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Norma Ammunition Targets American Hunting Market

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 04:15

Norma ammo claimed this beautiful Red Hartebeest at almost 385 yards with one clean shot. (Photo: Stan Pate/


While names like Federal Premium, Hornady and Winchester dominate ammo shelves in the States, Norma is now quietly staking its claim on a share of the American market.

Norma has long quietly dominated in the hunting markets of Europe and Africa, boasting critical partnerships with Roy Weatherby as well as German-based Blaser. While traditionally European calibers are among the most popular, many American hunters are only now becoming aware of the company’s 2013 expansion of the US market and product distribution. What that means, in short, is greater ammunition options for American shooters, especially hunters.

While everything starts with accurate rifles, long guns must be fed quality ammunition in order to shine. Norma ammunition does just that. When I set out to hunt on the African plains, I packed Norma ammunition. Our professional hunter and team in Africa expressed great confidence in the European brand upon learning that was our preferred ammo for this trip.

Since its beginnings over 100 years ago in Oslo, Norway to current headquarters in Sweden, Norma has been continually evolving and expanding its reach. Current ownership falls to RUAG Ammotec, with more than 110 caliber offerings in the current catalog. This grants Norma ammunition for pretty much every caliber a hunter could ever need, including some more obscure options. While BondStrike is the hot new round on the block, the others are time-proven performers. Prices are right on par with other premium factory offerings.

I fired .30-06 BondStrike, 6.5 Creedmoor PH Scirocco II and .300 Win Mag PH Oryx while on Safari. That ammo accounted for 10 animals in Africa’s Northern Cape whilst out with Waterval Safaris.

Norma Bondstrike

A closer look at the new Norma BondStrike ammunition shows the polymer tipped projectile. We used 180-grain .30-06 BondStrike and it performed admirably on Plains game in Africa. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


With a blue polymer tip and match-grade, boat-tail bullet, the new BondStrike line is Norma’s answer to the call for extreme long-range hunting ammunition. I had the opportunity to use the brand new BondStrike in .30-06 Springfield on African Plains game through a Savage 110 Storm rifle. This ammo/bullet combination put animals down hard and quickly, though I was not able to recover any of the bullets due to pass-through shots. Our Norma BondStrike, partnered with a Savage 110 rifle and Bushnell optic, took a nice Nyala as well as a Springbok and Warthog.

The only complaint about BondStrike is that it’s in such high demand many popular calibers are not yet available. Current offerings include .308 Win, .30-06, .300 Win Mag, .300 WSM and .300 RUM, though more calibers are in the works for 2020 including 6.5 Creedmoor.

Norma Professional Hunter—Oryx

Our Savage rifles gobbled up the Norma ammo, allowing us to harvest some amazing animals on our hunt. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


The Professional Hunter line of ammo from Norma USA has been proven for years and our .300 Win Mag rounds make use of the equally proven Oryx bullets. Though there are numerous chamberings and projectile weights available, I used the .300 Win Mag 168-grain Oryx bullets on larger Plains Game in Africa with stellar results.

The Savage High Country in .300 Win Mag loved this ammunition, accounting for many of the larger plains game animals: Blue Wildebeest, Black Wildebeest, Kudu, Sable, and Roan Antelope at ranges from 75 to 375 yards. Likely due to the lightweight of the projectile most of the bullets fragmented with multiple pieces recovered from the animals.

Norma Professional Hunter—Scirocco II

A mix of the Oryx and Scirocco projectiles recovered from African Plains game on Alberts and Pate’s recent safari. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


I opted for the 6.5 Creedmoor rounds from Norma’s Professional Hunter line in large part because the BondStrike I hoped for was not yet in production. As it turns out, however, I couldn’t have asked for better performance from the Scirocco II rounds.

As the name suggests, our 6.5 Creedmoor rounds were tipped with 130-grain Scirocco II bullets. These Scirocco II’s feature a bonded lead core, a boat-tail base and polymer-tip, all with advertised 70-percent weight retention on medium-sized game. I harvested several warthogs, a zebra and Springbok while on Safari. With a well-placed shot, animals were cleanly harvested and I was able to recover several of the bullets.

Norma Rimfire

Stan Pate and I brought the best in gear along on the safari, and Norma was the ammunition of choice. Three different rifles chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, .30-06, and .300 Win Mag using Norma Professional Hunter Scirocco II, Oryx, and BondStrike, respectively. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Though the company is certainly known for its centerfire rifle ammunition, Norma has been making a splash in the American rimfire market. Though they produce multiple flavors of .22LR, it’s the .17HMR and .22 WMR that dominate.

There’s a big swing between big-game Safari ammunition and rimfire .17HMR rounds, but Norma has the gamut covered. Their ballistic tipped 17-grain bullets—loaded with Hornady V-Max projectiles– make excellent varmint and predator rounds. The advertised velocity of 2,560 FPS and performance out to 200-yards partnered with an MSRP of $12.79 makes them a must-try. Our Savage A17 semi-auto rifle loves them, running with both excellent reliability and accuracy.


Norma has been flying under the American radar far too long, but now, the secret that Europeans and others have known is out of the bag. As I reflect back on an incredibly successful and memorable safari, my confidence in Norma ammunition is off the charts as well. You can bet I’ll be looking for Norma on the shelves of outdoor retailers.

Be sure to peep our entire selection of ammunition at GUNS.COM.


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Categories: Gun News

Savage 110 Storm Takes on Plains Game in Africa

Tue, 11/05/2019 - 04:00

Savage Arms is putting out so many different variants of rifles on their 110 bolt driven action that it’s difficult to keep track. While the High Country tops our list of favorite hunting rifles, the new Storm offers many of the same features and performance with a more affordable price tag. Here’s what a wild African Safari taught us about the 110 Storm.

