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The Buck of a Lifetime: A Hunting Story

General Gun News - 6 hours 29 min ago

The view from Nick Kussoff’s hunting spot. (Photo: Nick Kussoff)

Guns.com is interviewing hunters and collecting stories on memorable hunts from around the country. Sometimes a buck comes into your life at just the right moment. For Nick Kussoff that moment was 2017 in Pennsylvania’s Black Moshannon State Park. On one of his last hunts in the Keystone State, Kussoff headed into the woods, earning a story he would remember for a lifetime.

I was getting ready to move down to Florida and I knew it was going to be one of my last hunting seasons in Pennsylvania. I was living in State College, Pennsylvania at the time. I had graduated from Penn State and just stuck around. One of my very good friends from my hometown of Scranton worked for the Forestry Department in Pennsylvania as a forester. He had the inside scoop on all the good hunting spots. He couldn’t go with me on opening day but he told me about this one spot.

There was a place we’d hiked before, where he was repairing fences. He said that his guides were seeing a lot of big deer. It was pretty tough to get to spot but he said it was worth checking out. I was already somewhat familiar with the area but he gave me a map and directions to the place.

The first day I went there, it was a little bit more difficult than I expected. I borrowed my roommate’s truck and drove a little further away than I wanted to, making the hiking more difficult than I had hoped for, but I get to my spot pretty much at daybreak and it was absolutely awesome. It was a creek bed in this valley between two steeper mountains. The mountains had been much steeper than I anticipated so it was a welcomed break when I got down there.

(Photo: Nick Kussoff)

I packed pretty light because I knew I’d be moving around. I had my grandfather’s Winchester 30-30 that he always took out with me. It was the first time the Winchester had been out since he had passed. It was pretty cool to bring it with me for that reason more or less.

I brought my camera so I thought I would take some pictures of the sun as it came out. I found a nice spot and I put my camera and gun down to get my pack off so I could take off my parka since I was getting a little warm. It was dead quiet when usually in Pennsylvania on opening day it sounds like World War III. All you hear is gunshots– especially on public property. This was in Black Moshannon State Park which is enormous but even at that if you go a day without seeing someone else, it’s really unique. But, so far, I didn’t see anyone else or hear anyone else. It was kind of eerie.

I took a few sips of water and went to pick up my stuff again. I had one of those feelings where you know something is watching you. I took a quick look around and maybe 30-yards behind me there’s a deer, just kind of watching me as I’m hanging out. All my stuff is on the ground and he’s got me basically fixed. He was just watching what I was doing. Then he turned his head. Growing up, I’ve seen a lot of big deer. I’ve watched them get bigger and bigger as the years went on and management got better and better.

(Photo: Nick Kussoff)

This was, hands-down, the biggest deer I had ever seen.

When he turned his head it was like a chandelier of antlers. I hadn’t had buck fever since I was 13 but at that moment I was freaking out. It was a moment of shock and panic. He was watching me the whole time, that close, and I was wide out in the open. I was standing there like an idiot. I didn’t know whether to move or wait him out.

He turned his head just a bit and I thought I had an opening. I crouched down and grabbed my grandpa’s gun. As soon as I did that, it was like something from David Copperfield. The thing just vanished. These were open woods and I still don’t know where he went. He just disappeared in the time it took me to grab the gun and turn around. Completely gone.

That was the only deer I saw that day. For better or worse, under the circumstance and given how far away my truck was, it was the best outcome but it was the buck of a lifetime. It was one of those moments where, if my grandpa had been with me, he would have thought it was pretty comical.

The post The Buck of a Lifetime: A Hunting Story appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Beating Around the Bushmaster: A look at the 450 BM

General Gun News - 7 hours 3 min ago

Evolving from a Jeff Cooper concept, the .450 Bushmaster has grown in popularity in the past decade, especially in areas where deer regs have made it a must-have.

Cooper, a legendary gun writer and shooting theorist, wrote about a gun he described as “The Thumper” in his 1998 book, “To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth.” The idea was something akin to an M1 Carbine chambered in a round like the .44 AutoMag but able to reach out to 250 yards. Fast forward a decade and, following lots of groundwork and burning of lean muscle tissue into the night, Tim LeGendre of LeMag Firearms, developed the “.45 Professional” as a big-bore AR round then moved the design to AR-maker Bushmaster– hence the slightly shorter resulting cartridge’s name– and Hornady took it to market in 2007.

At the time, Hornady described the round as “the hardest-hitting production cartridge ever to be chambered in an AR-15-style rifle.”

