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Florida Supreme Court Tosses ‘Assault Weapon’ Ban Ballot Question

Tue, 06/09/2020 - 03:09

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody called the gun ban initiative misleading last year, and this month the state’s high court agreed. (Photo: Chris Eger/

In a 4-1 ruling handed down last week, the Florida Supreme Court said that a proposed ballot initiative summary was deceptive and shouldn’t be put before voters.

At stake was an initiative that aimed to define and prohibit “assault weapons” in the state of Florida, a question intended to ask of voters in the Sunshine State in 2022. Brought by the group “Ban Assault Weapons Now,” the move would outlaw various popular semi-auto rifles and shotguns, under threat of criminal prosecution, with exemptions for police and the military.

The court took exception that the proposed summary of the initiative was hazy on grandfathering guns already in circulation.

“While the ballot summary purports to exempt registered assault weapons lawfully possessed prior to the Initiative’s effective date, the Initiative does not categorically exempt the assault weapon, only the current owner’s possession of that assault weapon,” wrote the majority of the state’s high court in their opinion. “The ballot summary is therefore affirmatively misleading.”

The court had taken the proposed language of the initiative under review last summer at the request of Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody who called the summary “deceitful” in an interview. “It is so far-reaching and misleading, it would also include guns like the gun my grandfather gave my father and his brother when they were 9 and 10, 60 years ago,” she said.

Also opposed to the initiative were firearm industry groups like the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Second Amendment organizations such as the National Rifle Association.

“The ballot initiative contained deceptive language to fool Florida voters in an attempt to ban millions of legal, commonly used firearms and shut down legitimate businesses all around Florida,” Marion Hammer, a past president of the NRA and the executive director of Unified Sportsmen of Florida, told in an email. “Supporters of the gun ban initiative used deceptive language to try to trick voters into supporting their gun ban claiming it would do one thing while knowing it would do much more.”

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Categories: Gun News

Guns That Come to Mind When Thinking Texas

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 05:00

A cowboy gun still finds a home on the range (Photo: Don Summers/

To say a set of guns defines Texas is a quagmire, a real schism of a situation. The Lone Star State is diverse both in its residents and its geography, not to mention there are loads of guns to talk about. Texas is the most heavily armed state in the union, making the selection of guns that define it that much more difficult.

All of that said, has scoured the history books and listened to popular opinions to gather a list of guns that we think defines a broad range of Texas and its history.

Official Sidearm of the Texas Rangers – SIG P320

The Sig P320 on display during a demonstration. (Photo: Sig/Facebook)

For a Texas lawman, there may be no bigger honor than to be deemed a Texas Ranger. It seemed only fitting that we pay tribute to this elite unit of Texas investigators. With 166 commissioned Rangers, the Texas Ranger Division is a statewide investigative law enforcement agency housed under the Texas Department of Safety. Based in Austin, the Rangers have been responsible for investigating crimes and tracking down fugitives, among other duties. Officially established in 1835, the Rangers have been present at some of the most significant events of history in Texas.

In 2018, the Texas Rangers selected the Sig P320 as their official sidearm. This move retired the long-standing Colt Commander as the preferred sidearm, embracing the modern innovation from Sig. We aren’t even going to mention that Chuck “Walker, Texas Ranger” Norris is a Glock man. Well, I guess we just did.

GET A P320!

The Guns of Frank Hamer

The Remington Model 8 used by legendary Frank Hamer on display.

Frank Hamer embodied the Texan spirit and honored fellow Rangers when he headed out in search of the notorious Bonnie and Clyde in 1934. Hamer was called out of retirement to track the gangsters, who had left law enforcement exasperated after two years of crime and bloodshed across several states.

After 102 days of tracking the Barrow gang, Hamer and his crew found the infamous Bonnie and Clyde, ending their crime spree in what could be called a dramatic fashion.

Hamer, who survived more than 50 gunfights before his encounter with the infamous duo, was known to carry a Colt Peacemaker he called “Old Lucky.” He was also known to use a Smith & Wesson Hand Ejector, Savage Model 99, and Winchester 94. When things got hairy, Hamer reverted to guns like the Colt Monitor and Remington Model 8.

The Duke Collection

Tributes to The Duke.

When thinking of some of the all-time great Western films one has to recall the many iconic roles played by John Wayne, aka The Duke. Whether he was touting the customary Colt Single Action Army or using the Big Loop on a Winchester 94, he enthralled generations of kids with Western flair and Texas toughness. As a result, The Duke gained a huge following and a line of memorabilia on par with Elvis.

Though Wayne was born in Iowa and only filmed two of his movies in Texas, the state recognizes The Duke as an honorary Texan. In 2015, the Texas government moved to make May 26 “John Wayne Day” to commemorate the iconic film star. “When you think of Texas, you think of John Wayne,” Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said.

Eager to celebrate Wayne’s legacy? We currently have a beautiful and rare John Wayne Commemorative SAA and a couple of Winchesters honoring one of the greatest movie stars of all time in our Vault.


Bond Arms

Bond Arms Backup derringer style pistol, closeup. (Photo: Jacki Billings)

If you’re looking for a modern-day derringer then Bond Arms is a one-stop-shop. Located in Granbury, Texas, the company has been around for 25 years. Bond is quick to remind its consumers where it’s deeply rooted with, “Proudly Made in Texas by Texans” displayed front and center on its website.

Bond Arms produces several high-quality derringer and bullpup style handguns but is better known for its derringers ranging in caliber. To honor the Lone Star State, Bond Arms has three models bearing its name – the Texan, Texas Defender, and the Texas Ranger.

Though Bond Arms is prolific, several other gun makers make Texas home. Make sure to check out our list here.


Oversized Guns Cause Everything’s Bigger in Texas

Heritage Manufacturing’s 16-inch Rough Rider carries on the Buntline tradition in a fun way. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

We couldn’t create a Texas-inspired list without throwing in some ridiculously oversized guns – after all, there is truth in the saying “everything is bigger in Texas.” The Ruger Super Redhawk, Smith & Wesson 500, and Taurus Judge, among many others, immediately come to mind as guns you might see a Texan toting. No one blinks an eye in Texas a dually pulls up with a Barrett hanging off the rifle rack – and that’s why we love the Lone Star State.

If you don’t feel like going big caliber you can still show off that Texas spirit with a gun like a Colt Buntline or a Heritage Buntline if you’re on a budget. Oversized guns are a normal part of life in Texas and it’s, in a word, refreshing.

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Categories: Gun News

No More German Sigs? Sig Sauer Eckernförde Closing Down

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 03:12

While Sig Sauer is doing great in the U.S., the sister company in Germany is slated to close its factory later this year. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The German-based Sig Sauer branch is reportedly on the ropes due to a variety of reasons and is set to close by the end of the year.

Multiple German media sources have carried the news of Sig Sauer’s demise in that country in the past week.

Based in Eckernförde near the city of Kiel since 1951 when J. P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH relocated from Suhl in then Soviet-occupied East Germany, the firm was purchased by Swiss firearms giant SIG in 1976, forming Sig Sauer– largely to have an outlet to fulfill overseas orders for guns like the P220 without having to cut through layers of Swiss red tape.

However, since then, Sig Sauer has established extensive operations in the U.S., first in Virginia and then in New Hampshire. The American operations expanded from importing German-made guns to assembling guns with a mix of U.S. and German-made components, then finally switched to all-American production. The U.S. operation boomed and by 2007 had largely separated from its German sister company and has been responsible for much of the company’s R&D. Today, Sig Sauer employs more than 2,300 in the U.S. and fills numerous large military and LE contracts, for example for the P320 handgun system, which has been adopted by the U.S. military as the M17/M18 Modular Handgun System and is a contender for the Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapon, a showcase military small arms program that could be the largest in 50 years.

Swiss-based Sig Sauer AG, formerly known as Swiss Arms, is, like the U.S.-based Sig Sauer, a separate company from the German operation.

Meanwhile, the German branch has atrophied over the past two decades due to purportedly being locked out of military and police contracts in that country and, according to reports, only has 130 employees. Owned by the holding company of Michael Lüke and Thomas Ortmeier since 2000, Lüke told European gun blog All4 Shooters that the closure will also likely extend to the company’s Blaser Group facility at Issny in Southeastern Germany. What this means for niche rifle makers Mauser and J.P. Sauer & Sons, which are part of the same group, is not known.

Germany, which formerly had a rich consumer firearms market, has become increasingly strict when it comes to the shooting sports.

The German Weapons Act (Waffengesetz, or WaffG) contains some of the toughest restrictions in the world on private firearms ownership, use, and sales. This includes limits on types and calibers of guns, mandatory registration, and compulsory liability insurance. To qualify for a firearms ownership license (Waffenbesitzkarte), would-be gun buyers have to undergo extensive vetting and meet training and local shooting club (Schützenverein) membership requirements. Carry permits (Waffenschein) are rare and typically just “may issue” for private security and the like.

Coming to America?

German’s other large firearms maker, Heckler & Koch, has also been expanding operations in the U.S. in recent years, and now has a plant in Georgia. HK debuted a new 50,000-square foot manufacturing plant located in Columbus, in September 2017, and recently announced they were using it to prep new weapon systems as part of the U.S. Army’s Squad Designated Marksman Rifle contract.

Similarly, smaller German firearm firms such as Schmeisser and Hera have been making inroads to the U.S. market, notably with innovative AR magazines and accessories.


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Categories: Gun News

The Texas Link to the Most Popular Colts of the 1850s & 60s

Mon, 06/08/2020 - 00:11

Samuel Colt’s revolving firearms were already legend in Texas before they became well-known around the globe, and a bit of Texas history was portrayed on some of the best known Colt wheelguns for decades.

Colt’s 1835 patent for his revolver system, according to legend sparked from an idea of a ship’s capstan, proved the basis of every wheel gun made by his company for the bulk of the 19th Century. From his early production 5-shot Paterson revolvers– which lacked a trigger guard but had a folding trigger– to his huge Walker and Dragoon series hand cannons of the 1840s, the former made for the Texas Rangers, Colt’s designs proved extremely popular, making them the Glocks of the day.