Meet the 110 Storm

Before going on any hunt, especially one halfway around the world, it’s critical to familiarize yourself with the rifle. Luckily, Savage’s Storm family of bolt action rifles are very much like the rest of the 110 lineup in terms of function. Like the High Country, it makes use of everything “Accu” meaning it’s outfitted with AccuFit, AccuStock and AccuTrigger.  The grey and black synthetic stock uses rubberized grip panels at both the pistol grip and forend, which clearly set apart the LOP spacers and comb adjustment shims. The Storm is unassuming with its grey and black synthetic furniture but Savage classes it up a bit with the matte stainless metalwork. The Storm caps off its design with a detachable dropbox magazine that holds four rounds.

The new 110 Storm is available in 17 calibers from .223 on up to .338 Win Mag, with all the common hunting calibers plus interesting additions like .280 Ackley Improved and 6.5×284 Norma. That means there’s something for every type of hunting. Barrels are either 22-inch or 24-inch depending on caliber. MSRP on the Storm regardless of chambering is $865 with real world prices closer to $650.

Range Time Before the Hunt

Our T&E rifle came chambered in .30-06 Spfld, which is a nice do-all caliber for everything from smaller animals to the larger Plains Game. To prepare for the hunt, we fired a mix of Norma BondStrike 180-grain, Federal Premium Edge TLR 175-grain, Hornady Precision Hunter 178-grain ELDx, and Hornady American Whitetail 150-grain. The rifle was shooting MOA at 100-yards from the bench with each of the ammunition offerings. The best three-shot, hundred-yard groups measured 0.78-inch with Federal Premium and 0.92-inch with Norma BondStrike. The best range time, however, was not here in the states, but rather, on a red-sandy makeshift range on the African Veld. No hunting takes place until hunters prove proficiency with their chosen weapons and ammunition. Though the Storm does not have the spiral fluted bolt and barrel, nor the threaded muzzle of the High Country, it nonetheless shoots and performs like a rifle twice its price. The action is smooth, and the three-position tang safety is a nice addition.

Accuracy is the name of the game for all these new Savage 110 variants, driven by the user-adjustable AccuTrigger, AccuStock, and of course, the customizable AccuFit system allowing users to swap out both comb and LOP shims for the perfect fit. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Like many of the new 110 Savage rifle variants, the Storm makes use of the AccuTrigger, AccuStock bedding system, and incredibly popular AccuFit adjustable stock. The user-adjustable AccuTrigger is a must-have with our test rifle’s trigger breaking just over 3.75-pounds on a Lyman Digital Pull Gauge, with ample adjustment room. The AccuFit stock system of interchangeable comb height risers and LOP spacers allows all shooters from youth up to adults to fit the very same rifle to themselves in a matter of minutes. The importance of such a customizable system really showed itself on our African Safari as I shared the rifle with my hunting partner Stan Pate. Swapping out both LOP and comb height spacers takes only a few moments—even in the field–and allowed us both to shoot the same rifle well and comfortably.

The Hunting Test

The true test of any rifle or gear performance comes in the field, in this case, the Northern Cape of South Africa. With both a Savage High Country and Storm, we set out after Plains Game and were blessed to harvest 16 beautiful animals between us. At 7.45-pounds empty, the Storm proved adequate for semi-mobile hunters who prefer to spot and stalk much more than hunting from the elevated “Bakkie” hunting vehicles.

Stan Pate used the Savage 110 Storm to take this beautiful Nyala in South Africa. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Stalking got us into close range on several of the game animals, and that’s where the quiet-moving safety showed its importance. Moving silently through its three positions, this construction allowed the bolt to be opened without putting the rifle into full battery. Pate used our shared Storm rifle to take down a trophy Nyala with one shot using the Norma BondStrike ammunition, while I used the same combination on both Warthog and Springbok. That kind of reliability takes one major variable out of the equation. It’s not every day we get to test a new gun on the hunt, in this case, hunting results speak greater volumes than rounds sent down the shooting range.


If neither the 110 Storm of the 110 High Country trip your trigger—or your budget—there are dozens of other options and configurations. Rifles like the 110 Bear Hunter, Predator, and Long Range Hunter all use different finishes, features, barrel lengths, and calibers with the same accurate end results as long as the shooter does their part.


The AccuFit stock system really shined in Africa.(Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Hunting with Savage rifles, especially one like the 110 Storm, just goes to show that hunters don’t need an expensive double or a custom-built rifle for life’s grand adventures. While many hunters will appreciate the higher-end features on the High County, the sibling Storm is a do-all rifle that more than held its own in the dust, heat, and harsh conditions of Africa’s Northern Cape.

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Categories: Gun News

A Newbies’ Guide to Rifle Optics: Scopes, Red Dots and Everything In Between

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 04:15

One of the most exciting parts of a new rifle is setting it up and customizing it to your liking, but before you start on your buying adventure it’s key to know the difference between optics and what purpose each serves.

Whenever I am outfitting a new rifle with new optics, I have two major criteria. The first one is the obvious – application. What is the rifle to be used for? What kind of distance and precision are required? What kind of shooting entails? For example, shooting high-speed drills at 50-yards in a 3-Gun match is quite different than shooting a rutting bull on a crimson ridgeline during a fall elk hunt. The second criteria revolves around budget. We are spoiled for choice here with countless options ranging from wallet-friendly glass all the way up to world-class precision optics. Matching your must-have features with cost will narrow down those options.

Once you’ve defined those parameters, the searching for the perfect optical match to your gun begins.

Telescopic Sight

The Nikon Buckmasters scope

The most common and traditional, the basic riflescope is available in a wide array of models – so many models, in fact, it’s impossible to name them all within the confines of one article. We’ll hit the high notes though. Riflescopes are categorized typically by their size and magnification. For example, the Nikon Buckmasters 3-9×40mm is a basic variable power scope with “3-9” representing magnification range while “40” denotes the size of the objective lens. Variable power magnifying optics grant shooters the option of up-close viewing or wide and bright fields of view.

