trip I can easily build of the info gathered by the eXplorist and displayed on Vantage Point.

Having access to such a great tool takes your hunting or hiking game to a whole new level and I highly recommend it for everyone from the beginner to experienced outdoor enthusiast.

Pros:

  • The five button control panel is very easy to use when scrolling through the various menus.
  • Can be used with or without gloves without much difficulty.
  • Thirty custom markers for hunt mode plus ability to add custom field notes.
  • Active suspend mode conserves battery life while continuing to track  your movement.
  • Screen is bright and display is clear with sharp contrast.
  • The Vantage Point software uses collected data to paint a clear picture of the outdoor experience while allowing user to plan, track and view all movements in the field.
  • Cons:

  • One  con was that the 350H is a bit bulky when carrying it around in my pocket so I eventually started keeping it in my day pack which was not always convenient.
  • The screen size was a bit small but the display is bright and clear and it did come with a screen protector.
  • Stated battery life is 18 hours but when left on not in active suspend much less battery life.
  • When alkaline battery life got down to 25% remaining, a repeating message to change batteries appeared and the device would power down, however Magellan recommends using a AA lithium battery for optimal battery life.

TDSA: The new GEARS Range

For the past year I have been looking for a new range to move my company to.

Since before I was blogging I always shot at a public range and after almost 3 years trying to write the best reviews I could with the amenities that range had I was frustrated. I would be working on a review and want to make a video to show the different parts of the gun or how the gun works and when I would get back to the office I would watch the video and it would sound like *BANG* Hi, my name is Attic- *BANG BANG BANG* *ONE SHOT A SECOND!* -sofguns.com *BANG*. that just doesn’t make for quality videos.

This article is by no means a diss on that range or even public ranges in general. I know that they have their place and for most gun owners are the best place in the world.

I will give my pros and cons to public ranges

PROS:

· Range officers everywhere to keep everyone safe.
· Safety rules like one shot a second to keep people from thinking they are Rambo the first time they ever pick up a MSR.
· Public ranges are relatively common in populated areas in the USA.
· Some have pro shops that can help you with basic questions about shooting and there is a good chance they have shooting clubs that meet out there if you are looking to get into that.
· For the gun owner who doesn’t get to the range but just a few times a year this is an inexpensive way to shoot.
· Typically there are experienced shooters who might be able to lend a hand if you are having problems.
· Safe for all types of shooters
(If you have a pro or con I might have missed please comment and share your thoughts)

Cons:

· Gun owners who shoot a lot can get bored.
· Public ranges typically have restrictions on types of guns and ammo that can be shot there (This is for safety reasons).
· Public ranges can get crowded at anytime.
· The noise level can get intimidating for new shooters.
· If you have more than one gun, space for cases and gear can be limited.
· Some ranges have a max amount of time you can shoot.
· If you are a frequent shooter cost for the range fees get overly expensive.
· The length of the ranges may not give you the distance you are looking for.

With all of that being said I have my own cons as a gun blogger that make working from a public range rather difficult.

Cons:
Space for guns, gear and crew.
Cost
Noise
Safety rules that stop us from testing triggers,holsters,over 10 rounds in a magazines, etc.

Since this has been making reviews and shooting more difficult I started looking to friends of the GEARS crew for help to see if they had a ranch we could shoot at and every time the answers were the same. No, we don’t know of a place or sure but it is a 5 hour drive out there.  I googled ranges in my area before and most were unable to help me any better than my current public range and that was when I spotted TDSA.net.

For any of you who follow Colion Noir on YouTube or watch Video Tuesday here on our site you might have seen Colion shooting targets from a golf cart and thought hey that is really cool… Well the cat is out of the bag. He was at TDSA in Ferris, TX.

I had seen when he released his video what range it was and never really thought about it again until I came back across the site when I was searching for a new range again and read the amenities they offer there.

7 Pistol Ranges:

  • Roughly 25 yards by 25 yards in size.
  • Rapid Fire is allowed.
  • Moving while shooting is allowed.
  • Drawing from holster is allowed.
  • Transitioning from rifles to pistols is allowed.
  • We also allow you to set up scenarios using barrels or barricades.
  • ***Upon request you may park your vehicle in the bays and shoot from inside your vehicle. (Remember this is based on request and approval ONLY).
  • ***We allow FULL AUTO FIRE in our pistol bays after a short Shooting Proficiency Test.