Approved by SAAMI, the .450 BM has the appeal of being just one upper change away from working on most AR platforms, although magazines can sometimes be tricky, leading some manufacturers to produce low-capacity (to meet the needs of hunting regs) mags specifically chambered in the rounds.

Speaking of hunting, that is where the .450 BM shines, with the round delivering about twice the energy of a .223 Rem, producing a roughly comparable performance to .458 SOCOM and .50 Beowulf. Where it beats the latter is the fact that it is classified in many states such as Michigan as an acceptable straight-walled cartridge for deer hunting in many previously shotgun-only areas.

Whereas initial ammo offerings were limited, today there is growing variety on the market from both household names and niche cartridge makers when it comes to .450BM

This had led Hornady to expand their own branded .450BM loads to include 245-grain Interlock American Whitetail and 250-grain Flex Tip Expanding in both their Hornady Custom and Hornady Black lines.

Other ammo makers have also jumped on the bandwagon as well, with Federal producing 300-grain jacketed soft point Power-Shok and 260-grain Fusion soft points among other loads. Remington, Winchester, Doubletap, and HSM have set up comparable real estate in the Bushmaster neighborhood.


Besides AR uppers, Ruger has introduced all-up modern sporting rifle models chambered in .450BM as part of their AR556 MPR series while ATI did the same thing in their Milsport platform.

For those looking for bolt guns or single-shots, either for personal preference or to comply with local regulations and rules, there are lots of options out there.

Savage 110

The 3+1 capacity Savage 110 Engage Hunter XP uses a 22-inch barrel with a pretty serious muzzle break.


Savage Arms has of late introduced a few different models of their Model 110 bolt-action platform factory chambered for .450BM. This includes the 110 Wolverine and 110 Engage Hunter XP.

Ruger Gunsite Scout

Chambered in the powerful 450 Bushmaster, this Ruger Gunsite Scout can take down most large game. This used rifle is in excellent condition in the Guns.com Vault for about $100 less than a new one.


Ruger’s Gunsite Scout rifle is lightweight, hitting the scales at 6.6-pounds. Coupled with the 16.1-inch barrel and it is a handy brush gun. The .450BM chambering, with a 4-round magazine, also gives the hunter a good bit of “thumper” on hand if needed.

Ruger American/American Ranch

The Ruger American Standard in 450BM carries a Go Wild pattern stock while the American Ranch runs an FDE synthetic. Both are available under $500.

For the more budget-conscious, Ruger also has a few other bolt gun offerings currently available in .450BM. These include the Ruger American Standard with a 22-inch barrel ($495) and the Ruger American Ranch which has a shorter 16.1-inch threaded barrel with an installed muzzle break ($422) on an 11/16″-24 pitch. Both feature lightweight synthetic stocks and Ruger’s Marksman Adjustable trigger that is user adjustable between 3 and 5 pounds.

Ruger No. 1 Standard

On the wide list of caliber options for Ruger’s No. 1 is the .450BM


Ruger’s falling-block No. 1 Standard is robust and sturdy, often seen in safari and dangerous game calibers. The company also markets it in .450BM complete with a black laminated stock. The Cold 20-inch hammer-forged stainless steel barrel has 5R Rifling and yields a compact rifle that is just 36.5-inches overall. While retail is $1899, our price is a good deal less than that.

All in all, these days, it looks a lot like the .450 Bushmaster is alive and doing just fine.

The post Beating Around the Bushmaster: A look at the 450 BM appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Great Gear for Bagging Whitetail Deer in 2019

General Gun News - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 23:30

Another hunting season approaching means another list of gear, and while not every deer hunter needs or wants all the same items, these things work. With retail prices from under $20 to over a grand, there is something for every hunter and style of hunting.

Tipped Ammunition

Choosing the correct deer ammunition amidst shelves stacked with all sorts of manufacturer claims can be a daunting task for hunters. While tipped rounds are far from ideal for bigger game, they are tailor-made for the thinner-skinned, medium-sized American White-tailed Deer. Rapidly expanding bullets will, on the whole, perform much better than heavier rounds that are not intended to transfer their kinetic energy as quickly. Deer hunters should give at least one of these a go both on the range and in the stand: Sig Sauer Elite Hunter, Hornady Outfitter, Nosler Ballistic Tip, Federal Premium Trophy Copper, and Norma BondStrike. Each one of those makes use of a polymer-tipped, boat tail bullet, while those seeking non-lead options will gravitate to the copper alloy construction of both the Hornady Outfitter and Federal Premium Trophy Copper. For more in-depth info on these tipped rounds, check out our feature.