By 1851, Colt began producing a six-shot .36-caliber revolver that, due to an impressive 7.5-inch octagonal barrel, was 13-inches overall. Weighing 42-ounces, it was the same heft as today’s S&W Model 29, although a few inches longer.

This Colt Model 1851 3rd Model is available from a Outlet member and is an excellent representation of the type.

When its cylinder chambers were stuffed with a 125-grain lead ball over 14-grains of decent black powder, it could deliver said lead at 760 fps, which translated to just 160 ft./lbs of energy– about the power of today’s .32 ACP cartridge using smokeless powder. Nothing crazy, but enough to get the job done with proper shot placement. Most importantly, it had six rounds on tap, which could beat any single-shot pistol of the day, all day.

To make his mechanical contraptions more aesthetically pleasing to the consumers of the day– and to provide an easy way to confirm if the gun being offered was a counterfeit knock-off– Colt around the same time began engraving the cylinders of his revolvers with assorted martial scenes. His 1848 Dragoons had a mounted combat scene. The Colt Pocket Pistol a stagecoach robbery.

The 1851 Colt? It was graced with the scene of a naval battle between two opposing squadrons of warships arrayed against each other, with linework designed by Connecticut engraver Waterman Ormsby, who was high in demand at the time to produce counterfeit-proof currency designs.

Detail of Colt Model 1851, Serial No. 2, in the collection of the Met, note the naval combat scene on the cylinder. Some 215,348 Colt Navy models were produced. (Photo: The Met/Open Access Image)

Ormsby’s scene portrays the little-known naval Battle of Campeche, which took place over two weeks across April and May 1843 between the Navy of the Texas Republic and local allies against the Mexican fleet along the shore of the Bay of Campeche in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Texas Navy, under Commodore Edwin Ward Moore, was equipped with two sailing ships, the Austin and the Wharton, and opposed a much larger Mexican fleet that included a pair of British built iron-hulled steam frigates. Although outnumbered, the Texans and their allies won the day as the Mexican fleet ultimately withdrew, with neither side losing any ships.

The engraving is inscribed “Engaged 16th May 1843,” and Colt himself directed the scene to be placed on the revolvers following correspondence with Moore in which the Texan Commodore said, “The confidence that your arms gave the officers and men under my command when off Campeche in 1843 and opposed to a vastly superior force is almost incredible. I would not sail if I could possibly avoid it without your repeating arms and I would have no other.”

The engraving is inscribed “Engaged 16th May 1843,” and was designed by Waterman Ormsby. (Photo: Colt)

A standard feature of the Model 1851, the engraving led the revolver to be dubbed the “Colt Navy,” although it was neither designed for nor in the end adopted by any fleet. Nonetheless, the model proved extremely successful in both the commercial and military markets. The U.S. Army ordered no less than 17,000 Colt Navy models during the Civil War while individual state units and soldiers purchased their own guns out of pocket.

The Colt Model 1851 remained in production through 1871, and the engraving remained on both standard and presentation models. This boxed set of Colt Navy revolvers, which were presented to French Emperor Napoleon III, had gold inlay and ebony grips, but still rocked the Texas battle scene. These rare wheel guns sold at auction last year for $80,000. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Colt Navy models were used on both sides of the Civil War, and often appear in period images. (Photos: Library of Congress)

After the war, cheap surplus Colt 1851s remained popular in the Old West, used by such figures as the James Brothers and “Wild Bill” Hickok, veterans of the conflict. This Colt Navy was owned and carried by Jesse James and is currently in the Frazier Museum in Louisville (Photo: Chris Eger/

However, the engraving was recycled on other models as well.

The Model 1860 Colt Army, a .44-caliber six-shooter that looked very much like its Model 1851 predecessor but with a round barrel and other updates used the same engraving. Of the more than 200,000 Colt Army models produced, all but the first 4,000– which had fluted cylinders– retained the Campeche engraving. The gun was the most prolific revolver purchased by the U.S. Army in the Civil War, with 129,730 bought under government contracts.

The Model 1860 Colt Army was the most common revolver used by the Union Army in the Civil War, with over 129,000 purchased. The second-most common was the .44-caliber Remington Army (Photo: Springfield Armory National Historic Site)

Finally, Colt used the engraving on the Colt 1861 Navy model, a .36-caliber round barreled revolver similar to the Colt Army but slightly shorter. Like the Model 1851, it remained in production until 1871, when Colt moved to switch over from cap-and-ball and cartridge conversions to full-on cartridge revolvers such as the Colt Peacemaker.

But that is another story.

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Categories: Gun News

Tiny Bolt Action Rimfires for the Youngest Plinkers

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 04:00

When most folks think of youth rifles, what often comes to mind are the majority of compact or bantam models that are essentially adult rifles with shortened stocks and barrels. As the legal ages for young hunters continue to drop in many states, responsible parents are opting to teach their kids gun safety and marksmanship from earlier ages.

If the goal is to make youngsters feel comfortable, confident, and hooked on hunting and target shooting, start pint-sized shooters with one of these three single-shot .22 caliber rifles — tiny framed rimfires built from the ground up for your mini-me.

Keystone Crickett


Keystone Sporting Arms is one of the leading producers of firearms for beginning shooters. All Keystone Sporting Arms are made in the USA. Though they produce other models, it is their baby Crickett bolt-action, marketed as “My First Rifle” that has gotten many youngsters addicted to safe shooting. The Crickett is available in dozens of synthetic colors, hydro dipped patterns, both laminate, and thumbhole stocks, as well as options in either blued or stainless metalwork.

The Crickett is manually cocked using the mechanism at the rear of the bolt, meaning the shooter must pull the lever rearward to cock. The rifle has an 11.5-inch length-of-pull with a 16.12-inch barrel. It weighs an even 3-pounds empty. There is an adjustable rear peep sight and fixed front sight, though the Crickett is drilled and tapped for scope mounts.

One big knock on the Crickett is the lack of a mechanical safety, though it must be cocked with the aforementioned rearward pull. The EZ-Load feed ramp, however, is a very nice feature that makes feeding that single round even easier for small hands. The Crickett can be had not only in .22 LR but also .22 WMR.

MSRP on the Crickett starts at $163 for synthetic and $199 for laminate.


Henry Repeating Arms Mini Bolt


The company known for lever actions produces a pint-sized bolt-action for the littlest shooters. Henry’s diminutive Mini Bolt single-shot .22 rimfire rifle is completely American-made with a synthetic stock available in standard black, Instant Orange, or Muddy Girl finishes.

Both the receiver and barrel wear a matte stainless finish. Williams Fire Sights ship standard, with the fiber-optic front and rear sights being fully adjustable. The Mini Bolt also comes drilled and tapped for scope mounting. With an 11.5-inch LOP and 16.25-inch barrel, the Mini Bolt weighs only 3.25-pounds.

Like the Crickett, Henry’s Mini Bolt must be cocked by pulling back on the mechanism at the rear of the bolt. Unlike the Crickett, however, Henry has added a thumb safety at the left side of the receiver for additional security and practice. The Henry Repeating Arms Mini Bolt is the “Official Youth Rifle of the USA Shooting Team,” so that’s a solid gauge of the quality and features that the Mini Bolt for grooming the next generation.

MSRP on the Henry Mini Bolt is set at $295.


Savage Rascal


Savage Arms makes some of the most cost-effective and accurate bolt-action rifles for adults, so it comes as no surprise that their Rascal rimfire for smaller shooters is a solid seller. Available in a rainbow of eye-catching synthetic-stocked color choices, the Rascal uses a 16.125-inch carbon steel barrel and 11.25-length of pull to fit and attract youth shooters. Weight on the Rascal is the lightest of the trio at 2.71-pounds.

The Rascal has several very appealing features that the Henry Mini Bolt and Keystone Crickett do not. First, it wears Savage’s successful AccuTrigger, which is user-adjustable. Second, the Rascal cocks by cycling the bolt, rather than by pulling back on the rear plunger of the others, which also means it can be unloaded/de-cocked without pulling the trigger. Further, the Rascal has a manual safety and a feed ramp which aids in smoothly feeding that single round.

Adjustable peep sights and sling swivels come standard. There are even threaded, left-handed, camouflaged, and Target models.

The Rascal starts with an attractive retail price of $183.


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Categories: Gun News

Lone Star Guns: Texas Produces Some Great Firearms

Fri, 06/05/2020 - 03:55

The Lone Star State is next-level in many regards when it comes to premium firearm makers that have set up shop in Texas.

Here are some of the cooler ones, in alphabetical order.

Alamo Precision

Billed as, “The best rifle this side of the Pecos,” Alamo Precision in Hurst produced 539 rifles in 2018. They craft custom rifles starting at $2,495 in such specialty calibers as .22 Creedmoor and 6mm GT.

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Available now: APR Ranger 6.5 Creedmoor 22" Muller Sendero 1-7.5 w/ Skip Fluting Threaded 5/8×24 w/ Thread Protector Defiance Tenacity Hawkins DBM Trigger Tech Primary AG Composites Gladius – Carbon Red Camo Barreled Action Cerakoted Graphite Black Weight 10.2 Price $2595 #alamoprecisionrifles #65creedmoor #mullerworks #defiancemachine #hawkinsprecision #triggertech #agcomposites #cerakote #precisionrifles #customrifle

A post shared by APR (@alamoprecisionrifles) on May 26, 2020 at 7:34am PDT

Bond Arms

Who says a derringer has to be a .22? Bond Arms doesn’t think so. Take this Dead Man’s Hand series .45 Colt, for instance. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Located in Granbury, Texas, Bond Arms has been around for 25 years and their diverse line of derringers are billed as ” smallest, most powerful personal protection you can carry.” While in the past, derringers pretty much came in pipsqueak calibers, Bond smashes that trope and chambers their guns for serious rounds to include .357 Magnum and .45 Colt. They also produce the innovative 9mm Boberg Bullpup pistol, proudly made in Texas, by Texans. They must be doing something right, according to federal regulators Bond cranked out almost 16,000 handguns in 2018.