Another important number to consider is tube size. Most scopes are either 1-inch diameter or 30mm, though there is a growing number of 34mm scope tubes. Larger scope tubes generally allow for increased internal travel – perfect for long-range shooting. This is where the application plays a part. Hunters looking to take squirrels at no more than 100-yards will find a 1-inch tube scope with a power level between 4 and 15 a great candidate for this task due to the short distance. Whereas, if a shooter is pinging steel targets at 1-kilometer, a 30-34mm tube scope with a higher power range, such as between 6 and 25, will permit viewing of distant targets clearly. It also allows the shooter to make needed corrections to bring shots on target.

When selecting a telescopic sight, it’s imperative to get the best quality within your budget. Also, properly mount the scope to the rifle as this directly impacts success on targets.

Red Dot Sights

The Burris Fastfire III, top left, and AR332 both fall under the red dot category.

Red Dot sights use lower magnification and can be incorporated into lower magnification telescopic sights. This type of optic comes either battery-powered or utilizes other sources of light such as fiber optics or luminescent materials. Despite its construction, all red dots provide the same sighting presentation — an illuminated, adjustable dot delivering precise aiming capabilities. Though it uses the “red” moniker, the dot doesn’t have to be that color. Some may appear green or adopt other colors.

These sights are popular options for short-range shooting due to the dot’s ability to been seen in both peripheral vision direct focus. Non-magnifying red dot sights typically appear on pistols, carbines and shorter-range rifles. There are several kinds of red dots to include holographic sights, reflex sights and prism sights.

Holographic Sight

The EOTech XPS2 qualifies as a holographic sight.

Holographic sights are precise non-magnifying optical sights that use a laser to project a fine reticle in a glass viewer. Battery-powered, they usually come with adjustable brightness settings. Holographic sights offer shooters faster acquisition than standard red dots because it allows the eye to focus on the target and the reticle simultaneously. Additionally, many holographic sights offer a larger view window which helps when shooting. Due to their patented technology and market demand, these optics, like the EOTech XPS2, are typically more expensive.

Prism Sights

The Burris AR332 is a prime example of a prism optic.

Another optic that falls under the red dot catch-all is the prism sight. This type of optic is a compact device that uses a prism to magnify the image. Much like the telescopic sight, it can be adjusted to correct elevation and windage. Due to the compact prism used internally, prism sights are much smaller than telescopic sights.

Prism sights usually offer a fixed magnification, typically towards the lower end of the power spectrum. The prism magnification also gives shorter eye relief than telescopic sights, requiring shooters to mount the optic much closer to be used properly.

Reflex Sights

The Trijicon RMR offers a reflex design.

Reflex sights are some of the most popular red dot styles and the most readily available. Reflex sights operate in a similar manner as a mirror. An image of the dot or reticle is projected from one side of the lens, resulting in the reflection displaying in the window. Reflex sights, like the Trijicon RMR, offer the shooter an easily identifiable aim point. Reflex sights don’t magnify the image; therefore, they are commonly used on short-range firearms and grant shooters the ability to easily hop on target.

Physically, reflex sights often opt for an elevated window instead of a tube shape. These devices are less complicated than holographic sights and, as such, tend to be more affordable.

Iron Sights

The absolute co-witness allows for iron sight backup in the event of electronic failure and is easy to set up. (Photo: Frank Melloni)

In addition to telescopic or red dot style models, good ‘ole iron sights never go out of style. In fact, you can even use them in conjunction with other rifle optics. Iron sights can be aligned to co-witness with your optical sight or they can function as a backup should the primary optic fail. Iron sights are available in as many configurations as you can imagine — flip-ups, off-set, adjustable or fixed – and at various price points.

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Categories: Gun News

Sig Sauer Tango 4 Takes on the Tango 6

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 04:00

The Sig Sauer Tango 4 closely mounted to this Tikka T3 makes a great hunting option. (Photo: Jeff Wood/


When a company like Sig Sauer jumps into the optics market, gun owners take notice – as they should. Geared towards precision, long-range shooters as well as hunters and tactical marksman, the gun maker turned gun and gear manufacturer looks to corner the market with the Tango line of optics.

Variety is the spice of life, so I got my hands on two scopes in Sig Sauer’s series – the Tango 4 and Tango 6 – to compare and contrast these sibling optics.


The Sig Sauer Tango 6 5-30X56 is a great companion to this 6.5 Creedmoor Desert Tech MDR. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

For starters, let’s looks at the features they share. All Tango series scopes feature Sig Sauer’s HDX coated lenses for optimal light transfer. Both scopes also opt for a waterproof profile, Lock-Down turrets and one free laser-etched turret that is matched to your custom load data and atmospheric conditions.

Both the T4 and T6 are Front Focal Plane (FFP) optics, meaning the reticle is placed after the magnifier inside the scope. This construction allows the reticle to grow and shrink with the magnification setting. I prefer this configuration as it makes reticle usage more uniform, regardless of the power ring setting.

Additionally, the scopes are available with the MRAD/MOA milling reticle, or the MRAD/MOA DEV-L reticle, for those that prefer one system over the other. The T4 and T6 also have the available MOTAC, or Motion Activated Illumination, that initiates when motion is detected and shuts off when motionless.

Where the T4 and T6 part ways in terms of differences largely come down to where shooters are ultimately going to focus their efforts. The T4 is a 4X scope while the T6 is a 6X; therefore, the T6 allows a wider choice of magnification from 5X all the way up to 30X. The T6 also boasts a larger diameter tube. Its 34MM tube allows the T6 a greater internal adjustment range with 12 MRAD (30 MOA) per revolution of the turret. The slightly smaller T4 has a 10 MRAD (25 MOA) of adjustment per revolution of the turret. The 4X magnification on the T4 also gives it a shorter magnification range of 4-14. Depending on your application these varying ranges of adjustment may ultimately make your choice for you.