A nice mix of our tipped rifle ammunition offerings, ideal for taking deer-sized game. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Bushnell Nitro Spotting Scope

While not all deer hunting involves copious time spotting and stalking, range time itself is a whole lot more enjoyable with a good spotting scope. Bushnell’s Nitro is ideal in both situations. Though it’s on the higher end for average range deer hunts, it perfect for hunters who need optics that can handle big game seasons in the Western states as well as local deer fields. Our test model is the 20-60x65mm with the angled eyepiece, though straight is also available. The glass is top-quality, fully coated, nitrogen-purged with a 16mm eye relief and 110’/50’ FOV. A magnesium chassis with a rubberized coating is both durable and practical. The rotating tripod ring makes the scope even more comfortable in awkward field positions. The Nitro Spotter carries a $749 MSRP, though real-world prices already have it listed under $600. For more in-depth info on the Nitro, check out our feature.


Bushnell’s new Nitro Spotting Scope, here in 20-60×65 works equally well glassing for game on backcountry hunts as it does on a tripod on the shooting range. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Montana Decoy Plot Pack

Decoy use is rapidly growing in popularity among deer hunters, both bow and gun. We’ve used them to draw in curious whitetails with great success on the edges of food plots as well as in more open terrain. This two-decoy set from Montana Decoy allows for the greatest versatility in a hunting setup. Whether it’s early-season feeding, pre-rut, or full-on chasing, hunters can use the included Motion Doe alone, add the second Buck/Doe either with or without its antlers attached or position the Buck aggressively with his antlers in place. In an innovative move, the company includes what they call a “teaser tail” that not only mimics an actual whitetail’s bushy tail but also allows for scent placement on this part of the deke. Even mobile hunters will appreciate the Plot Pack, as we especially enjoy how compact they fold and fit into a hunting pack, almost the size of a frisbee, so it’s easy to have them at the ready. The decoys spring open easily, the fabric material has held up well, and when positioned correctly, deer can’t help but come join the party. The retail price on the set is $139.99.

Montana Decoy’s two-deer plot pack is ideal for both bow and gun hunters (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Ozonics Scent Elimination Device

Though we usually lean much more to traditional types of hunting, this one is too intriguing to ignore. Instead of preparing for the hunt by covering with odor control sprays or layering on new scents, Ozonics offers these battery-run devices that use ozone to destroy human scent in the field. The HR-300 Scent Elimination Device is intended not only to de-stink your gear at home, but more importantly, is built to take out in the field. This same unit designed to be attached to your tree, placed in a ground blind can also be used in a scent control closet or container at home. Though ozone scent control always seems to find controversy, Ozonics is clear about staying well within government standards. The HR-300 sells for $449, while similar units are available at both higher and lower price points. While we have no good way to scientifically test the unit, we’ve had numerous deer walk right by the HR-300 in both ground blind and ladder stands.

Ozonics are battery-run devices using ozone to destroy human scent in the field (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Make sure to check out the wide selection of new and used rifles from the Guns.com Vault for your next hunting trip.

The post Great Gear for Bagging Whitetail Deer in 2019 appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Springer Precision XDM 10mm- Something wicked this way comes

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 20:26

Why, exactly, would I choose a 10mm for a Limited Gun? That class has long been dominated by 40 S&W, and usually in a 2011 platform. So why a 10mm, and why the XDM? Well, the XDM part is the easier answer.

The post Springer Precision XDM 10mm- Something wicked this way comes appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Ruger’s Wrangler “A Smile Maker”

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 18:00

The Wrangler is NOT a cheap gun. It is, however, a well-engineered gun that makes use of materials and engineering that keeps the costs down so anyone (everyone?) can roll tin cans and slay steel (or pot a squirrel or two) with impunity!

The post Ruger’s Wrangler “A Smile Maker” appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Unseen in the Best Places: Belly Guns and Hide Outs for Low Profile Carry

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 17:53

The keyword in concealed carry is "carry". The best pistol and holster in the world won't help you if they are locked up in a safe at home.

The post Unseen in the Best Places: Belly Guns and Hide Outs for Low Profile Carry appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Drugs, Guns, and Money

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:54

In a world where vacuous ill-informed talking heads chatter like chimps about assault rifles, weapons of mass destruction, and sundry other gun-related topics they clearly fail to understand, the gory machinegun murders of German Jimenez Panesso and his associate Juan Carlos Hernandez were actually the real deal.

The post Drugs, Guns, and Money appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Judge Finds Serious ‘Disconnect’ in ATF’s Classification of AR-15 Lower Receivers as ‘Firearms’

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:31

A judge in California issued a tentative order this week finding a “disconnect” in the ATF’s classification of AR-15 lower receivers as “firearms.”