Rifle Ranges:

  • Shooting Proficiency Test required at 100 yards.
  • Full Metal Jacket is allowed
  • Steel Core is allowed
  • .50 and .338 caliber is allowed
  • All shooting done from a bench or prone position ONLY.
  • No Tracer or Incendiary rounds allowed.
  • Distances: 25 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards, 200 yards, and 300 yards.

Other Ranges (used for training and shooting matches):

  • 200 yard STREET with multiple cars lining each side.
  • 40 foot shooting TOWER with 4 floors and multiple ports on each floor.
    • TOWER can be used to train sniper initiated entries into STREET and CITY.
  • 200+ yard CITY with multiple rooms all around to shoot into and out of.
    • One large area is designed to resemble and Afghan village commonly seen by soldiers.
    • The CITY can be used for live fire, force on force training, and can take up to and including .50 caliber rifle fire.
  • Both CITY and STREET may be used to shoot from moving vehicles.
  • Rifle range can also be used as 270 degree 300 yard assault course.

Classroom:

  • There is a 1,300 sq. ft. classroom available upon scheduling. A white board and 60 inch TV monitor is included.

Other Information:

  • We allow Binary Exploding targets to be shot UPON REQUEST AND APPROVAL.
  • Night Fire is allowed on a “special needs basis” and UPON REQUEST AND APPROVAL.
  • Law Enforcement Discounts for Individual officers.
  • Corporate Membership Discounts.
  • Law Enforcement Agency Memberships.

[Taken from the TDSA website]

 

After reading all of that I was amazed and had to set up a meet with the Owner of TDSA, Len Baxley.

A few Mondays ago Panzer and I drove down to meet with Len and see this range.  The drive is about 45 minutes from where I live and the whole time I was thinking about the new and different reviews I could post on the website.

We pulled up and met Len in the classroom/his office and we sat down and started talking and getting to know each other. After 30 or so minutes of talking with Len and reading about his range I knew this is where the GEARS Crew would be shooting from. I told him that I didn’t need to see the range that I was ready to just sign up as a member. We talked for another 30 minutes when he said we should go and at least look at the range. He gave us the introduction/safety tour.  About halfway through the tour, I looked around and saw no other members were at the range. It was the most quiet and peaceful gun range I had ever been at!

Len is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He has built a range that is designed with a different kind of shooter in mind. This range is not for the gun owner who doesn’t shoot all that much or for the shooters who aren’t looking to take their shooting abilities to new levels. Len stresses that you are not going to have that range officer to keep you in check, this is the kind of place were you have to be in the mind-set that safety is your job.

I like this range because it opens new opportunities to the GEARS Crew and to the reviews we can offer.

If you live in North Texas and this sounds like the kind of range you are looking for, than CONTACT Len Baxley and tell him Atticus sent you.

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Remington: Welcome to The Rock

Remington has launched The Rock on their site. It is full of YouTube videos of the Remington R&D facility.

The intro video is pretty cool and in my opinion it is a cooler trailer than a number of Hollywood “action” films lately.

It would be fun to see someone do a mash up of some popular action film and replace the shooting from the movie with the clips from this site.

You can visit the site HERE.

Tannerite: Anatomy of a Binary Exploding Rifle Target

Anatomy of a Binary Exploding Rifle Target

Tannerite® paints picture of the category it created

Pleasant Hills, OR (August 9, 2013) – Long-range target shooters are perennially challenged. With a squinted eye, spendy spotting scope or long anxious walk down the firing range, they discover either punctured paper and a bull’s-eye or an unharmed target. An earthly poof of dust, of course, nulls the need to examine the target – um, that’d be called a swing and miss.

Dan Tanner wasn’t satisfied with the paper or the poof. With a clever mind and dogged persistence, the Oregonian and Arkansas native set off to create a target that would clearly (and audibly) reveal long distance rifle hits. Tanner sought out to produce something that triggered the senses of sight and sound but without any byproduct risk of it causing a fire.

So he developed the first binary rifle target. And with a background in mixing elements and catalyzing reactions, it was natural to stir-in a geological “ite” and concoct the name Tannerite®, the brand.

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Life

It’s good to be first. But along with being an inventor, a pioneer, comes the eventual blow of being copied. Far less ingenious sorts bust out the smoke and mirrors in hopes of capitalizing on innovation with only profit margins in mind. Consumers, ultimately, become the casualty.

Because this dreaded down spiraling process is underway, it’s prudent to describe, in detail, the original exploding target, Tannerite®. We surely can’t guarantee what other ingredients the competition blends in, but we can say with certainty what goes into the first and safest binary exploding targets, Tannerite®.