F-1 Firearms in Spring is known for its badass AR components and full-up rifles and pistols that stand out from a crowded field. They don’t drop a lot of dough on advertising because they don’t have to. If you know, you know.

LaRue Tactical

Mark LaRue’s famed Leander, Texas-based company is known the world over for quick-detachable mounting solutions and hyper-accurate 7.62mm and 5.56mm rifle systems. Mark founded his shop in 1980 and 40 years later still stands behind all his products with a “lifetime” guarantee of “If you ain’t happy, then we ain’t happy.”

They also began recently making their own CNC-machined billet lowers, at a rate of 40 per day. (Photo: LaRue)


Magpul products are something of a universal adapter across gun culture (Photo: Chris Eger/

Originally based in Colorado, Magpul pulled stumps due to strict gun control measures enacted in that state in 2013 and set out for the Lone Star State where they are currently headquartered in Austin while they maintain a production facility in Wyoming. Since then, they have been continually expanding their product line and their PMAG M3 windowed 30-round mag is increasingly the standard magazine of the U.S. military. 

Maverick Arms/Mossberg

Shooting a Mossberg 500 SPX Tactical 12-gauge shotgun. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Although founded in Connecticut in 1919 by former Iver Johnson firearms designer Oscar Frederick Mossberg and his sons, the now-iconic firearms maker has a huge factory in Eagle Pass in Maverick County, Texas. Today, the company produces most of its firearms there due to extensive anti-gun regs in Connecticut. For example, in 2018 alone, Mossberg cranked out 77,747 rifles along with 249,183 shotguns and 101,094 firearms (Shockwaves) in Eagle Pass. Of these, some 15,000 were exported overseas, sending just a little bit of Texas around the world.


Radical Firearms in Stafford ships AR-style rifles and pistols coast-to-coast, delivering nearly 20,000 guns to the consumer market in 2018 alone. They have even seen their guns adopted by LE users overseas.

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@mrgunsngear with ・・・ Doing some plinking with this 6.5 Grendel build @bowersgroup VERS375 @accutac bipod @radicalfirearms 6.5G upper @cpd_mags @primaryarms 2.5-10x GLx @aero_precision lower @magpul UBR 2.0

A post shared by Radical Firearms (@radicalfirearms) on May 11, 2020 at 5:47am PDT

Shadow Systems

Based in Plano, Shadow Systems is an up and coming pistol maker (they produced 330 guns in 2018) however they burst onto the scene last year with their own concealed carry pistol, the MR918. Looking straight into the eyes of Glock perfection, the MR918 looks to upend the stalwart pistol and become the go-to for users looking for a semi-custom concealed carry piece. Since then, they have grown their line with the upgraded MR920.


STI has done it again by taking the 2011 technology and squished it down into a compact frame and created a single stack 9mm powerhouse with the Staccato-C. (Photo: Noah Alkinburgh/

Located in Georgetown, Texas-based STI International is renowned for its high-end competition guns often seen in the hands of the fictional John Wick, not necessarily their law enforcement offerings. However, the company recently won a contract to supply the U.S. Marshal Service with a custom version of their STI Staccato-P-DUO 2011. What is more Texas than that? In 2018, STI produced more than 5,200 pistols, of which over 1,000 were exported overseas.


Sandy Strayer and Michael Voigt’s Strayer-Voigt shop (SVI) in Gordon is well-known for their highly-tuned Infinity series M1911 designs. They are truly functional art.

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@freedomfirearms We Want it. We Make it.

A post shared by Infinity Firearms (@infinity_firearms) on Apr 22, 2020 at 4:05pm PDT

Stillers Actions

Stillers Precision in Garland is a well-regarded maker of custom bolt action receivers for competition, hunting, and tactical use. The company produced 1,952 firearms in 2018 and has been tapped by the U.S. Navy on occasion.

“Our actions offered the unique ability of interchangeable parts,” says Stillers. “It was critical to the Navy to be able to supply their troops with weapons that were of the highest quality allowing parts from each weapon to be used in ANY other weapon and part supplied to troops fitting and working immediately.”

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#Repost @warhorsedevelopment • • • • • • Rogers Pass (Montana) What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness. – John Steinbeck #montana #longrangeshooting #competitiveshooting #atacscamo #stilleractions #leupoldoptics #tieroneeu #proofresearch #wintercontingency #warhorsebags

A post shared by Stiller Precision Firearms (@stilleractions) on Feb 1, 2020 at 6:05pm PST

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Categories: Gun News

Concealment, Capacity Collide in Springfield Armory Hellcat

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 05:00

Introduced in fall 2019, the Hellcat caught the attention of the industry with its small stature but impressive capacity. Boasting 13+1 rounds with an extended mag and 11+1 with the flush fit mag, the Hellcat aimed to offer concealed carriers the ability to flawlessly conceal without sacrificing much in the way of capacity.

After a 100-round initial review, I took the Hellcat back to the range and out on the town to see how well it would stack up under more scrutiny.

The Basics

The Hellcat made waves in 2019 with its 13+1 capacity and small frame. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

Measuring 6-inches in total length, the Hellcat brings a 4-inch height, 1-inch width, and 3-inch barrel. The Hellcat weighs in around 18-ounces and comes in two models — a standard and Optics Ready, known as the OSP. For this review, I tested the standard model.

Aesthetically, the gun comes with top slide serrations which come in handy for racking. They are easy to grip and rip as you prep the gun for firing. The grip texture provides positive contact without completely shredding your hand while shooting. The frame also sports a reversible mag release button which makes it easier for the southpaws among us. Topping off some bells and whistles is a non-proprietary accessory rail for lights and lasers and a Tritium front sight and Tactical Rack U-Dot rear sights.

The sight set-up was fairly enjoyable while firing. The Tritium grabs your attention and makes it easy to place the sight on target. I’ve always preferred Tritium to standard white dot, so it’s nice that Springfield included that on the Hellcat.


As most of my readers know, my EDC is usually a midsize pistol – either the Glock G19 or, most recently, the Shadow Systems MR918. There are times, though, when a gal has to step down to a subcompact. Usually, that means toting a Smith & Wesson Shield in either a Dark Star Gear holster or a Can Can Concealment Hip Hugger for non-belted carry. Stacked up against the Shield, the Hellcat is noticeably smaller and has the added benefit of more rounds.

The author popped the Hellcat in a Can Can Concealment Hip Hugger holster. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

I popped the Hellcat in my Can Can Hip Hugger and it all but disappeared on my body. Though small, I was still able to easily access and draw the gun. I was really impressed with how little it printed and how well it rode in the holster. If you are someone who struggles to conceal, the Hellcat offers a solution with its slim build.

At the Range

In my first look at the Hellcat, I noted that the gun has some snap to it. That’s not shocking nor surprising as it features a compact size paired with that 9mm round. You’d be hard-pressed to find any subcompact that doesn’t come with a little recoil. That being said, it’s easy to control if you train to it and practice maintaining a good grip with good mechanics.

Over the course of testing, I sent hundreds of rounds downrange – everything from Hornady Critical Defense to Winchester white box and even some random cheap ammo I found while spring cleaning. The Hellcat performed admirably with no malfunctions or hiccups.

The sight set-up and grip texture proved useful at the range. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

When it comes to gripes, my biggest centers around the trigger. Though it boasts a flat-faced design, I didn’t enjoy the Hellcat’s trigger. The Hellcat has some grit to it, not a feature I am a fan of when it comes to triggers. I prefer a smoother trigger that I can cleanly press through. I notice when presented with triggers that have a grittier feel, I tend to slap the trigger more because I just don’t enjoy that press. The Hellcat was no exception.

While we are on the topic of the trigger, let’s talk about another issue that has cropped up for some who have tried their hand at the Hellcat. The Hellcat is equipped with a trigger safety meaning that there is a small lever ahead of the actual trigger that must be actuated to allow the trigger to be depressed and the gun to fire. This, of course, is there to prevent the trigger from snagging, on say clothes, and discharging.

The trigger was gritty and the author noted that the trigger safety can be problematic in certain scenarios. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

If you have a sloppier grip resulting in bad trigger manipulation, this safety can be problematic. On the Hellcat, if you accidentally place sideways pressure on the trigger as you attempt to it pull it, the trigger locks up completely — meaning it won’t engage and the gun won’t fire. To remedy this, let off the trigger for a second and then re-apply direct, even pressure. For me, this rectified the situation and allowed the trigger to engage.

This is important to know if you are planning on carrying the Hellcat – make sure to practice your trigger pull ahead of popping this bad boy in a holster. I suggest some time dry firing and then practice at the range to reinforce good trigger manipulation, making sure to apply consistent and direct pressure. So long as you train and dry fire, as you should be doing anyway, you should be fine with the Hellcat.

Final Thoughts

Overall, the Hellcat did well and its capacity is a definite improvement over sub-compacts of the past. (Photo: Jacki Billings/

After several hundred rounds down range and carrying for a couple of months — where do I stand on the Hellcat?

If you’re after a higher capacity gun that isn’t monstrous in size, the Hellcat definitely does the job. If you prefer comfort while shooting — be that reduced recoil or a smoother trigger — then I would pass this up in favor of one of its competitors. At the end of the day, the Hellcat worked reliably and concealed well.

The base model Hellcat retails for $569 while the OSP version comes in slightly more at $599.


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Categories: Gun News

Hornady Debuts New 6mm ARC Cartridge as Barrett, CMMG & Others Offer Rifles

Thu, 06/04/2020 - 03:23

Nebraska-based ammo maker Hornady on Wednesday announced a new short-action cartridge designed to push the limits while at the same time big name gun makers unveiled rifles for it.

Based on the 6.5 Grendel case, the new SAAMI-approved Hornady 6mm Advanced Rifle Cartridge, in a nutshell, was designed for a military user that wanted a round delivering comparable ballistics to a .308 Winchester from an AR-15 platform.