The post Judge Finds Serious ‘Disconnect’ in ATF’s Classification of AR-15 Lower Receivers as ‘Firearms’ appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Springfield Armory Expanding SAINT Pistol Lineup

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 16:23

This Saint is a featured AR pistol chambered for 5.56 NATO at an approachable $849 price point without cutting any corners.

The post Springfield Armory Expanding SAINT Pistol Lineup appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

KelTec’s KS7 Bullpup Shotgun

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 15:12

Keltec's KS7 is compact, it comes up well, and it's priced competitively. It's clearly intended as a home-defense gun, but it's so light and packable that it may find it's way into other uses.

The post KelTec’s KS7 Bullpup Shotgun appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Retired Teacher Will Destroy Your AR and Donate $500 to a Charity of Your Choice

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 11:30

“I’m not against guns as a whole category and I’m not in favor of a mandatory confiscation or even a buyback, because” the federal government doesn’t have the money, Smith told DNews.com.

The post Retired Teacher Will Destroy Your AR and Donate $500 to a Charity of Your Choice appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Former Cop, Veteran Has Firearms Confiscated for Alleged ‘Threat’ Against School

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 10:45

Tisbury, Ma., Police Chief Mark Saloio seized the 84-year-old’s firearms—and fired him from his job as a crossing guard—after receiving a tip from a diner employee. The waitress had heard Nichols complain that the Tisbury School resource officer had been “leaving his post” and visiting a nearby convenience store while the children were filing into class.

The post Former Cop, Veteran Has Firearms Confiscated for Alleged ‘Threat’ Against School appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Take Advantage of Nikon’s Liquidation Sale! Huge Savings!!!

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 08:56

This weekend, take advantage of Nikon's Tactical Liquidation Sale. Huge savings on a variety of popular scopes. Prices start as low as $79.95!!!

The post Take Advantage of Nikon’s Liquidation Sale! Huge Savings!!! appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Milsurp Bambi Dusters: Sporterized Military Rifles

General Gun News - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 05:09

While the rule of thumb in milsurp rifles is “No, bubba, no!” there are thousands of sporterized military rifles already in circulation that need love, too. This M1917 Remington “American Enfield” lost its ears and was sporterized decades ago but still clocks in regularly as a tried-and-true deer rifle. (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)


Love them or hate them, there are thousands of surplus military rifles that are floating around as sporters.

Now let us be clear, in most cases, a more or less correct retired military rifle in safe shootable condition, be it a Trapdoor Springfield, Martini-Henry, M1903, or even an SKS, can double as a deer gun with the correct ammo and little further modification. Truth be told, I harvested my first whitetail as a somewhat shaky pre-teen with the help of a stock Argentine DWM Mauser that stood about as tall as I did at the time. These guns, with the right load (150 grains on Garands, please), work and work well.

But we aren’t talking about those vintage dual-purpose firearms. We are talking about the ones that have been “sportified” or, as some say, were “violated by bubba.” These guns, which still have the heart and soul of an old soldier, typically have seen scope mounts added, new Monte Carlo (or even synthetic) furniture added in place of the old full-length wood stocks, chopped-down barrels, and updated sights.

This is not a new thing.

Some of the most popular rifles on the hunting racks from “sea to shining sea” in the early 1900s were milsurp European arms like Remington Rolling Blocks in calibers like .43 Spanish, the big 10.4mm Italian 1871/87 Vetterli and the French M1874 Gras, chambered in 11mm. In a form of “swords into plowshares,” these went from arming soldiers to soldiering on in the task of putting food on the table and giving peace of mind as a symbol of democracy over the fireplace.

Fast forward to the 1920s and WWI surplus Pattern 17 (M1917) Enfields and M1903 Springfields soon began appearing alongside older Krag .30-40s and the flotsam of the Great War. New custom gunsmiths like Griffin & Howe in New York joined well-known Army-Navy retailers like Bannerman’s in converting these guns over to use as “sporter” rifles.

This 1927 Bannerman’s catalog has “Russian Springfield Rifles” which were Remington-made Tsarist contract Mosin M91s that were converted to .30-06 with new 22-inch barrels, alongside Krag sporters, .32CF Remington Rolling Blocks and Canadian Ross rifles. Talk about a time machine! (Photo: Chris Eger/Guns.com)

Much the same story continued after World War II when the always-steady trickle of Mausers became a downright tsunami of not only German-produced guns but also examples made by companies such as FN in Belgium, Husqvarna in Sweden, Brno in Czechoslovakia, and elsewhere. While many were sold as intact military rifles and brought joy as wall hangers, collectibles and in trips to the field and range, their cheapness and ready availability (at the time) led many to be converted to a handier offering.