In addition to the obvious magnification range, the T6 also features Sig’s Level-Plex anti-cant system — a digital system that uses internal sensors to tell you whether the scope is level or not. When engaged, by pushing the outer end of the parallax turret, there are two small illuminated arrows visible through the reticle. Simply adjust the cant of your rifle following the indicators until they go dark alerting you that the rifle is level. It is a simple and quick system.

On the Range

Adjusting elevation on the Tango 4. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

On paper, both scopes look solid but shooting the Tango 4 4-16X44 and Tango 6 5-30X56 made me like them even more. The overall clarity of both scopes was good while bright images made target acquisition and spotting a piece of cake. Whether in the bright midday sun or the waning light of evening, I found the scopes presented more than a satisfactory image.

When shooting groups, I really appreciated the 30-power magnification of the T6 along with the DEV-L reticle which provided precise measurements for both corrections and wind holds. The simpler MRAD Milling reticle in the T4 was also very useful for those who might want a reticle that isn’t quite so busy. Though some rifle shooters strive for that higher magnification, I found the lower magnification of the T4 made it a great option for my hunting rifle as it is lighter, smaller, and easier to quickly bring on target.

The process of zeroing the scopes and setting the zero stop was simple, quick and effective. In no time, I had them zeroed, dialing them up and down for distant shots. The Level-Plex system on the T6 proved to be handy in the field with a simple push of a button to engage. I never had to take my eye off the target. The locking turrets are also a bonus to the Tango platform. Raising them unlocks the turret for smooth rotation and once set you can push them back down to lock them in place avoiding accidental adjustments.

Despite its solid design, I do have a couple of slight gripes with the turret which slides up and down. It seems to only be a problem when the turret is raised and not fully supported. To me, it feels as if could easily be broken if struck while in the up/unlocked position. In the locked or down position, it feels sturdy. The only other gripe I have is likely a simple defect that is easily repaired. The two fiber optic illuminators that indicate the setting on the power ring seemed to be poorly mounted on my T6. One of them came out and was lost. Not a huge ordeal but something worth noting.


Turret detail on the Tango 6, parallax adjustment, Level-Plex, elevation, and magnification all clearly marked. (Photo: Jeff Wood/

Bottom line: both Sig Sauer Tango optics are fantastic scopes. Sig Sauer Electro-Optics took great care in every little feature creating purpose-built rifles for serious gun owners. With an unlimited lifetime warranty, you can confidently put one of these scopes to work today.

The Tango 4 and 6 are available in two different price brackets, allowing consumers to choose the one that best fits within your budget. The T4 at its $719.99 MSRP is a great competitor for the sub $1,000 FFP Milling reticle scope market. I think it would compete very well against any scope in that group. The larger and much more expensive T6, starting at $2,999, would likely stack up against any scope in the $3,000 to $4,000 dollar range.

To check out these scopes or others, head over to to see our full inventory of optics.

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Categories: Gun News

Bloomberg Anti-Gun Group Pumps $2.5M into Virginia Election

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 02:12

Groups backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have been trying to flip control of the Virginia legislature to a “gun sense majority” for a decade, with the latest chapter in the campaign ending with Tuesday’s polls. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The national gun control group Everytown is the largest outside contributor to campaigns for this week’s state elections in Virginia.

The group last week detailed that their extensive spending in the Old Dominion state has now topped $2.5 million, a record for the organization. The self-avowed intent of the Bloomberg-funded group is to flip the polarity of Virginia’s General Assembly to Democrat, a feat that will require at least two seats to be wrested from Republican control in each chamber. This, as Everytown puts it, will shift the body to a “gun sense majority.”

What would such a majority pursue when it comes to new restrictions on guns?

Earlier this year, Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, announced a legislative agenda that included universal background checks, rationing handgun sales to one per month, so-called “red flag” seizure programs and bans on “assault weapons, high-capacity magazines, bump stocks and silencers.” Most of the proposals have been repeatedly shot down by Republican-controlled committees in past regular sessions and this year’s effort by Northam met the same fate. If presented with the hat trick of single-party control over both chambers of the General Assembly as well as the Governor’s Mansion, the results for similar legislation in 2020 could be much different.

The latest move is not the first time the gun control groups have gotten involved in state politics in Virginia. Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who Northam replaced, came to office in part due to $1.1 million in donations from one of then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s PAC, even before Everytown existed. Prior to that, Bloomberg gave $25,000 to each of the six pro-gun control Democrats running for the Virginia State Senate in 2011.

Voters head to the polls in Virginia on Tuesday.

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Categories: Gun News

Calling in the Trooper: Legendary Colt Wheel Gun

Mon, 11/04/2019 - 00:02

The Colt Trooper, as exemplified by this superb model in .357 with a circa 1967 serial number currently looking for a home in our Vault, was a dependable revolver that lived in the shadow of its flashier Python big brother.


Colt’s medium-framed double-action Trooper was a treasured workhorse in the company’s stable for over 30 years.

Whereas the vaunted “I” frame Colt Python ran closer to the price of a show horse, the Trooper was a more affordable offering in the gunmaker’s catalog when it first appeared in 1953. Offered in .22LR, .38 Special and .357 Magnum, the Trooper had an MSRP at the time of about $70 which, although adjusted for today’s dollars is about $700, was a bargain when you consider the more upscale Python of the day, seen as the Cadillac of wheelguns, would be listed in 1955 for $125 — about three weeks pay at a time when the price of a gallon of gasoline was 23 cents.