“The 6mm ARC began with a simple question: What can we do with today’s technology to maximize the performance of the AR-15 platform?” said Hornady Ballistician Jayden Quinlan. “We subsequently modeled and tested a variety of designs in different calibers until we were able to produce the most flexible cartridge possible within the limits of the AR-15 system.”

While Hornady is dubbing it the “6.5 Creedmoor of the gas gun world,” the new round can also be used in a mini-action bolt gun as well. (Image: SAAMI)

The 6mm ARC will be offered this year in 105-grain BTHP BLACK, 108-grain ELD Match, and 103-grain ELD-X Precision Hunter loads by Hornady.

When speaking about ballistics performance, the BTHP Black, for example, is billed at producing a muzzle velocity of 2750 fps which translates to 1,763 ft./lbs of energy. When dialed out to 500 yards, the same bullet is still going 1,963 fps and ready to deliver 898 ft./lbs with a -44.9 inch drop in trajectory. The ELD-Match round boasts a G1.536BC.

When you crunch the numbers, Hornady contends the 6mm ARC is superior to the .308 Win, .223/5.56, .224 Valkyrie, 6.5 Grendel, and 6.8 Rem SPC, especially over distance. (Chart: Hornady)

As a bonus, whereas a typical AR-10 mag could only accommodate 20 rounds of .308/7.62 NATO, the same size magazine could accept 24-25 rounds of 6mm ARC.

Hornady said they will also support reloaders who want to brew their own 6mm ARC with a range of Hornady bullets, dies, and components. Reloading data will be available on the Hornady Reloading App.

For a 23-minute deep dive into the development and range of options, the new 6mm ARC brings to the table, check out the below interview with Jayden Quinlan.


But who makes the rifles for it?

Hornady has been doing a lot of legwork on partnering with rifle makers to produce platforms to accommodate the new round. The list of company’s that have a 6mm ARC-chambered gun headed to market reads like a “who’s who” of the AR world and includes APF Armory, Barrett, Brownells, Christensen, CMC Triggers, CMMG, GAP, Geissele, Howa, Lantac, Mossberg, NEMO, Noveske, Odin Works, Proof, Radical Firearms, SanTan Tactical, Uintah Precision, and Wilson Combat.

Barrett announced this Wednesday they have been supplying their REC 7 rifle to the U.S. military in the new 6mm ARC offering as part of a Pentagon contract secured last year.

“Carrying 24 rounds in the magazine, the 108 gr. ELD Match bullets leave the 18-inch PROOF Research match-grade stainless steel or carbon fiber barrel at over 2,630 fps,” said Barrett in a statement. “This easily gives the rifle supersonic capabilities past 1,000 yards.”

Ryan Clecker with Gun University got his hands on a 6mm ARC-chambered Barrett REC 7 and gives the rundown chasing it out past 600 yards, below.

San Tan Tactical’s STT-15-6ARC rifles will use an 18-inch PROOF Research carbon fiber barrel with a 7.5 twist. The ultralight AR-style platform will have a 16-inch M-LOK rail, ambi controls, a CMC 3.5-pound single stage match trigger, and Magpul furniture.

CMMG says they will be adding 6mm ARC chambered options to both their 16-inch Resolute and 20-inch Endeavor rifle lines with an MSRP ranging from $1,049.95 to $1,799.95.

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Categories: Gun News

Florida City Bans Gun, Ammo Sales Citing Disorders

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 07:25

The order curtails public possession of firearms, gun and ammo sales, and even the display by or any store or shop of a firearm of any size. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The West Palm Beach Mayor this week declared a state of local emergency that banned the sale of guns and ammo in the city due to the risk of public disorders.

Mayor Keith James on May 31 issued his declaration halting legal firearms sales in the city of 100,000 along South Florida’s Atlantic Coast. Citing state law, the move not only blocks gun and ammo sales but also the possession in a public place of a firearm by any person, except for police and military.

The move came after a daylong protest that closed sections of I-95.

Subsequent amendments to the declaration have established a 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m curfew and dialed back restrictions on the sale of alcoholic beverages with the approval of the City Commission. The state of emergency remains in effect until terminated by the Mayor or City Commission.

“The public’s safety is my top priority, especially during this time of great unrest in cities nationwide,” said James in a statement.

While his position is nonpartisan, James publically endorsed noted anti-gun advocate Michael Bloomberg for President earlier this year.

In April, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order that exempted all firearm and ammunition product manufacturers, retailers, distributors, importers, and shooting ranges in the state from stay-at-home restrictions during the COVID-19 crisis. On Tuesday, DeSantis reported that demonstrations across the state “have remained largely peaceful over the past 24 hours and no significant law enforcement or civilian injuries or deaths have been reported to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.”

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Categories: Gun News

Classic Wonder Nine: Smith & Wesson Model 59

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 06:06

Like bellbottoms and disco, the Model 59 was 1970s cool in a red-and-white striped Ford Gran Torino kinda way. (All photos:

One of the more key developments in American semi-auto pistol history, Smith & Wesson’s Model 59 sprang on the scenes in 1971 and gave birth to the company’s “Wonder Nine” period.

Just four years after the end of World War II– a conflict in which the U.S. Army became well-acquainted with modern double action semi-auto combat pistols such as the Walther P-38— the Pentagon embarked on a light DA 9mm pistol program. To win what could have been a juicy contract to replace the M1911A1, Colt, S&W, and High Standard all submitted prototype designs for Army trials in the 1950s.

While none of the pistols proposed met with acclaim from the Army, who chose to just keep their .45ACP Government models for another 30 years, Smith’s test gun, the T4/X100, went on to become Big Blue’s Model 39. Using an aluminum alloy frame and an 8-shot single stack mag, the Model 39 entered production in 1955 and was the first popular U.S.-made 9mm pistol on the consumer market.

S&W used the fact that the Model 39 was double-action as key in their marketing, as single-action semi-autos such as the M1911 and Browning Hi-Power were its direct competitors. (Photo: S&W)

In 1968, the Model 39 received a big nod when the Illinois State Police adopted the firearm, the first large American law enforcement agency to chose a semi-auto in a world where everyone carried wheel guns. The ISP ordered more than 1,700 of the new 9mm S&Ws and others soon followed.

Why all this talk of the Model 39 when this article is supposed to be on the Model 59? Well, because in the Vietnam conflict, with the earlier single-stack modified to take a double-column magazine as a special purpose suppressor vehicle for Navy SEALs dubbed the “Hush Puppy.”

By 1971, S&W hit upon the idea to make the double-stack Model 39 a standard offering in their catalog, and the Model 59 was born. Gone was the Model 39’s checkered wooden grips, replaced with black plastic, protecting a 14-shot magazine well.

Offering a 14+1 capacity, the Model 59 was still fairly light, at just 27-ounces. With a 4-inch barrel, the overall length of the pistol was 7.5-inches. This put it smaller than the Browning Hi-Power, which it also bested very slightly in capacity.

With a 250 percent increase in magazine capacity over its Model 39 forerunner, the sights on the Model 59 consisted of a fixed serrated front ramp with a rear adjustable for windage.

Keep in mind that in 1971, when the Model 59 debuted, guns like the Beretta 92, SIG P220, and CZ75 were still on the drawing board and would be a few years away from making it to the U.S.

Soon after it was released, the Model 59 proved popular in LE use, with Massad Ayoob detailing the Wrentham, Massachusetts, PD may have been the first to adopt it. By 1974, Las Vegas Metro was carrying the M59. Some departments of the era reportedly compromised by issuing the Model 59 while buying a smaller stock of Model 39s for use by detectives and those with hands too small to wrap around the larger grip of the double-stack.

Heck, the sought-after pistol even made it into the original Starsky and Hutch TV series as Starsky’s duty piece.

Gun writer Claude Hamilton, writing in the July 1978 issue of American Handgunner, chronicled the increasing adoption of the S&W 59 by police, with some alacrity, albeit echoing concerns about period 9mm loads.

“[T]here is a school made up of those dissatisfied with the limited firepower of revolvers and their clumsy reloading characteristics, and more than one large police organization has recently rearmed with either the Smith & Wesson Model 39 or 59 semi-auto pistols in 9mm,” said Hamilton before qualifying the latter by stating, “This cartridge is not one looked on with much favor by the officers I know.”

The Model 59 was available in blue or nickel.

They are often encountered today with their standard black plastic S&W-branded grips replaced with aftermarket options that provide better ergos, such as this example with well-worn Pachymayr signatures.

In 1979, Smith began moving on from their inaugural semi-auto pistol line and introduced the Model 439, the first of their Second Generation pistols. This saw the Model 59 upgraded to the Model 459 when in 2nd Gen format, easily recognized by its protected rear sight. In 1987, S&W would move on to their Third generation models, which saw the 59/459 further improved into the 5900 series.

The Model 459 later competed against the Beretta 92 in the Army’s 1980s pistol trials, but that is a different story. This particular 459 is nickel-plated while its companion, the 659 of Reservoir Dogs fame, is stainless.

With newer designs on the market, production of the Model 59– as well as the slimmer Model 39– halted in the early 1980s with Jim Supica reporting that approximately 231,841 M59s were produced.

Not a bad run for a decade.


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Categories: Gun News’s Short Guide on What to Hunt in Texas

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 04:30

Texas Rio Grande turkeys with JJ Reich of Federal Premium. Four trophy birds taken with Savage Model 220 shotguns and 20-gauge Federal TSS. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

From wings to water, big game and birds, Texas has it all. When most hunters think about venturing to the Lone Star State for a hunt, high fence exotics come to mind. While that’s a wonderful break from reality, Texas is home to a bounty of native, free-range game animals. Here is a selection of game you’ll find in the Lone Star state, along with some details to help with your Texas hunting success.


Season: Texas Dove hunting seasons are broken down by area, with north, central, and south zones. North regular season runs September 1 to November 12, 2020, and December 18 to January 3, 2021. Central Zone runs September 1 to November 1 and December 18 to January 14, 2021. South zone runs September 14 to November 1 and December 18 to January 23, 2021. There’s also special White Winged Dove days in 2020 slated for September 5, 6, 12, and 13. Legal shooting hours for that special season are limited from noon to sunset. All other dove days run one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.