THE ANATOMY LESSON

Before discussing the anatomy of a binary exploding target, we should examine explosives and propellants in general.  Virtually all explosives and propellants such as black powder and smokeless powders are comprised of two components; an oxidizer and a fuel.

In many explosives such as nitroglycerin, TNT, RDX, and HMX, the oxidizer and fuel are part of the same molecule. These one-part systems are extensively used for civilian and military applications. The second class of explosives and propellants are those in which the oxidizer and fuel are different chemicals that must be mixed to form an explosive composition. Examples of these include black powder, binary exploding rifle targets, and variety of ammonium nitrate-containing formulations used in commercial blasting.

Binary exploding rifle targets intended for use with high powered center-fire rifles were invented and patented by Daniel J. Tanner of Pleasant Hill, Oregon. These targets employ ammonium nitrate for the oxidizer. Ammonium nitrate is a very interesting chemical as it contains both an oxidizer (the nitrate component) and a fuel (the ammonia component) in the same compound. Fortunately, it is extremely difficult to initiate the reaction (explosion) of these two components which gives ammonium nitrate the stability to be used in a variety of industrial applications.

Binary exploding rifle targets take advantage of the ability of aluminum to make ammonium nitrate more sensitive to detonation. In the case of these targets, the aluminum can be considered a catalyst which provides a lower-energy pathway to initiate a detonation. The energy required to detonate is low enough to be useful as a shot indicator, but high enough to safely handle the mixed composition. This is the basis for Tannerite® brand binary exploding rifle targets.

Detonation of the target is initiated by impact of a bullet fired from a center fire rifle. The bullet should be approximately 40 grains or larger travelling at 2000 ft/sec or higher. Note that a pointed bullet will be a better initiator than a blunt bullet since the energy provided is concentrated to a very small area. The bullet impact provides sufficient energy to initiate a reaction between aluminum and ammonium nitrate that results in detonation of the composition. This detonation is a very energetic process and binary targets should be treated with respect. Be sure that all observers are over 100 yards away from the target and that no foreign objects are in close proximity to the target that could serve as a source of shrapnel.

Photo courtesy of Outdoor Life

Factors Affecting Target Performance

The major factors affecting binary exploding rifle target performance include the purity of the components, the particle size of the components, the ratio of oxidizer to catalyst, and the uniformity of the mixed composition – Tannerite® brand target formulation is precise in all instances. Changes in any of the aforementioned factors will affect the chemical pathway taken during detonation which can result in fires, increased energy required for detonation, and sound amplitude variations. In addition, the stability of the mixed composition could be compromised.  A properly formulated and mixed binary rifle target will provide a loud report; will consistently detonate on bullet impact; will not start fires; and will be safe to handle. The use of impure ammonium nitrate or aluminum, wide variability in ammonium nitrate and aluminum particle sizes, the wrong ratio of aluminum to ammonium nitrate, and poor mixing can lead to targets that may start fires, may be less safe to handle, and have erratic performance. Again, the Tannerite® brand target formulation is precise. 

Safety Essentials When Using Binary Targets

Given the above discussions, we recommend the following guidelines for a safe and fun experience with binary targets.

  1. Treat all binary targets with respect. Misuse of binary targets could result in serious injuries or death.
  2. To ensure a homogeneous composition, be sure to use a mixing container – Tannerite® comes complete with a mixing container.
  3. Place ½ and 1 lb targets down range at least 100 yards before shooting. Place 2 lb targets 200 yards down range before shooting.
  4. Do not shoot targets larger than 2 lbs.
  5. Remember that the legal use of these targets is as a shot indicator only.
  6. Mix the targets at the range and shoot them immediately. Do not transport, store, or sell the mixed composition unless you have the appropriate explosives endorsements. 
  7. Always wear shooting glasses and hearing protection when shooting.
  8. Be sure to use in a remote area only and respect the adjoining property owner’s right to tranquility.
  9. While Tannerite® brand binary rifle targets will not start fires; many knock-off brands of binary exploding rifle targets are poorly formulated and use lower quality materials that may start fires.
  10. Never place these targets on any surface that could produce shrapnel or within another object.

A Plea for Common Sense

Given the popularity of binary exploding targets, there are a huge number of shooters using these targets in a safe and fun manner. There are, however, users doing unwise things with these targets. Please be sure to use these targets as a shot indicator only and away from populated areas. Continued misuse of these targets may result in restrictions on their use. The future of these targets is in your hands, so please use them properly.