The Colt Trooper was based on the “E” frame revolvers which first appeared in the 1900s. As such, it was a transition from old to new in many aspects (Photo: Richard Taylor/

Still, a prospective Trooper buyer got a lot of bang for the buck. Pitched as an “ideal gun for home protection, for hunters and outdoorsmen who want a dependable firearm of high precision,” the rugged wheel gun was built initially on a modified “E” frame equipped with Colt’s Accro adjustable rear and “quick draw” ramped front sights, checkered walnut medallion grips and options that included either a factory nickel of Duo Tone blue finish as well as either a 4-inch or 6-inch barrel in the larger calibers. For those willing to spring for an extra $8 bucks, you could get a Trooper with a wide hammer spur and target grips.

The Trooper used a walnut grip with a square butt and “prancing pony” medallions. The 1967 model we have in stock sports a service-style grip without checkering. (Photo: Richard Taylor/

The standard Trooper also proved popular with law enforcement, especially with agencies looking for a deal. Heck, even the fictional T.J. Hooker carried a Trooper, albeit a later model.

While it, by and large, shared the same internals as the Python, the Trooper had a more basic finish with less polish and lacked the tuned action and full-lug vent-ribbed barrel. Nonetheless, it was a solid, no-frills design that was multi-purpose, accurate and a good deal more affordable.

The Colt Trooper replaced the Colt Three Fifty Seven in the company’s catalog. Can you guess what caliber that was? (Photo: Richard Taylor/

When using a 4-inch barrel, the Trooper was no slouch, still tipping the scales at 34-ounces in weight. The 6-inch .357 ran closer to 40-ounces.

The standard Trooper model remained in production through 1969 when it was replaced with the Trooper Mark III, which had walnut target grips, options for an 8-inch barrel or chamberings in .22 Magnum, and a redesigned lock work that was machine-fitted on Colt’s new “J” frame.

This Trooper Mark III, available through one of our affiliate shops, dates from 1972 and is in excellent condition.

The Mark III remained in production through 1983 when the Trooper Mark V, which was only offered in .357 Magnum, supplemented it in Colt’s catalog. However, the Mark V was short-lived, as the Trooper line closed out for good in 1986. Today about the closest thing to the gun in Colt’s current lineup is the .357 King Cobra which, while a fine revolver, lacks the collectibility of the more old-school Trooper.


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Categories: Gun News

Best Rifles for Varmint Hunting

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 08:00

What defines a varmint rifle? The most popular are often bolt actions for their track record of reliability and pinpoint accuracy, though levers and even modern sporting rifles are building a following as well. While there are many solid options in varmint hunting rifles, the following are not only some of our favorites for everything from prairie dogs to coyotes, but all are well proven and guarantee to leave hunters happy in the field.

Savage 110 Predator

The Savage 110 Predator is one of many 110 models available from Savage.


The Savage 110 Predator and the new 110 models, in general, are some of our favorite bolt action hunting rifles — period, not just varmint-specific.  They feature “Accu”-everything—AccuTrigger, AccuStock and AccuFit systems. These rifles fit, shoot, and look good doing it. The 24-inch heavy barrels are fluted and threaded, while dropbox magazines allow quick reloads. The adjustable AccuTrigger is a dream.

Calibers run the gamut from the smallest vermin to the larger predators: .204 Ruger, .22-250 Rem, .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem and .308 Win.  Accuracy matches that of custom-grade rifles in a factory-production gun.

Howa 1500

Howa 1500 Hogue Varminter has it all it the name.


The Howa Model 1500 from Legacy Sports International is pretty well underrated, with very capable accuracy for a reasonable price.  The bolt guns in this series are available in a slick range of calibers ideal for varminters, from .223 on up.  Further, the 1500 action comes in a variety of configurations and stocks, like the Axiom chassis-style or Hogue furniture.

GameKing scoped packages are sweet, and for winter hunters, the SnowKing is even better with its Kryptek Yeti camo paired with a like-coated Nikko Stirling optic. Take the Howa’s right out of the box and into the field, with a short stop on the range, of course.

Henry Long Ranger

Henry Long Ranger offers a classic aesthetic.


Few varmint and predator hunters think of lever-action rifles, but the times are changing. When Henry introduced the Long Ranger lever-action rifle in .223, .243 and .308, hunters were quick to embrace the platform for big game. With the addition of the 6.5 Creedmoor chambering this year, the hot just got hotter. While the bigger calibers are fine, either the .223 or .243 Long Rangers make ideal varmint rifles with their five or four round capacity, respectively. Best of all, every Henry is “Made in America or not Made at All.”

Those desiring lever-action small game and vermin-slayers in the rimfire family will adore the other offerings from Henry Repeating Arms. While any of the rimfires will do, give the Henry Varmint Express a try in .17HMR. Its Monte Carlo stock is ideal for scoped hunting, though the included fiber optic Williams Fire Sights are sweet, too. Henry brings a modern flair to old-school lever varmint hunting.

Mossberg MVP Predator

Mossberg MVP Predator comes in a variety of calibers.


The made-in-America Mossberg MVP Predator bolt action rifles were obviously built specifically with such hunters in mind. Calibers include 5.56/.223, .224 Valkyrie, 6.5 Creedmoor and .762/.308. Barrels run 18-20-inch bull weight, threaded and fluted. Laminate stocks make them durable in harsh conditions, while 10+1 round capacity means plenty of firepower on shifty predators. One of the coolest features is the MVP Predator’s ability to feed from any standard AR-15/AR-10 magazine.

One needn’t even opt for Mossberg’s varmint-specific model. In fact, any of the Patriot line of rifles, which are an incredible value for the price, will be accurate and devastating on varmints. Choose a caliber like .22-250 Rem, .224 Valkyrie or .243 Win and get you some fur. If a little heavier caliber is desired, Mossberg’s Patriot Predator amps up to .450 Bushmaster.

Savage MSR

Savage’s series of MSRs easily transition into the hunting realm.


While most any semi-automatic, modern sporting rifle platform will get the job done just fine on varmints and predators, we love Savage’s MSR family of rifles for their combination of superior features and available calibers. Whether hunters want a plain old 5.56/.223, 7.62 /.308, or prefer to step-up to something newer and more exciting like 6.5 Creedmoor or .224 Valkyrie, the American-made MSR’s have things covered.  Best of all, they are reliable and accurate, a necessary combination for hardcore varminters.