Why hunt Doves: Think high volume shooting, inexpensive hunts, pleasant weather, and delectable bacon-wrapped dove breasts on the grill. Got your attention? Then you’ll love dove hunting in Texas, as the Lone Star State boasts a booming bird population and early seasons. Also, bag limits are generous with a daily take of 15 birds and a possession limit of 45 doves. That makes Texas a hot spot for traveling hunters wishing to get in on some action, lots of shooting, and more birds than one can imagine. Outfitters often book the best dates a year in advance, so if you want to go guided it’s best to book early.

Places to Hunt: Land rich with September Doves is rich in Texas, though some of the most productive locales are found in Central and South Texas. Hunters planning to shoot for the skies can research locations, as many northern zone counties are underrated targets.

Firearms of Choice: Stevens 555, TriStar Viper G2, Browning A5, Remington 1100

Ammo of Choice: Kent Cartridge Steel Dove, Federal Premium Upland Steel, Remington Heavy Dove

Texas Whitetails

Season: Firearms general seasons vary from north to south zones, but dates usually run early November through early January. There is also a special late-season that covers most of January and in some areas into February.

Why hunt TX Deer: As a generalization, deer in the south are smaller of both body and antler size than their brethren in the north that have easier access to rich foods. Hunting Texas Whitetails, however, is a special treat in some amazingly rugged terrain and with quite different weather than most Midwestern and western buck hunters face. As a further challenge, South Texas Whitetails have their own category in record books like SCI, so serious deer hunters will want to put this on their bucket list.

Places to Hunt: Options abound for hunting Whitetails throughout much of the entire state. Booking with an outfitter or accessing a ranch will be the best bet for hunters traveling any distance, though deer hunting is allowed with significant public access. A $48 Annual Hunting Permit, for walk-ins, allows hunters full access white-tailed deer, feral hogs, dove, quail, turkey, waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel, and more.

Firearms of Choice: Magnum Research BFR, Mossberg Patriot, Winchester XPR

Ammo of Choice: Hornady American Whitetail, Winchester Deer Season, Sig Sauer Elite Hunter Tipped, Federal Fusion

Mule Deer

Season: The General season for Mule Deer varies slightly by area across the counties in the Panhandle and Southwestern Panhandle. Those dates span November 23 to December 8, while other areas run November 29 to December 15.

Why hunt TX Muleys: Many hunters don’t even think of Texas as a Mule Deer destination, but the state’s Panhandle prairie grasslands and the southwestern type of desert terrain are home to healthy and wily bucks. Mule deer steaks make dandy table fare and the wide, tall racks of Muley bucks are true trophies.

Places to hunt: Like other species on this list, several of the state’s Wildlife Management Areas fall within the Texas counties open to Mule Deer hunting. They make great public access points. For those unfamiliar with the area or lacking time to scout, numerous outfitters offer 3-to-5 day Mule Deer hunting packages.

Firearms of Choice: Savage 110 High Country, Magnum Research BFR, Henry Long Ranger

Ammo of Choice: Buffalo Bore Deer Grenade, Sierra GameChanger, Nosler Ballistic Tip


Season: Varies by area hunted, but duck seasons generally run from early November through late January of the following year. There is a statewide Teal season from September 14 to September 29 for early fall waterfowlers.

Why hunt TX Waterfowl: Taking aim at the skies in Texas may just be one of the most underrated pastimes in the state. While other hunters are targeting big game, bountiful pintails, teal, mallards, widgeon, redheads, and many more offer world-class wing shooting along with pleasant weather conditions.

Places to Hunt: Close your eyes and point to a map of Texas and odds are good you’ll be able to find a spot for some wingshooting. Public access points and outfitters alike are teeming, and the opportunities are plentiful — including inland rivers and lakes, interior grain fields, and even into the panhandle. Texas WMAs offer outstanding public waterfowl hunting spots. While there are almost two dozen areas open to waterfowlers, check out the Guadalupe Delta WMA or Tawakoni WMA.

Firearms of Choice: Savage Renegauge Waterfowl, Beretta A400 Xtreme Plus, CZ 1012

Ammo of Choice: Kent Fasteel 2.0, Federal Premium Black Cloud, Hevi Shot Duck

Kristin Alberts with a pair of Texas Rios harvested with a Savage 220 bolt-action shotgun and Federal Premium TSS loads. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Rio Grande Turkeys

Season: While Texas also has a much smaller population of Eastern Turkeys, there’s nothing quite like chasing Texas Rios. There are both spring and fall seasons, with dates varying by north and south zones, as well as several special locales. Check regulations for all details, but general dates go late March/early April through May in the spring and early November through late January.

Why hunt Rios: Whether working on your Wild Turkey slam, seeking turkey for the freezer, or Rio fans for the wall, Texas is home to what is likely the most plentiful spread of Rios in the US. Tags are readily available and both outfitters and public land options are plenty.

Places to Hunt: Given the vast expanses of Texas land, ideal terrain, and quality game management, Rio Grande turkeys thrive throughout the Lone Star State. Many outfitters offer Rio hunts, and while that’s more costly than DIY, it’s much cheaper than guided big game adventures while still experiencing all Texas has to offer. Many ranches have booming bird populations as well, and a little pay-to-play will be money well spent. It’s possible to get multiple turkey tags for many areas.

Firearms of Choice: Savage 220 Turkey, Mossberg 500 Turkey, Winchester SX3, though it’s noteworthy that the state of Texas allows turkeys to be harvested with centerfire rifles as well as shotguns.

Ammo of Choice: Federal Premium TSS, Browning BXD, Hevi Shot Hevi-13, Kent Cartridge TK7

Javelina/Collared Peccary

Season: Javelina areas are broken down into northern and southern zones. Open dates for the Northern area are October 1 to February 23, while the southern zone runs September 1 to August 31; but be aware there are numerous counties with no open season.

Why hunt Javelina: While Wild Boars flourish in Texas, Javelina are a much more unique and sought-after trophy. Much like big ‘ole boar hogs, Javelina meat can be potent if not dressed correctly but still makes decent table fare in the hands of a capable chef.

Places to Hunt: Javelinas, or Peccaries, are well trenched in the southern and southwestern parts of Texas. The only other place to find wild Peccaries in America is a small part of New Mexico and a swath of Southern Arizona. In Texas, Javelina are classified as a game animal and may be legally harvested with a hunting license during hunting season in counties that have a season. They make a great side-hunt while pursuing other native game or trophies in their own right.

Firearms of Choice: Henry Big Boy, Savage MSR, Nosler M48 Independence, S&W 44 Magnum Hunter

Ammo of Choice: Federal Hammer Down, Sierra GameChanger, Remington Hog Hammer


Season: Gator hunting in Texas is broken down into Core and Non-Core counties. Core area season dates span September 10 to September 30 while Non-Core counties are open to Gator hunters from April 1 to June 30.

Why hunt Gators: The better question is why not? Unless hunters live in the deep south, the chance to hunt native toothy reptiles is non-existent and Texas is one of the best-kept secrets for Gator hunting. Whether you’re after a memorable experience, the leather for new boots, purses, and belts, or the delectable white meat of alligator tail, there are more reasons to hunt Gators than not.

Places to Hunt: Choose an outfitter if you’re not familiar with chasing reptilians. Confident hunters will find ample public access as well. Areas like the JD Murphree WMA on the TX/LA border has long been a hotspot for alligator hunters.

Firearms of Choice: Taurus Raging Hunter, Ruger Scout, Henry Mare’s Leg

Ammo of choice: Hornady Handgun Hunter, Buffalo Bore, Winchester SuperX

Texas Desert Bighorn Sheep

Season: Hunt dates may vary by tag type and location, but hunting is often allowed for many months out of the year. Tags are hard to come by, however, and some of the best chances are by state-run lottery.

Why hunt TX Deserts: This is one of the most prestigious, physically demanding, and rewarding of all Texas hunts. Desert sheep can be hunted in many southwestern states and Mexico, but Texas is flying under the radar. Desert Bighorn populations have been on the rise thanks to outstanding conservation and re-introduction efforts. Over 1,500 animals can be found in several of the state’s rugged mountain ranges.

Places to Hunt: Those lucky enough to draw a Texas Desert Bighorn tag will most likely want to work with an outfitter who spends much of the year scouting Deserts. Consider this a once-in-a-lifetime hunt and do it right.

Firearms of Choice: Nosler M48 (Mountain Carbon), Savage 110 Ultralight, Weatherby Mark V

Ammo of choice: Federal Premium Terminal Ascent, Hornady Precision Hunter, Nosler Trophy Grade Long Range

For more information regarding hunting in Texas make sure to check out Texas Parks and Wildlife for information on WMAs and licenses.

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Categories: Gun News

Work the Lever on Federal Premium’s new HammerDown Hunting Ammo

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 04:00

HammerDown ammunition uses nickel cases, bonded bullets, and loads intended for long guns, offering better performance and smooth cycling for lever-action hunters. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Federal Premium and Henry Repeating Arms join forces to develop HammerDown – a specialty lever-action ammo. Both are American made and ready to run—and hunt — in your lever long gun. Here are 10 things you should know before ponying up the bucks for HammerDown.

1. Calibers

The initial launch of HammerDown covers some of the most popular lever-action calibers built by Henry Repeating Arms and other western-gun manufacturers to include .327 Federal Magnum, .357 Magnum, .44 Rem Mag, .45 Colt, .30-30 Win, and .45-70 Govt. Both the .30-30 and .45-70 are shipping now, with the others slated to hit store shelves later in 2020.

2. How Does it Work?

HammerDown is engineered to work in lever guns, but how? It is intended to function flawlessly when filled via either tubular magazines or side-loading gates. Federal chamfered the cases and used “specialized geometry on the front face of the case’s rim. This difference improves cycling in all lever-action feeding systems,” according to Federal Premium Centerfire Rifle Product Line Manager Eric Miller.