The Tannerite® Advantage

We would like to point out that Tannerite® brand binary exploding rifle targets are the original and the best available. They are properly formulated, use only the highest quality explosives grade ammonium nitrate and pyrotechnic grade aluminum powder, and will not start fires. The safety of the mixed composition has been demonstrated by Myth Busters, and is the best selling binary rifle target on the market today.  Remember that the easiest way to ensure safety is to use genuine Tannerite® brand targets. There is a misconception today that the chemical composition used in all exploding targets is a chemical called “Tannerite” and this is not the case. Tannerite® is the registered trademark for Tannerite® brand binary rifle targets. 

We wish you good, and safe, shooting.   

ABOUT Tannerite®

Tannerite® brand targets employ a binary explosive used as a shot indicator for long-range firearms practice and training. Tannerite® brand target detonations occur at a very high velocity, producing a large explosion and a cloud of water vapor. Small caliber rim-fire or slow moving pistol ammunition will not initiate a detonation.

In use, a long-range rifle shooter places Tannerite® targets downrange, retreats to his firing position, and fires. The shooter does not have to walk down range to see if the target has been hit, as the Tannerite® will detonate and serve as an indicator.

Since the two components that make up Tannerite® targets are not explosive until mixed, they can legally be purchased in the USA without a license. Tannerite® targets are exceptionally stable when subjected to less severe forces such as a hammer blow or being dropped and they cannot be initiated by any kind of flame or electricity.

Tannerite® is the registered trademark for Tannerite® brand targets and binary exploding rifle targets are a patented invention by Daniel J. Tanner.

Brass vs. Steel Cased Ammo – LuckyGunner Labs

The Ammunition

For the test, 10,000 rounds each of Federal, Brown Bear, Wolf, and Tula ammunition in caliber .223 Remington were used. Each brand of ammunition used a 55 grain full metal jacketed bullet with a lead core. The Federal 55gr .223 ammunition featured a solid copper jacket and a brass case, while the other three brands used a bimetal (steel and copper) jacket and a steel case. The Brown Bear ammo’s steel case was coated in a green “lacquer,” while the Tula and Wolf cases were coated with a gray polymer.

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The Rifles

Four brand new and identical Bushmaster MOE carbines, Bushmaster model BCWA3F MOE, were used. Each was produced in Ilion, New York at the same facility where Remington rifles are made.

 

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[From LuckyGunner Labs website]

This article shares so much data on Steel vs. Brass cased. It is a long but very good read if you have ever been in, heard or thought about the steel vs. brass debate.

The GEARS crew still uses steel for the sheer fact that it is cheaper to do reviews with. When we head out to the range we are likely to shoot 1000+ rounds on a given day and we have yet to set up a reloader (fingers crossed for Christmas).

One thing you should be aware of when buying a new rifle is that some manufacturers do carry a warning on the packaging saying that use of steel cased ammo will void the warranty.

Army Humvee C-Series kits

Are you in the market for a new, non battle destroyed, Humvee? (not to be confused with a Hummer) AM General the manufacturer of the original HMMWV (High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle A.K.A. A Humvee) is now selling kits to build your own GENUINE HUMVEE C–SERIES truck.

2013-AM-General-Humvee-C-Series-front-view-test-623x389 

The HUMVEE C-Series Kit is designed and intended only for civilian use. Almost all of the basic parts are supplied with the exception of the powertrain (Engine, Transmission, Transfer case and Drive Shafts).

  • Body with 2800 Installed Rivets
  • Chassis ASM w/ Springs, Cross-Members, Geared Hubs, Half–Shafts, Torsen® Differentials, and CoolPack
  • Fully Painted and Dressed Hood (LED Lighting Package, Wiring, Grill and Hoodlatch Hardware)
  • Soft Top w/Soft Doors
  • Main and Secondary Fuel Tanks
  • Durable Interior Trim with Camouflage Accents and New Gauge Pack

    [BASIC HUMVEE C-SERIES KIT]

The website offers more upgrades and options.

The basic kit starts at $59,995 and they are scheduled to be available in the spring of 2013.

SHOT 2013 Pictures

SHOT 2013 Pictures

While I have been blogging for almost three years now this is the first time I have been able to head out to SHOT Show 2013. As most of you may know we had Gun Bunny, Panzerfaust, Old Man Lefty and myself out there so we were able to break the crew up in to two teams to cover more of the show. The show boasts 12.5 miles of aisles which equated to what we would guess would be about 30 miles of walking over the 4 day span (based on how the old man and I walked the show). The GEARS crew was unable to go out to the media day at the range on Monday so we were not able to get to test any of the firearms.  After talking with a few friends at the show who were able to head out there we got a good general idea of which guns we wanted to see and try to review later on this year.