Back in the 1950s, companies like Golden State Arms in Pasadena sold small ring Mexican 7mm Mauser actions for as low as $25, advertising they were ideal for rebarreling to “the latest big game caliber, .358 Win” or other chamberings such as .308 Savage, .257 Roberts, .22-250 and .35 Rem. At the same time, Belgian, Czech and German surplus Model 98 Mauser actions were sold, frequently re-barreled with Bushmiller or Apex barrels, chambered in everything from .220 Swift to .35 Whelen and everything in between. Golden State produced a number of these recycled Mauser actions in new walnut stocks.

From the Guns.com Vault is this beautiful Golden State Arms “Santa Fe Field Mauser” in .30-06 has a 24-inch barrel and a Redfield 2-7×30 scope. Ready to go home for just $522

This Springfield M1903 has a serial number that dates it to about 1921 but it has been highly sporterized by the Wiedner Rifle Corp and re-barreled in .257 with a 24-inch barrel and Lyman front and rear sights in addition to a Monte Carlo wooden stock. Looking for someone who is a .257 or 1903 fan, priced at $579.99

Years ago, Century refurbished and rebuilt surplus German Mauser 98s into what they termed the “Centurion 98 Sporter” with a new 22-inch barrel. Sold in both .270 and .30-06, this example is one of the latter, however, we think the stock was upgraded as they were originally sold with synthetic furniture. For $399, why not?

Some of these rifles have been only “gently” sporterized and are still very close to their original condition. Typically, their conversion involved the addition of optics.

This Carl Gustav Swedish Mauser, still chambered in 6.5x55mm and carrying its bayonet lug, was long ago fitted with a Weaver Fixed Power Scope. Still, this interesting Swede is ready for the next chapter of its life in the Guns.com Vault, priced at $569.98.

This Yugo M24/47 Mauser, in 8mm, looks mostly original, um, except for that extended eye relief Tasco 2x fixed power scope, that is. Still, it’s up for grabs.

Other rifles, which would be considered an abomination to dyed-in-the-wool military collectors, still make great hunting and sporting rifles with a bit of panache that your average Remington 700 or Savage 110 doesn’t possess.

This Ankara K. Kale Turkish Mauser dates from 1943 but that 26-inch stainless steel barrel, complete with a muzzle brake, and synthetic stock do not. While no longer perfect for a collector or reenactor, it is only $199!

This custom build is a bolt-action rifle with a Mauser action of unknown origin. Its 18-inch barrel has been re-barreled for .257 Roberts with a four-round magazine. It also has Burris scope bases and an oil re-finished walnut stock with a steel buttplate. Good to go for $399.99

Some guns are exquisite conversions– keep in mind that commercial Mauser actions have long been a favorite for safari guns and discerning hunters alike.

This FN-H Mauser, chambered in 7x57mm, has a 26-inch barrel with Weaver-style scope bases set in a walnut Monte Carlo stock with a rosewood forend cap. Ready to go home for $855

This CZ VZ 24 features extensive engravings on the magazine floorplate and is chambered in 6.5x68mm, a caliber well-liked in Europe for its high performance and flat trajectory. For more on this beauty, click on the image.

And for those who want to just build their own, there are still plenty of those old barreled actions floating around. Speaking of which:

This Husqvarna action, chambered in 6.5x55mm Swedish, is a great $199 gunsmith special.

In the end, these guns have led a long and interesting life. If they could only talk, right? Still, just because someone at some point tweaked its features to make it more ideal for the field doesn’t mean they aren’t still great rifles. Maybe just misunderstood.

Be sure to check out our used gun selection for great deals. You never know what you are going to find. (Photo: Richard Taylor/Guns.com)

No matter where you stand on saving orphaned military sporters, you never know what you are going to find while browsing the Guns.com Vault of Certified Used Guns.


The post Milsurp Bambi Dusters: Sporterized Military Rifles appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Optics Review: Taking a Peek with Trophy Xtreme Binoculars

General Gun News - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 04:00

The Trophy Xtreme binoculars by Bushnell offer a budget-friendly, comfortable design. (Photo: Chris Scarpitta/Guns.com)


A successful hunt relies on many factors but one of the most important comes down to being able to accurately view large areas of field and woods. Designed to maximize field of view at medium distances, the 8x56mm Trophy Xtreme binoculars by Bushnell promises to grant shooters a more robust viewing area in a single glance. Bushnell sent over some Trophy Xtreme binoculars for Guns.com to take for a test drive to see if they measure up to the hype.