3. The Business End

It should come as no surprise that Federal opts to use their own proven bullets in the HammerDown line, with molecularly bonded projectiles most like the company’s existing Fusion line. Bonding copper plating to a lead core provides both expansion and weight retention, two keys hunters desire. The .357 Mag, .44 Rem Mag, .30-30 Win, and .45-70 Govt use bonded soft points while the .327 Fed Mag and .45 Colt use bonded hollow points.

4. Handgun vs Long Gun

The problem many hunters have found with using what are traditionally handgun calibers—like the .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum, .327 Fed Mag, and others, is that those rounds are not loaded to the higher pressures and velocities that carbine and rifle length lever-actions can handle. HammerDown changes that, loading not only hotter but also heavier. Federal tops HammerDown with heavier than normal bullets for the caliber. That equates to greater velocities and more knockdown power on game.

Federal Premium’s HammerDown ammo was launched as a collaboration with Henry Repeating Arms. No more wondering about the best kind of ammo for your lever gun. This Henry Side Gate in .45-70 loves the 300-grain bullets. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

5. Hot Loads

Federal says the though the loads feature a “dramatic increase in velocity and pressure” they still meet industry standards as outlined by the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute. HammerDown’s .357 Magnum offers a velocity of 1,610 FPS while the .22 Rem Magnum is going 1,715 FPS and the .45 Colt brings a velocity of 1,400 FPS.

6. The Make-Up

What makes up a physical HammerDown round? There’s a nickel-plated brass casing for both corrosion resistance and easy extraction. Clean burning powder should go without saying and, of course, Federal’s own in-house production Gold Medal primers — some of the best in the business for reliable ignition. Federal realizes that hunters get out in rough conditions and HammerDown is built to be in the field.

7. Rifle Packaging

Notice anything different about buying HammerDown boxes? Federal makes HammerDown to be used in rifles and the ammunition, regardless of casing length, is packed in 20-round rifle boxes. Pricing is not so bad on those boxes either. MSRP is $19.99 for all calibers, save .45-70, which is set at $38.99.

The nickel-plated brass cases on HammerDown are ready for hunters. Our test .45-70 rounds functioned flawlessly and will be headed to a big game hunt soon. (Photo: Kristin Alberts)

8. Why .327 Fed Mag?

The .327 Federal Magnum makes the biggest gains of all calibers in HammerDown. Long thought an unsung defense round in short-barreled revolvers, few ever considered it a hunting round with Henry being the first to chamber a rifle for it.

“Introduced by Federal in 1984, the .327 Federal Magnum gained popularity because it reached the velocity and performance levels of the .357 Magnum in a smaller cartridge,” says Miller. HammerDown is advertised to launch a 127-grain bonded hollow point at 1,650 FPS with a ballistic coefficient of 0.195. For reference, a vast majority of factory-produced .327 Federal Mag loads opt for bullet weights around 80- to 100-grains and velocity between 1,200 to 1,500 FPS. These often use bullets intended for self-defense rather than hunting.

9. Feed Your Lever Action, Any Lever Action

Just because Federal’s HammerDown was designed in conjunction with Henry Repeating Arms doesn’t mean the ammo will not work equally well in other lever guns. Have a Marlin? Give it a try and you will likely be pleased — same with Winchester, Uberti, and the like. The only warning here will be against using HammerDown—or any zippy modern rifle ammunition—in vintage firearms that may not have as strong an action as modern production guns.

10. We Want More

What other calibers do we expect in HammerDown? Word of .35 Remington has already been leaked. Another that makes sense is the .38-55 Win, as Henry chambers one of its new H024 Side Gate rifles in that vintage round. Of course, the lever-action round that defined lever guns for decades, the .44-40 Win, would be a nice addition and would equally find a home on Henry’s Original rifles and carbines.


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Categories: Gun News

Four Pro-Gun Bills Headed to Louisiana Governor

Wed, 06/03/2020 - 02:03

The Sportsman’s Paradise could see a package of pro-gun laws signed in the coming days. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has a four-pack of gun rights protections headed to his desk after the Republican-led state legislature passed them this week by large margins.

The measures include proposals to strengthen Louisiana’s firearm preemption law, loosens a ban on concealed carry permit holders exercising their rights in places of worship, and further protect gun rights in times of emergency or disaster.

Edwards, a Democrat, will have to decide to sign or veto the measures, which were approved in most cases by veto-proof margins, in the next few weeks. Indeed, one passed unanimously in the state Senate.

The bills include:

House Bill 140, which girds the state’s preemption law by limiting the authority of local and parish governments to ban the legal possession of a weapon except in places already barred under state law.

House Bill 334modifies the current ban on a concealed handgun permit holder bringing their firearm with them to a church or other place of worship so long as church leaders support such carry. In 2018, Edwards signed a bill easing state regs on volunteer church security carrying guns to protect their flock.

House Bill 746, recognizes the right for any person who can lawfully possess a firearm to carry it concealed during a mandatory evacuation in the event of a declared state of disaster or emergency. Louisiana is hurricane-prone and currently has Tropical Storm Cristobol bearing down on the state with expected landfall this weekend.

House Bill 781, likewise removes the authority of local governments and law enforcement to regulate the manufacture, sale, and possession of firearms or ammunition during times of emergency, counting such gun industry nodes as “Essential Businesses.” Notably, in March, New Orleans Mayor Latoya Cantrell, a Democrat, declared she could restrict such activity under citywide decree early during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measures are backed by both local advocates and national Second Amendment groups such as Gun Owners of America and the National Rifle Association.

“These bills protect our freedom in times of uncertainty and emergency, including during the current COVID-19 outbreak,” noted the NRA in a statement.

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Categories: Gun News

Budget Buntline: Heritage Rough Rider 16-inch

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 08:00

Want to make a statement on the range? Bring a Buntline. From a company whose name is synonymous with affordable single-action revolvers, comes the 16-inch barreled Rough Rider — born of the legendary 19th century Colt Buntline six-shooter.

Meet the Non-Buntline, Buntline

Heritage Manufacturing puts out the most affordable, American made rimfire revolvers in modernity. The bread and butter wheelguns are both the six-shot and nine-shot Rough Riders, both single actions and with multiple grip frames, grip options, sights, finishes, and more. Those revolvers, however, are most often found with the two most common barrel lengths– 4.75-inch and 6.5-inch.

Heritage does not call its 16-inch barreled Rough Rider revolver a Buntline, though, by Wild West standards of a long-barreled wheelgun it fits the bill. There are two versions of the lengthy Rough Rider, one with fixed sights and other adjustable. Our fixed sight model is as plain as they come with a nondescript heavy black finish and fixed front sight with a simple notch at the rear. Had it been available at the time, we would have opted for the adjustable sight version, which has a nice fiber-optic red front along with a green, two-dot rear.

The rest of the build remains the same on both, with an aluminum alloy frame and steel barrel. Per the company’s website, Rough Riders are 100% American made.

The 16-inch models ship with Cocobolo wood grips. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Both long-barreled models ship standard with Cocobolo wood grips, and each is also available as a combo. With a combo, the rimfire bases are covered and you can shoot .22 LR, Long, Short, shot, and CB through the .22 LR cylinder and, of course, .22 WMR in the magnum cylinder.

Don’t fret if you can’t grab the combo just yet as the company includes a mail-in voucher to purchase the additional cylinder at a reasonable price later. Shooters can order the cylinders via the company’s e-store as well.

Variations and Warranties

The interchangeable cylinders popular with the earlier Rough Rider follows over to this long-tube model, as both cylinders and grips interchange. Several special editions are also available — one wearing sweet Betsy Ross flag grips and the other a Joker with playing card grips and receiver of simulated case hardening. One of the nicer things Heritage offers is a place to buy its most common parts. From firing pins to sights, hammers to springs, consumers can find that and more on its website. (Also, check out Altamont to see a collection of grips under $30.)

Heritage warranties its Rough Riders for one year from the date of the purchase for the original buyer. Should you require service, the warranty department, along with company headquarters, is based in Bainbridge, Georgia, and will inspect and offer an estimate for any repairs.

Field Testing

The revolver wheeled through every brand of ammo we fed and recoil, of course, is non-existent. We loaded up a mix of Federal Premium Hunter Match, Aguila Super Extra, Blazer and Winchester Wildcat .22 LR. For good measure, we also popped off a few cylinders of Federal Bird Shot and CCI Shorts. The Rough Rider, even with its 16-inch barrel, is no target pistol; but then again, that’s not what it’s intended to be.

Even with the less-than-ideal fixed iron sights, which we found to shoot consistently high at anything less than 50-yards, we were able to explode aluminum cans and prairie dog-sized targets. With some practice, greater ranges are not out of the question.

The trigger pull is not noteworthy, and that is a good thing. It breaks better than expected at just under 6-pounds, while many similarly priced revolvers have much heftier and more gravely affairs. This makes the Rough Rider easier to keep on target.

The Rough Rider did well on the range, with the trigger offering a decent break. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

While the length of the Rough Rider’s barrel naturally feels more front-heavy than, say, the 6.5-inch barreled version of the same make, it is still a very manageable piece. The most difficult part of a Buntline is finding a convenient way to carry the thing. It’s a ridiculous handgun to attempt to conceal, with weight hovering around 45-ounces and overall length measuring under 22-inches; but it offers a carbine length barrel in a platform that can easily be tucked behind a truck seat –where legal of course.

The longer barrel grants greater accuracy than a short-barreled revolver due to an extended sight radius. This means increased accuracy potential for rimfire handgunners wanting to reach out to further ranges. As a bonus, the new 16-inch Rough Rider may just be the most affordable conversation piece on the homestead.


Operating any Rough Rider is simple, though they do not feature swing-out cylinder designs. Pulling the hammer to half-cock allows shells to be loaded and ejected one by one. The Rough Rider is a utilitarian gun, plain and simple. There are no frills, nor high end fit and finish.

In fact, after just over 100 rounds, there are a few wear spots on the finish at the top strap. We’ve had Rough Riders before, and while the finish never excels, we’ve never had a single problem with functionality.