Final Thoughts

It’s difficult to nail down a single AR-platform brand for varmint hunters, with so many great options.  Honorable mention here to Nosler’s Varmaggedon rifle in .22 Nosler. Built in Oregon by Noveske, they exude both cool-factor and long-range hunting accuracy. In addition, any of the CMMG Mk3 or Mk4 rifles in calibers like .5.56/.223, .22 Nosler, .224 Valkyrie, or even the bigger hitters will be sure to please.

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Categories: Gun News

The Guns of Terminator: Dark Fate

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 04:16

The sixth installment in the now 35-year-old Terminator franchise has a few familiar faces and a big update when it comes to the guns used.

Returning from the 1984 original is Schwarzenegger as the near-indestructible time-traveling cyborg assassin with an Austrian accent, Linda Hamilton as Sarah Connor, and James Cameron who wrote and directed the first movie. This time around, Cameron is producing while Tim Miller, the director of Dead Pool, is at the wheel.

Gone is the rad Reagan-era hardware like the Franchi SPAS-12 shotgun, AMT Hardballer Longslide and Ithaca 37. Sadly, while the long-teased “phased plasma rifle in 40 watt range” doesn’t appear in the released footage of Dark Fate, we do see Ahhnold break lose some 5.56mm face love on a fancy new shapeshifting Terminator Rev-9 model with a Beretta ARX-160 while Connor pinch hits with a more vanilla M4, both select-fire, of course.

Speaking of Connor, who is back and way more growly than before, she is shown with a Chiappa Rhino revolver off and on in previews, for those times when she has already lit off her single-shot M72 LAW (a bunker buster that is way more impressive on film than in real life) and doesn’t feel like going for the crowd-pleasing Serbu Super Shorty.

Did you know the Chiappa Rhino 50DS is California compliant? Did you also know they are $989 in stock today?

And because interesting shotguns and Terminator movies go together like the late great Bill Paxton and blue spiked hair, Connor also sports a Fostech Origin-12 prominently.

Speaking of shotguns, a Standard Manufacturing DP-12 also pops up. The pump-action double-barreled 12 runs seven 2.75-inch shells in each of its twin magazines, giving the user a 14-roundl capacity. It is shown being used by Dani Ramos, a new character.

DP-12s aren’t cheap, but they are in stock.

For sure, there are some guns we missed as we are just going by the previews, but Dark Fate opens this weekend and initial audience reviews are pretty fresh so we’ll likely check it out and update this rundown if we spot anything else cool.

In other words (wait for it)…

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Categories: Gun News

Ammo Showdown: Sig Sauer 365 JHP vs. Hornady Critical Defense

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 04:15 puts Sig Sauer’s 365 JHP against Hornady’s Critical Defense to see which comes out on top. (Photo: Josh Wayner/


The Sig Sauer 365 JHP goes toe-to-toe with the Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense for the title of best self-defense 9mm ammunition. As both are solid contenders in the personal defense realm which one takes home the gold?

A Little History

Sig Sauer 365 ammo on the left and Hornady Critical Defense on the right. (Photo: Josh Wayner/

Both the Sig Sauer 365 JHP and Hornady Critical Defense loads are designed to fill the same general niche in the concealed carry market. They are both designed around compact self-defense guns but are equally at home in standard size pistols. Hornady has been well established on the ammunition scene for decades and has been responsible for some of the major advances in ammunition seen in recent years. The Critical Defense line revolutionized concealed carry ammo due to its FTX tip, which does not clog or allow the bullet to fill with clothing or debris.

Sig Sauer, on the other hand, is a new player in the ammunition scene. They have done a great deal to expand into the ammo market, releasing some interesting products. The 365 ammo was designed primarily to be used in conjunction with Sig’s P365 line of micro-compact, high capacity self-defense pistols. The bullet construction and velocity are meant to work in conjunction to deliver performance in small guns with the V-Crown bullet offering a traditional jacketed hollow point.


Both the Sig Sauer and Hornady ammo provide a steel, 9mm design. (Photo: Josh Wayner/

To remove any perceived bias from the review, I chose to shoot both ammunition from a Glock 19X — instead of potentially swaying any results by using the Sig Sauer P365. The Glock 19X brings a reliable, well-balanced and accurate design to pistol shooting. To measure accuracy, the Glock 19X was placed in a rest at 15-yards. I shot five, five-shot groups with both the Hornady Critical Defense and Sig Sauer 365. The test was then moved to steel plates at various distances out to 25-yards.

On paper, the 365 load delivered an average group size of 1.75-inches with the smallest grouping measuring 1.25-inches and the largest grouping coming in at 2.2-inches. When it came to steel plates, the ammunition was accurate, though it required a slight hold to the right of center.

The Critical Defense load produced an average group size of 1.2-inches with the smallest grouping at 1-inch and the largest group measuring 1.85-inches. Overall, this load pretty much shot to an inch for all practical purposes. When it came to shooting plates, this load shot centered, but slightly low. At 25-yards on plates, the bullets impacted inside the front sight, meaning that the target was obscured during firing.

Winner: Hornady


Sig Sauer expansion on the left and Hornady expansion on the right. (Photo: Josh Wayner/

To test velocity, I fired both loads over an Oehler 35P chronograph. Velocity equates to the average of 20 rounds fired at 5-feet from the chronograph. The Sig 365 ammunition averaged 1,176- feet-per-second. Hornady came in at 1,161-feet-per-second. The velocity was essentially identical for both rounds.

Winner: Tie

Recoil & Handling

Neither of these rounds is rated as +P, so both offered mild recoil. Stacked up against each other, the Sig 365 loads brought a snappier feel while the Hornady round delivered a smoother recoil. Though the Hornady load was smoother, the 365 rounds didn’t experience violent recoil. It was simply a matter of the more sudden slide cycling. While every gun handles a bit differently in terms of recoil, the clear edge went to Hornady.