The Bushnell Trophy Xtreme 8x56mm binoculars offer a slim design, weighing in at 30.1-ounces. Its compact build is attributed to the binoculars’ roof prism design. These prisms are coated with Bushnell’s signature PC-3 Phase Coating. The lower 8x magnification and larger 56mm objective lenses yield a greater field of view than the 10x50mm variant of this line. At 1,000-yards you will be able to see an area that spans 300-yards across with this model. The larger forward lenses also gather more light particularly at dusk or dawn when it matters most on a hunt.

Included in the box are a neckband, soft case, and instruction manual.


The binoculars are fog-proof and water-proof which helps when in the field. (Photo: Chris Scarpitta/Guns.com)

When it came to heading out with the Trophy Xtreme 8x56mm binoculars, I enjoyed the fog-proof and water-proof construction. It allowed for unobstructed clarity despite being transported from a warm hunting spot to a cold blind and tree stand. All lenses are fully multi-coated for ultimate clarity and accurate color transmission; though I would have liked to see an additional coating or two on the lenses to help refine clarity and definition further. That being said, I certainly wouldn’t say that the glass was bad.

Aligning the barrels to the eyes is effortless — the hinged assembly sturdy enough to hold its position when worn around the neck. Twist-up eyecups locked into place and worked well regardless of eyeglasses or not. I found the rubberized surfaces to be tough as nails, particularly after being banged around a hunting pack. Attached lens covers also made for one less component to drop in the woods. Additionally, the placement of the gripping surfaces proved to be well thought out as the course areas fit right in the palm of my hand. My thumbs landed instinctually on the rough pads of the underside.

I used the binoculars to peek on a herd of whitetail deer snaking along neighboring woods 10-feet into the tree line as well as an unsuspecting squirrel as he popped his head in and out of a hole tightly situated in a dead tree.

Final Thoughts

The binoculars are tough as nails and great for hunting. (Photo: Chris Scarpitta/Guns.com)

An MSRP of just $200 certainly classifies these as budget glass, however, they certainly don’t feel cheap. Overall, I have absolutely no reservations taking these on a hunt in any weather condition.


The post Optics Review: Taking a Peek with Trophy Xtreme Binoculars appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

.308 vs .223 for Hunting Whitetail Deer

General Gun News - Thu, 10/17/2019 - 00:00

The size difference between .308 and .223 is substantial but don’t let that fool you, both can take deer (Photo: Eric Jezierski/Guns.com)

For many years intermediate calibers were the name of the game when it came to selecting the right cartridge for hunting deer, but that is not necessarily the case anymore. Due to improvements in ammunition technology and our understanding of the energy a bullet carries with it, .223 Remington has become a popular deer hunting cartridge. While many hunters have been using .308 Winchester for decades when taking whitetail deer, the growing popularity of the .223 among shooters has made many consider using the smaller projectile for their caliber of choice. Let’s dive in and see if .223 is really the best caliber for the job on your next hunt.


For many years, most states required the use of an intermediate cartridge for whitetail deer hunting. There are still some states’ regulations that deem .223 too small, such as Colorado, Iowa, and Virginia to name a few. In states such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, laws have been updated to allow the smaller, faster round to be used.

In contrast, .308 is a caliber that is universally known as a fantastic deer hunting round in places that allow rifles for the sport.

What You Need to Take Whitetail Deer

A common measure is that is used to determine whether a round is powerful enough to take whitetail deer is the energy the bullet delivers. 1,000 ft pounds of energy is often thought of as the minimum power a bullet can carry to ethically take large game like deer.

Most .223 cartridges designed for hunting use will have over 1,200 foot pounds of energy when fired from a full length rifle barrel. This is considering that the projectile is roughly 62 grains or heavier, and the bullet if zipping along at a blazing 3,000 feet per second. By these measurements, the .223 has plenty of power to take down a whitetail deer ethically.

In comparison, a 175-grain projectile from a .308 caliber rifle will deliver over 2,600 foot pounds of energy when traveling over 2,600 feet per second. While this is more than double the energy of the .223, it is worth noting that increasing bullet weight does not always mean more energy delivered to the target. In fact, with most factory loads, the lighter weight bullets of .308 will usually deliver more energy upon impact.

It is also interesting to note that comparing the effects either of these bullets have in ballistic tests, both rounds have similar penetration depths. The .308 however creates a wider wound channel.