Since this was my first time, I had made plans to focus on a making contacts with companies we would like to do business with in the future while still trying to take pictures of everything.

IWI Travor
IWI Travor

I have been asked by family and friends who are not big in the gun scene what SHOT show is. Most of them did not understand the difference between a “gun show” and a private trade show.  I figured I would take this chance to give the best description I can for the people who might not really know.

SHOT stands for Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show. This is a chance for everyone in the industry to get together and show off the latest and greatest products they have to offer each year. This is a private event held solely for people in the industry from manufactures to distributors to press to purchasers from stores.

Noreen Bad News .338 Lapua
Noreen Bad News .338 Lapua

Growing up,  “adults” would ask my friends and I what class we liked in school I always remember we would answer “lunch” because it was a chance to hang out with your friends and I found myself in a similar thought because I really enjoyed going to the food court at Shot Show and waiting in line with all the like minded people.  I would sit down with lunch and be able to strike up a conversation with people I have never met before and not have to worry about their take on firearms.  I met some great people and had some wonderful conversations at lunch.

Alliance Armament Origin 12 Shotgun
Alliance Armament Origin 12 Shotgun

While everyone has a right to their own opinion and I will talk to most anyone and it is a nice feeling to sit down with a group of men and women from all over and be able to share a common thought and goal in life.

The show took place at the Sands expo center in Las Vegas which is pretty well in the center of the strip so trying to walk every morning for everyone just simply is not an option, so they have SHOT show buses that would pick you up from different hotels and drop you off at the show in the morning and take you back at night.
The bus held about 40 to 60 people and sitting on the bus you could get a conversation going in the back of the bus that seemed to over take the whole bus and everyone would be having this conversation as if we were all from the same company.

$100,000 Nemo Arms AR-10 at Trijicon
$100,000 Nemo Arms AR-10 at Trijicon

Firearms are not really just an industry… it is a way of life for so many of us.
SHOT show isn’t just an industry show it is a chance to meet up with the best friends you have never known before and for the lucky, a chance to see a few old ones.
This show is so massive that you can almost spend the whole week and never see the same person you met on day one.

Kel-Tec KSG

Kel-Tec KSG

The Noisy Cricket

The Noisy Cricket

Growing up in my parents household my sister and I were introduced to firearms at a young age. We both enjoyed going out to our grandfathers deer lease and plinking with our .22lr rifles and other guns. My father and I were in a Boy Scout troop, so I kept shooting throughout adolescence, but my sister had not shot a gun in years. A few years ago a friend of the family, an avid shooter, invited us out to the ranch to shoot so we brought out my sister. Immediately, she fell right back in love with pistol shooting. A little over a year ago, my sister caved and said it was time she bought her own handgun to keep in her home for protection. She asked me for my help, so I told her I would go out to the gun show with her and help her pick one out.

After about 3 hours of walking around getting a feel for the pistols she
landed on three different used guns in her price range.

1. Kahr PM9
2. Kel-Tec PF9
3. Some forgettable subcompact*
kel-tec_PF9
After a little research she got the Kel-Tec PF9. I took the gun home and scrubbed it clean (it was a USED gun, bought from a gun show, these sometimes are the nastiest guns). We took the gun out later that month and found the sights were way off and that I told her I was going to take the gun in to my gunsmith to be realigned or fixed. Unfortunately, I haven`t had that opportunity yet.

My sister, who is in a relationship with a former Army sergeant, talk’d him into going to the range one day with us. Wanting to shoot her pistol she decided to bring it out for everyone to shoot.

My sister and I “forgot” to tell her boyfriend that the sights were extremely off.

On the line, my sister wanted to shoot my Glock 21 .45 ACP first, so her
boyfriend picked up the Kel-Tec loading it down with 6 rounds takes aim
down range and fires the first round. Seeing the round way off target from
where he was aiming, he continued to shoot the remaining five rounds, completely missing the center. he turns and says to me, “I know I haven’t shot in about five years but I didn’t think my aim would have become this bad.”

He looked over at my sister who is hitting center mass with the large frame
Glock. He asks to switch, and so she unloads the mag and they switch. With the Glock in hand, his first shot hits the bulls eye, second shot same and so on. He put the gun down and looks back behind him where my sister and I are standing now just
laughing our asses off as he realizes what we had done.

In the movie Men in Black Will Smith is in the armory of MiB and Tommy Lee
Jones hands him this little less than menacing looking gun… Well I think
the best way to share with you just how we feel about her PF9 I will just
show you the clip from MiB

After that day the gun was named The Noisy Cricket or Lil’ Armageddon