As far as handling, the Critical Defense won on the merit that the smoother recoil impulse allowed for more concentrated and faster follow-up shots with less interruption. This is not to say the Sig 365 is a bad choice, as it performed very closely overall, but the Hornady rounds edged out Sig 365 ever so slightly. It’s worth noting that neither brand reliability suffered a single failure to feed or fire.

Winner: Hornady

Gel Performance

To test the ammo, we paired the rounds with the reliable Glock 19X. (Photo: Josh Wayner/

Using Clear Ballistics gel, the Glock 19X fired five shots of each load into the gel from a self-defense distance of 3-yards. The Sig 365 averaged a five-shot penetration depth of 13.8-inches in bare gelatin. All of the recovered bullets showed perfect expansion and were uniform. The deepest penetration measured 15-inches and the shallowest measured 12.5-inches.

The Critical Defense achieved excellent performance as well with all five shots penetrating to within an inch of the same depth at 14.75-inches. All the bullets retained their plastic inserts until they came to rest. The expansion was quite uniform, but not quite as uniform as the 365.

Winner: Tie


This is a pretty close call because these two loads performed in a very similar fashion. I found that, for the most part, they were equal in terms of end-use; but just narrowly beating out the Sig 365, the Hornady Critical Defense wins overall due to its handling and smoother recoil impulse. That being said, you can’t go wrong with either of these loads.

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Categories: Gun News

4 Optics Perfect for Varmint and Small Game Hunting

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 04:00

Small game hunting often requires precision, and for that varmint hunters need a good scope. Choosing a rimfire scope may seem daunting as there are a variety of models to choose but we at pulled together four options to remove the guesswork.

Sig Sauer Whiskey, Tango Series

The Sig Sauer Whiskey scope brings quality glass to hunters who want to use the scope on multiple platforms.

Precision rifle shooters often opt for rimfire rifles during practice sessions to brush up on those fundamentals without breaking the bank and Sig Sauer offers a range of scope models designed to move seamlessly between platforms. The Tango and Whiskey series by Sig Sauer deliver ballistic reticle and magnification options in addition to sporting quality glass with a clear field of view.

Hits: Great scope value, ballistic reticle options, solid turret clicks, clear glass to the edges of the lens
Misses: Some reticles tend to be a little heavy for finer target work, scope too hefty on some models

MSRP: Whiskey 3 Series $114.99 to $289.99, Tango 4 Series $499.99 to $799.99

Burris Fullfield

The Fullfield is one of Burris’ earliest designs and most battle-proven.

Based out of Colorado, this US company has been an innovator in the optics industry with 40 years of optical witchcraft and engineering. One of their most successful scopes to date is the Fullfield. Introduced in 1975, the Fullfield was the first to use a multicoated lens to help with low light transmission. Now offered in a variety of models, including the Fullfield E1 and Fullfield II, the series delivers a ballistic reticle for accurate holdovers. Other models of interest outside of the Fullfield domain include the Droptine, MSR, and Predator. Though mostly marketed for high powered rifles for large game hunting, Burris provides great mid-range scopes that can be used on any coveted rimfire.

Hits: American company, quality glass for value, solid click values on the turrets
Misses: Fuzziness at the lens edge at full power on some models

MSRP: $189.00 to $379.00

Nikon Buckmaster II Series

The Nikon Buckmaster series offers longevity and durability. (Photo: Jeromy Knepp/

Nikon’s Buckmaster II series offers a solid scope for calibers ranging from 22LR to 300 Winchester Short Magnum. Using clear glass, the Buckmaster opts for repeatable, covered turrets. Nikon also offers this optic with a Bullet Drop Compensating reticle or BDC. The Nikon Buckmaster II series delivers longevity, clarity and quality customer service to owners.

Hits: BDC reticle, repeatable turrets, clarity of glass at any power, customer service
Misses: Nikon should bring back the parallax adjustment to this line of scopes

MSRP: $129.95 to $159.95

BSA Sweet Series

The BSA Sweet is an affordable model perfect for varminters watching their wallets. (Photo: Jeromy Knepp/

BSA might cause some head-scratching from discerning scope aficionados but for those cost-conscious consumers looking for a quick fix for rimfire rifles, the BSA Sweet delivers decent power range options, bullet drop compensated turrets and parallax adjustments. For small bore rimfire use, the BSA is a winner.

Hits: Wide power range, screw-in scope covers on some models, bullet drop compensating dials 
Misses: Edge of glass fuzzy at max power, spongy feel to turrets, lack of elevation for flat base mounting over 200-yards

MSRP: $61.99 to $153.99

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Categories: Gun News

Oklahoma Begins Constitutional Carry Despite Push by Anti-Gun Groups

Fri, 11/01/2019 - 02:39

Oklahoma lawmakers this year approved HB 2597 with broad bipartisan support, passing on a 70-30 vote in the state House and 40-6 in the Senate, before earning the Governor’s signature. Taking effect on Friday, the law has already withstood several attempts by anti-gun advocates to derail it. (Photo: Chris Eger/

Beginning Friday, concealed carry permits will be optional for adults in Oklahoma who can legally possess firearms.

In February, Oklahoma Republican Gov. Kevin Stitt signed HB 2597, upholding a campaign promise made last year. The measure leaves the state’s current concealed carry licensing program intact while recognizing that an adult aged 21 and up and is lawfully able to possess a gun can carry one concealed without such a permit. It also allows military service members at least 18 years of age to carry. The law will become effective Nov. 1 after shrugging off a legal challenge that made it all the way to the state Supreme Court and a petition drive backed by Moms Demand Action.