Why Choose .223

One of the most popular rifles today is the AR-15. One reason for its increased popularity is that the platform is affordable, ergonomic, and lightweight. Another reason is that we have a large population of veterans among us who are familiar with the platform, so they tend to gravitate back to it. Since the .223/5.56 is the most common chambering for the AR-15, it’s no surprise that people would want to use it to hunt with.

.223 is one of the most affordable rifle cartridges available today. This means that it is reasonable to assume that most of us have the propensity to train more with our rifles chambered in the caliber. Part of taking a deer ethically is being able to put a well-aimed shot where we intend to.


Why Choose .308

While .308 ammunition is more expensive than .223, it’s still relatively inexpensive and easy to practice with. Also, there is no doubt that .308 hits much harder than .223. Finally, .308 has much greater effective range.

With a greater effective range, .308 might be the clear choice if you are hunting whitetail deer in a location where you are expecting to take long range shots.

What Ranges Could You Take Deer At?

At 200 yards you can expect a .308 bullet to drop about two inches. At the same distance, a typical .223 hunting round will drop about three inches. Both rounds will begin to drop at an increasing rate beyond the 200-yard mark, with heavier .308 bullets dropping slightly more than the lighter .223.

One major concern is that .223 will lose energy much faster than the .308. Beyond 100 yards, .223 will have energy less than 1,000 foot pounds. This tells us that ethically .223 should be used at ranges of 100 yards or less. For some hunters this may not be a realistic option, but for many, a lot of those shots you might get at a trophy whitetail are likely to be well within that range.

The growing popularity of the AR platform has made the .223 a more common hunting round (Photo: Eric Jezierski/Guns.com)

Whitetail deer are skittish creatures who prefer to live in dense forests where they are well-hidden from predators. If we consider the success that bow hunters have with whitetail deer at ranges of 50 yards and in, suddenly 100 yards seems like a very reasonable range.

You’ll have to determine for yourself if you really think that you are going to need to range out beyond that 100-yard mark to take your deer. This should be done through a two-part process. First, scout your hunting land to understand where the deer are and where your stand will be. Second, make a realistic assessment of how far you think you can hit the small target that is the vital organs of the whitetail deer. Note that the final shooting position will likely be different from the bench rest you might have zeroed your rifle on.

Choosing the Right Bullet

Regardless of the caliber you choose, it’s important to choose the right ammunition for the job. Soft points or hollow points should be used to ethically take a whitetail deer. These bullets are designed to expand upon impact, prevent over penetration, and cause maximum damage to the vital organs of game when the shot finds its mark.

Final Thoughts

Both calibers are up to the challenge of taking a deer home and helping you put venison in the freezer. While .308 is a trusted caliber among deer hunters, .223 is quickly gaining a following among the community. If you aren’t currently using .223, it is at least worth your consideration.

The post .308 vs .223 for Hunting Whitetail Deer appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

New Tipped Ammunition Deer Hunters Must Try

General Gun News - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 23:30

A nice mix of our tipped rifle ammunition offerings, ideal for taking deer-sized game. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Deer hunters have shelves upon shelves of rifle ammunition from which to pick at this time of year–brightly colored packaging, catchy tag lines, and promises of big bucks on the ground. While it’s certainly not possible to try even a quarter of all the options in any caliber, hunters will be well-suited to send several rounds down range this year. Many of the new polymer-tipped rounds are built by the companies specifically for optimal performance on the rather thin-skinned whitetail deer. Here are five of our favorites, with each excelling in accuracy.

Nosler Ballistic Tip

The quality of Nosler ammunition precedes itself, so its no surprise that their Nosler BT (Ballistic Tip) makes this list. In fact, the new tagline for BT is “Made for Whitetail” with the rapid expansion projectiles designed for devastating shock on deer-sized game. Per the company, “every bullet weight and velocity is optimized for maximum effectiveness on deer, antelope, and hogs.” With several new-for-2019 chamberings, BT is now available in 15 different calibers. Aside from the all the expected rounds, the company gives hunters interesting choices in 7.62×39, .25-06, 6mm Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .280 Rem, and .280 Ackley Improved.


Nosler’s BT (Ballistic Tip) ammunition is marketed as “Made for Whitetail” and indeed that should be the target with these rounds. The 15 different calibers are sure to put venison in the freezer this season. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Norma BondStrike

Norma may not be as popular on the American hunting market as some of the other brands listed here, but with more rounds like this, that underrated factor won’t last. The new BondStrike line of extreme long-range ammunition is geared toward medium-sized game like deer and hogs. The blue polymer tip is mated to a match-style boat tail bullet. The only downside to the new BondStrike is that it’s currently only available in .30 caliber options: .308 Win, .30-06 Spfld, .300 Win Mag, .300 RUM, and .300 WSM. The company has more calibers slated for upcoming release, including the much awaited 6.5 Creedmoor. Those hunters who can’t find BondStrike may also be interested in the company’s TipStrike or EcoStrike, matched for rapid expansion and non-lead hunts, respectively.