The thumb safety might be a blessing for new gun owners, but troublesome for seasoned veterans of the gun world. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Like the others in the Rough Rider family, this one also has the thumb safety to the left of the hammer — both a blessing and a curse. As a result of its reasonable price point, Heritage wheelguns are often the first rimfire handguns offered to beginner shooters. In that case, the added safety is most welcome.

For those of us accustomed to firing single-action revolvers, it takes some practice to work the safety. We’ve pulled the trigger on more than one offending target only to hear the dead click of the activated safety. Like anything else, it’s all a matter of practice.

What They Are, What They’re Not

These new long-barreled Rough Riders are not slicked-up Colt or Ruger Buntline compatriots, but they don’t pretend to be. Rather, the Rough Rider excels as a budget-priced, slightly gritty, yet all-American six-shooter. Take it to the squirrel woods, shoot some cans, plink on the range, keep it in the truck. It is about as much fun as you can have under two bills.

Rough Riders in general make an excellent entry point for new revolver shooters to get comfortable without laying out lots of cash. The longer barrel on our test model makes it simple to shoot from sandbags and get a feel for a handgun. Managing the longer barrel off-hand, though, will likely be a bit off-putting to younger shooters. With a bit of practice and even a modified rest, like a tree in the small game woods, partnered with that longer sight picture, the Buntline excels.

A Good Buy

Heritage Manufacturing’s 16-inch Rough Rider carries on the Buntline tradition in a fun way. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

We have sweet Ruger Single Six models and collectible Colts, yet it’s the Heritage that’s always there for the dirty work. The newer long-barreled piece is another tool in the arsenal. The Rough Rider is one of those guns that will always be associated with the phrase “for the price” and, indeed, for the price they are a no-brainer buy.

Will they last for three generations? Maybe, maybe not. What is guaranteed, however, is that shooters will get their money’s worth—or more — in a utilitarian gun that one needn’t be afraid to keep handy and just plain shoot. MSRP is $180 and $233, respectively.


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Categories: Gun News

Nosler M48 Independence vs. Remington 700 CP

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 04:00

The frame of these two pistols is very different, with the Nosler using mid-grip design and the Remington a rear-grip. While the Nosler is a precision single shot, the Remington ships with a 10-round PMag. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

In 2019, two manufacturers went head-to-head in the specialty bolt-action arena as Nosler introduced the single-shot M48 Independence, and Remington unveiled the magazine-fed CP. Which is the best and why? breaks down these two specialty handguns to help you decide which is best suited for you.

Barrel Length

Nosler features a 15-inch barrel length for all calibers and a fully free-floated, 416R stainless, threaded design. Meanwhile, Remington sports a 10-inch for all calibers with its .308 Win chambering gaining a 12.5-inch barrel as well. The Remington CP also brings a free-floated, threaded design.

Nosler wins this round on barrel length alone. With 15-inch barrels across the board — more suitable to traditional rifle calibers – Nosler’s barrels wring out the maximum potential, especially at longer ranges. While we’d like to see a quality muzzle brake in place, both are threaded for the shooter’s choice.

Both the Nosler and the Remington wear threaded barrels, though in this case, the 6mm Creedmoor Nosler has a 15″ barrel while the .308 Win 700 CP has a 12.5-inch tube. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


Nosler’s M48 Independence features chamberings in .22 Nosler, .24 Nosler, 6mm Creedmoor, 6.5 Creedmoor, 7mm-08, and .308 Win while Remington’s CP offers .223 Rem., .300 AAC Blackout, .308 Win, plus a recent addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Nosler, again, has the edge in chamberings, though Remington began closing the gap with the addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor. This will become largely a matter of personal preference, but for hunting, we like the Nosler lineup.


Nosler introduces a single-shot approach and Remington sticks with a magazine-fed design opting for a 10+1 Magpul magazine.

Remington takes the win here based on sheer volume with a 10-round magazine. This grants serious capacity to the beloved Model 700 action. Many serious handgunners, however, will argue for the strength of a solidly built single-shot.

Handgun Build

Nosler brings a center grip while Remington offers a rear grip. Both platforms feature a right-hand bolt.

The Nosler wins the build category as a true single shot with a center grip just below the action — meaning the gun balances surprisingly well, even given the longer barrel. Recoil is manageable on both, even without a brake in place. We found the center grip and ergonomic frame shape to make firing the Nosler more pleasurable from both the bench and sticks.

Both guns, however, use a right-handed bolt when many serious long-barreled handgun shooters prefer a left-handed bolt for right-handed shooters who like to stay in the gun from shot to shot.



Nosler’s M48 Independence weighs in at 6.5-pounds, empty while Remington’s CP tips scales at 6.15-pounds, empty.

If you’re going for weight, Remington gets the nod, though this one is pretty much a wash with the guns weighing nearly the same empty. Load up that 10-round magazine on the Remington and the weight-winner shifts to Nosler, even when both are topped with an optic.

Weight negates recoil, but our center-grip 6mm Creedmoor Nosler was significantly more enjoyable to fire unsuppressed over the .308 Remington with its rear grip, though we’re well aware of the caliber differences.

Both the Nosler M48 Independence (top) and the Remington 700 CP wear user-adjustable triggers and right-handed bolts. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Optics Mounting

Nosler’s M48 Independence is drilled and tapped for a user scope base and we used a Leupold one-piece. Remington’s CP 700 includes an extended Picatinny rail.

Remington gets a clear nod in this department. The extended Picatinny rail allows ample room for either a long eye-relief pistol scope or more traditional rifle scope, and we opted for the latter. The Nosler, with its center-grip design, calls for a rifle scope as it’s difficult to get into a suitable shooting position when using a pistol scope. With the one-piece Leupold base we used on the Nosler, there was just not enough room and an extended option would have solved that.


While the M48 Independence has room for actions like mounting a bipod and swapping out the pistol grip, Remington’s CP has the edge on modularity. The M-LOK forend is loaded with attachment points, and similarly, the QD sling mount at the rear of the receiver can be replaced with a pistol brace.

The triggers on both are fully adjustable, so no changes needed there. Accessorizing is a matter of personal taste, so the jury remains out on this one, though there’s a clear edge for Remington among shooters desiring a more tactically-minded platform.


This one is not as clear as pure dollars, though the Remington certainly is considerably less expensive coming in at $1,085 versus Nosler’s MSRP of $2,495. Neither of these niche-market bolt action handguns can be had on the cheap, though their markets are not the cost-conscious; but rather, specialty longer-rangers, hunters, and modular shooters.


The Remington Model 700 CP (top) and the Nosler M48 Independence (bottom) mark two new serious bolt action handguns that, though similar, reach different markets. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Should I Buy the M48 Independence or 700 CP?

Picking between the Nosler M48 Independence and Remington’s 700 CP is surprisingly more apples and oranges than a straight-up comparison. With different grip frames, barrel lengths, caliber families, and price points, hunters and handgunners alike have two new specialty handgun platforms from which to select.

A quick side-by-side of specs for the Nosler M48 Independence and the Remington 700 CP. (Photo:

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Categories: Gun News

NICS Gun Check Figures Highest on Record for Any May in History

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 00:59

Last month saw the highest number of FBI NICS checks processed in the agency’s history for the month of May, with the firearms industry trade group noting many purchases were of handguns for personal protection. (Photo:

The month of May 2020 was the highest May in terms of federal background checks for gun transfers since the system was established over two decades ago.

The unadjusted figures of 3,066,740 checks conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System last month is a 32.1 % jump from the unadjusted FBI NICS figure of 2,320,918 in May 2019.

While that increase alone is staggering in scale, when the data was filtered by the National Shooting Sports Foundation to remove figures for gun permit checks by states which use NICS for that purpose, the number of checks stands at 1,595,790 which is an increase of 75.2 % compared to the May 2019 NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 910,910.

When stacked against previous Mays going back to 1999, last month set a record by far. (Graph: NSSF)

“May’s adjusted NICS background check figures are the highest on record for any May since record-keeping began on point-of-sale instant background checks,” Mark Oliva, NSSF’s director of public affairs told “Americans are being confronted with decisions regarding their personal safety and are voting with their wallets on their right to keep and bear arms.”

While the number of adjusted background checks outpaced those of the previous year for the past 12 months running, the past three months have seen a dramatic climb in firearms sales.

Oliva pointed to the trade group’s latest survey of firearm retailers that showed 40 % of recent gun buyers are purchasing a firearm for the first time. Further, of those millions of first-time gun owners, 40 % are women and are overwhelmingly buying handguns for personal protection.

“The past months, and especially the events of the past week, show us that in uncertain times, law-abiding Americans will consistently choose to take responsibility for their own safety, as is their right,” said Oliva. “Police were already stretched thin before this wave of unrest, prisoners recently released from jails were being re-arrested for subsequent violent crimes and the widespread destruction of personal property and assaults remind Americans that they must be their own first-responder.”

The NSSF is encouraging all gun owners to properly secure firearms when not in use and to seek firearms handling and marksmanship skills training.

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Categories: Gun News

Sig Sauer Ships Next Generation Squad Weapon Prototypes to Army

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 00:16

New Hampshire-based Sig Sauer reports they have recently delivered their Next Generation Squad Weapons system to the U.S. Army for testing and evaluation.

Sig is one of three contractors who last year got the nod from the Pentagon to continue with the NGSW program, which is designed to replace 5.56mm NATO small arms– such as the M4 Carbine and M249 Squad Automatic Weapon– in the Army’s frontline units. Sig’s entry consists of an in-house-designed lightweight high-performance 6.8mm (.277-caliber) hybrid ammunition, NGSW-AR lightweight machine guns, NGSW-R rifles, and suppressors.

Notably, the other two competitors vying for the NGSW contract are formed by consortiums, whereas Sig is it going alone– with components of their system produced at their Arkansas and New Hampshire facilities.

“The Sig Sauer Next Generation Squad Weapons system is the only submission entirely designed, engineered and manufactured by a single American company,” said Ron Cohen, Sig’s president, and CEO. “We are proud to deliver this comprehensive solution to the U.S. Army, with new capabilities to enhance mission effectiveness for our soldiers on the battlefield.”