Norma may be underrated on the American hunting market, but their new BondStrike line of tipped hunting rounds will perform well on deer-sized game. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Hornady Outfitter

While it’s hard to argue against using Hornady’s premium Precision Hunter ammunition, many of those bullets are on the heavy side for White-tailed deer. Enter Hornady Outfitter. Hornady’s brand new line of Outfitter ammunition is loaded with GMX copper alloy bullets with a polymer tip. Built for controlled expansion on medium to large game with 95+% weight retention means they’ll work well on deer, and with some of the larger calibers, are quite serviceable for bigger game as well. The nickel-plated cases are, per the company, “waterproofed to ensure protection from moisture.” Outfitter already comes in a dozen chamberings, from .243 Win to .375 H&H and .375 Ruger, with several short mag options as well.


Hornady’s brand new Outfitter tipped ammunition is loaded with the copper alloy GMX bullets and available in a dozen calibers. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Federal Premium Trophy Copper

Besides the Hornady Outfitter hunters looking for non-lead ammo can also look to Federal Premium’s Trophy Copper offerings. Federal Premium truly outdoes themselves, offering Trophy Copper in 24 different chamberings, far more than any other on our list. The polymer-tipped, boat tail bullets sit on nickel casings. Per the company, Trophy Copper is intended for “superior penetration and aggressive expansion.” In addition to all the expected calibers, they cover the bases for lovers of all the short magnums, as well as unsung whitetail takers like .25-06, 7mm-08, and .338 Federal. While they stock plenty of heavier calibers as well, the deer chamberings are aplenty.


Federal Premium’s Trophy Copper is one of the best non-lead options for deer hunters and is available in more calibers than any of the others. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)

Sig Sauer Elite Hunter Tipped

Sig Sauer may be fairly new to the hunting ammunition market, but they’re already making waves and pitching dreams of trophy animals. Designed for accuracy and performance at extended ranges, Sig’s new Elite Hunter Tipped ammunition is, per the company, loaded for “long range accuracy with devastating on-target performance.” The blackened-jacket, yellow-tipped, boat tail bullets sit in nickel plated cases. These controlled-expansion tip bullets come in a dozen popular calibers from .223 up to .300 Win Mag, covering every deer hunter’s arsenal. Bullet weights are optimal for medium-sized game like deer, from the 130-grain .260’s to 165’s in .30-06 and 180’s in .300 Win Mag. The new Sig ammo has just started shipping and will be hitting local gun store racks and online listings shortly.


Sig Sauer is fairly new to the hunting ammunition market, but their Elite Hunter Tipped rounds are a deer-hunter’s dream. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/Guns.com)


Choosing the correct ammunition for any particular game animal can be a difficult thing for some hunters, but this year more than any other, premium ammo manufacturers are taking out the guesswork. Every one of our tipped rounds is available in all the most popular deer hunting calibers. Hunters should give at least one, if not all of these, a go in the deer woods.

The post New Tipped Ammunition Deer Hunters Must Try appeared first on Guns.com.

Categories: Gun News

Colt Announcing World War I-Era 1911 Black Army

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 17:35

Called the 1911 Black Army, these freshly minted 1911s are based on a 1918 version of the most iconic American military sidearm.

The post Colt Announcing World War I-Era 1911 Black Army appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

Franklin Armory’s New Title 1: A Feature-Rich Firearm for Restrictive States (Takes Detachable Mags!)

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 17:18

Franklin Armory, longtime experts at finding gaps in between the rules, now offers the Title 1 AR-style semi-automatic firearm for heavily regulated markets.

The post Franklin Armory’s New Title 1: A Feature-Rich Firearm for Restrictive States (Takes Detachable Mags!) appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News

O’Rourke Expects You to Turn Over You AR — Or It Will Be Taken From You

Gun Reports - Special Reports - Wed, 10/16/2019 - 12:36

"I expect my fellow Americans to follow the law," the former Texas congressman explained. "The same way that we enforce any provision, any law that we have right now. We don't go door-to-door to do anything in this country to enforce the law."

The post O’Rourke Expects You to Turn Over You AR — Or It Will Be Taken From You appeared first on GunsAmerica Digest.

Categories: Gun News