Sig says their ultra-light 6.8mm NGSW-AR, left, and NGSW-R, right, are the “most comprehensive solution to meet the requirements of the Next Generation Squad Weapons to enhance mission effectiveness.” (Photo: Sig)

Sig’s belt-fed MG 6.8mm machine gun, which is submitted as the NGSW-AR, is billed as being 40% lighter than the M249 but with “dramatically reduced felt recoil.” It has ambidextrous AR-style ergonomics, quick detach magazines, increased M1913 rail space, and a quick-detach Sig-developed suppressor.

Meanwhile, Sig’s MCX Spear rifle, submitted as the NGSW-R rifle, is also chambered in the new 6.8mm cartridge, has a fully collapsible and folding stock, rear and side charging handle, free-floating reinforced M-LOK handguard, fully ambi controls, and a quick-detach suppressor.

Sig’s hybrid 6.8mm submitted as part of the NGSW program is not your average commercial load and shouldn’t be confused with cartridges such as the 6.8mm Remington SPC (Photo: Sig)


The competition

One competing group that Sig is matched against is spearheaded by General Dynamics Ordnance & Tactical Systems, who is working Beretta, to produce their RM277 NGSW platform which uses True Velocity’s 6.8mm composite-cased cartridge.

The RM277 NGSW platform is created by General Dynamics OTS, working with Beretta, and uses True Velocity’s 6.8mm composite-cased cartridge. (Photos: Chris Eger/

The third suitor for the program is defense contractor AAI/Textron, which has subcontracted with ammo maker Winchester-Olin and firearms icon Heckler & Koch, to design their own unique NGSW contender.

The Army plans to purchase 85,986 NGSW systems to replace guns in combat units first. Ultimately, the winner could stand to deliver 250,000 NGSWs and 150 million rounds of ammo plus options for further contracts.

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Categories: Gun News

A Handful of Guns for Varmint Hunting Season

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 04:30

With Varmint hunting season right around the corner, now is the time to get ready for the upcoming season. Whether you plan on hunting squirrels, prairie dogs or coyotes, a good varmint gun is absolutely a necessity. Let’s discuss some options from various manufacturers.

Tikka T3X Varmint

The Tikka T3X is at the top of my list. The smooth action and out-of-the-box accuracy are perfect for hitting small targets. Available in both right or left-handed, the T3X has all the features for accuracy that varmint hunters could want such as free-floated heavy barrel, an impressive trigger, an integrated scope mounting rail and it is available in most popular varmint calibers. The T3X also features an interchangeable pistol grip to adjust the grip to the shooter’s liking.

Tikka uses barrels with aggressive twist rates, which allow hunters to shoot a wide range of ammunition. With a 1 MOA accuracy guarantee, you will have the confidence you need to pursue whatever you’re after.


Savage 93

There is a lot of varmint hunting that can be done with a rimfire and the Savage 93R17 is a great option for those who want to hunt on the cheap. Chambered in 17 HMR, the Savage 93 is excellent for taking down rodents large or small. The rifle comes plenty of models and there is sure to be one that fits your style and taste.

The rifle’s detachable box magazine holds five cartridges and features a 21-inch 9 twist barrel. These rifles are known for shooting accurately with a clean breaking trigger and a wide selection of ammunition. The rifle is available in both blued and stainless models as well as a camo patterned finish. Some models are available with iron sights, while others come with scope bases installed to mount your choice of riflescopes. Whether you want a synthetic stock or a gorgeous wood laminate, there is a Savage 93 for you.


Ruger American 22-250

The 22-250 is considered by many to be the king of varmint cartridges and the Ruger American bolt-action rifle is a great platform to use alongside it. With a 22-inch 1:8 twist barrel, you can shoot some of the heavier .224 bullets to add some distance to your varmint hunting. Its lightweight and shorter barrel will make it quick to get on target.

The American features a tang mounted safety, an adjustable trigger, and a free-floated barrel. The latter two help give the American its accuracy potential and with the included scope base, you’ll have your scope mounted in no time. This Ruger weighs in at just over 6.5-pounds, making it ideal for hunts that require long hikes.


Get ready for this varmint hunting season, and try out one of these or the countless other great varmint hunting guns available at

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Categories: Gun News

Holding Class: Basics of Using Mossberg 500 & 590 Shotguns

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 02:09

Over 10 million Mossberg 500/590 series shotguns and their Maverick 88/Revelation 310 half-brothers have been produced since 1960 and the reliable design is effective and easy to use. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Firearm giant Mossberg recently released a series of basic instructional videos on their Model 500 and 590 pump-action shotguns including loading and unloading.

In the first video, Jeremy Stafford walks you through the common gun part nomenclature associated with the Mossberg 500/590. Stafford is a pro, being a Marine Vet and editor for Guns & Ammo among other qualifications on a lengthy CV, so he knows what he is talking about. As a side, the Maverick 88 and Western Auto’s former Revelation 310-branded series of budget scatterguns use the same action and overall design.

Remember, you have to start with the basics.

Next up, Stafford covers how to safely load and unload a Mossberg 500/590. Spoiler alert: if you unload one by working the pump-action, you are doing it incorrectly.

As noted by Mossberg, “After over 50 years and over 10 million and counting–and the only pump action to be declared MilSpec–the Mossberg 500 has proven to be one of the most versatile and reliable shotgun platforms available, offering a model to fit every application, and every user from our households, to law agencies, to military worldwide.”

When it comes to using the 500/590 series, or any shotgun for that matter, recoil is real but can be used to your advantage.

As can the proper stance.

Finally, if you have a question as to what type of shotgun load to use for personal defense, Stafford checks in on that in the below video.

Remember, these are just some basic tips and tricks so be sure to read your shotgun’s owner’s manual– which are available for free online download— and seek more advanced training moving forward.

Stay safe out there!


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Categories: Gun News

Can’t Find 9mm? Alternative Handgun Ammo That Escaped the Panic

Sun, 05/31/2020 - 23:47

In the past few years, many gun owners took the availability of cheap, effective, and reliable 9mm Luger ammo for granted. (Photo: Chris Eger/

With millions of 9mm pistols and carbines in circulation, and more being produced every day, it was a shock to find supplies of said parabellum ammo vanish in the lastest panic.

Without a doubt, popular handgun calibers like 9x19mm Luger, .38 Special, .357 Magnum, .380 ACP, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP sold out fast and, while the stocks are resurging as ammo makers scramble to meet demand while complying with state-mandated lockdowns and federal COVID-19 safety guidelines, they are nowhere near what they were earlier this year. Added to the coronavirus-inspired buying spree is a new wave of urban unrest while events like the 2020 hurricane season and the general election in November are on the horizon, ready to spark their waves of gun rushes.

With that being said, some may be curious as to what is left on the shelves, seemingly impervious to the ammo-hungry masses. While as a rule none of these cartridges are compatible with those popular calibers that are sold out– you should never use ammunition other than the type that is marked on the barrel of your firearm– that doesn’t mean they are not comparable. If nothing else, it gives some food for thought as to what may be left behind in the wake of future surges.

Here is a sampling.

Reaching back to yesteryear

Popular for generations, Colt Peacemakers and their myriad of clones are widely available– which means that both modern and down-loaded “cowboy” loads are also in circulations. Keep in mind that older guns designed for black powder should never be used with smokeless ammo. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Old school late-19th Century revolver rounds like .44-40 Winchester, .32 S&W Long and .45 Colt seem to still be available in a range of factory-fresh loadings. Typically seen in vintage cowboy guns, several manufacturers (looking at you, Ruger) make modern single-action wheel guns in these calibers as well, which has kept these cartridges in regular production. While they are seriously dated, 225-grains of copper metal jacket flat point often did the trick in the black powder days and could likely clock in today in a pinch.

Mr. Browning’s pocket pistol food

While it seems incredulous on this side of the pond, both .25 and .32 ACP were popular with law enforcement in Europe for a century, such as this Italian Carabinieri surplus Beretta 81. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Invented by famed firearms genius John Browning around the 1900s to feed various pocket pistols he had on the drawing board for Colt and FN, the .25ACP (6.35 Browning) and .32 Auto (7.65 Browning) were popular in their day but have increasingly been eclipsed by the .380 ACP and 9mm today. Nonetheless, there are thousands of old semi-autos from Colt, Browning, Beretta, Mauser, Walther, and others still floating around chambered in these calibers and to be sure, new production lilliputian pistols are still rolling out ready for these tiny sub-90-grain rounds. Gratefully, when it comes to self-defense loads, you have examples by Speer (Gold Dot) and Hornady (Critical Defense) that are upgraded from Mr. Browning’s original full-metal jacket designs. Best yet, fans of these calibers have not outstripped supply.

Dial-up the power

If you told someone a decade ago it would be easier to find 10mm Auto rather than 9mm Luger, they would never believe you. Welcome to 2020, baby. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Running a tad spicier than 9mm Luger, there are a host of handgun cartridges out there that are still often seen in stock. These include  .38 Super, 10mm Auto, high-end magnums that begin with “4” such as .41 and .44 Rem Mag, .454 Casul, similarly high-roller .500 S&W and .50 AE, and the downright zippy .357 Sig and .45 GAP. 

European oddballs

In the days where you may find it hard to keep your Glock G19 stoked, it could be easier to find ammo for your good old $200 Tok. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Typically seen in milsurp pistols and revolvers such as Lugers, Makarovs, Mausers, Nagants, Tokarevs, and some CZs, new manufactured ammo like .30 Luger, 7.62x25mm, 7.63x25mm, 7.65x.38mmR, and 9x18mm seem to be left on the shelf from European makers such as Fiocchi, PPU, Tula, and Wolf. There also seems to be a supply of 9x21mm IMI, typically seen in just a few Berettas and HKs to get around bans on 9mm Luger in some European countries, available as well.

Of course, the variety of these loads is limited, but what did you expect, 9mm Luger?


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Categories: Gun News