“After 112 years, constitutional carry returns the fundamental right to self-defense to every law-abiding Oklahoman,” said Don Spencer, president, Oklahoma Second Amendment Association, in a statement. “By eliminating financial barriers imposed by government permitting schemes, constitutional carry ensures that law-abiding, but economically disadvantaged Oklahomans can always protect themselves in times of crisis.”

Despite contention by the advocates against constitutional carry that firearm-related deaths will rise in Oklahoma under the new law, there is little to suggest that states, where similar policies have been adopted, have witnessed such a phenomenon. In fact, just the opposite has been witnessed.

According to data from FBI Uniform Crime Reports, Arizona, a state which adopted permitless carry in 2010, saw homicide rates decline from 6.4 per 100,000 to 5.1 by 2018. Mississippi, which adopted permitless carry in 2016, saw homicide rates fall last year to the lowest numbers in decades. Three of the four states with the lowest murder rates in 2018 are all constitutional carry states.

At least 16 states now recognize some form of permitless concealed carry.

BREAKING: Bloomberg’s anti-gun group FAILED to stop constitutional carry from going into effect in Oklahoma.

The NYC billionaire tried 3 last-ditch efforts to restrict the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Rightfully, the courts ruled in favor of freedom.

— NRA (@NRA) October 31, 2019

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Categories: Gun News

The Old School Ruger Mini-14 Side Folding Stock is Coming Back!

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 23:56

The Ruger Mini-14 Side Folding Stock by Samson Mfg. is almost exactly the same as the original dating back to the seventies and eighties. (Photo: Samson Mfg.)

Accessory maker Samson Mfg. is releasing an almost exact replica of the original Ruger Mini-14 Side Folding Stock from the seventies and eighties.

The author’s Ruger Mini-14 with an original Side Folding Stock that he bought for $200. (Photo: Ben Philippi /

I was lucky enough to buy an original Side Folding Stock last year from a guy for $200. I don’t think he knew what it was worth. People are buying them for upwards of $850, which is crazy considering they were a $40 upgrade when the rifle first launched in 1973.

After buying my stock, I promptly put it on a 580 series stainless steel Ruger Mini-14. It fit perfectly, and I think it is one of the best looking retro-rifles you can own.

Samson Mfg. has been working on the stock for the last year. They expect it to hit the markets in early 2020. I spoke to Dave Biggers, the Director of Sales & Marketing at Samson. He told me that they’ve been working in close conjunction with Ruger, using all the original molds and materials including walnut wood. Judging from the photos, it looks legit.

The Ruger Mini-14 Side Folding Stock by Samson Mfg. is almost exactly the same as the original dating back to the seventies and eighties. (Photo: Samson Mfg.)

The only difference will be the handle. The original grips were made out of bakelite. According to Biggers, bakelite is hard to find these days. “So, we’re using very durable plastic instead. It will be stronger than bakelite. The grip will be the same shape, size, and texture. The only difference is that it will be a little less shiny than the original,” he said.

Currently, Samson Mfg. is only going to manufacture the stainless steel model of the stock. Ruger made a blued-steel model back in the day. Samson may make that in the future. They’re also considering making a similar side folding stock for the Ruger 10/22.

The Ruger Mini-14 Side Folding Stock by Samson Mfg. is almost exactly the same as the original dating back to the seventies and eighties. (Photo: Samson Mfg.)

By now you’re probably wondering how much it’s going to cost. Don’t forget, original folding stocks are going for upwards of $850. Biggers told me they will retail for less than $300!!

What makes this even more exciting is that Ruger released a bunch of new Tactical Mini-14s. They will look stunning with the old school stocks. I can’t wait to get one.

Very exciting stuff. As always, will keep you updated.


Check out the video below that I made last year about my friend’s Ruger AC-556 machine gun with a Side Folding Stock.

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Categories: Gun News

10 Cool Guns Released in 2019

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 12:00

Each year the gun industry churns out a bevy of cool designs and unique innovations. Often, it’s hard to keep track of all the new firearms that land on dealer shelves; but, no worries, is here to help. We’ve pulled together, in no particular order, what we think are some of the most interesting guns 2019 has to offer.

Walther Q5 Match SF

The Walther Q5 Match SF brings a steel frame to competition shooters.


Though Walther’s Q5 Match is nothing new, the SF – or steel frame construction – revamps the Q5 series. Chambered in 9mm, the Q5 Match SF brings a barrel length of 5-inches to an overall length measuring 8.7-inches. Designed for serious shooters, the pistol is precision machined from solid steel billet adding a wrap-around grip panel, extended beavertail, full-length Picatinny rail and recessed slide release for extra measure.

The Q5 Match SF comes ported and optics-ready, with LPA iron sights. Sporting a 15+1 capacity, the Q5 Match SF reduces recoil with its heavier 41.6-ounce design, providing a quality pistol for competition shooters. The Walther Q5 Match SF retails for $1,499.

Colt King Cobra

Colt continues its expansion into revolvers with the latest entry in the Cobra series — the King Cobra.


Colt breathed new life into its lineup in 2017 with the launch of the Colt Cobra, continuing its revolver revival in 2019 with the release of the King Cobra. Packing six rounds of .357 Magnum, Colt’s King Cobra offers a 3-inch barrel on a heavy-duty frame weighing in at 28-ounces. The double-action wheelgun comes outfitted with Hogue overmolded grips for comfort and a user-replaceable brass bead front sight.

Opting for the same Linear Leaf spring trigger as its sibling Cobra models, the King Cobra melds that Colt name to the timelessness that is revolvers. The Colt King Cobra offers an MSRP of $899.

Springfield Armory HellCat

The Hellcat by Springfield Armory looks to take on the Sig Sauer P365 for smallest CCW over 10 rounds.


A competitor to Sig Sauer’s game-changing P365, Springfield Armory made a splash late in 2019 with the Hellcat pistol. Chambered in 9mm, the micro-compact semi-auto pistol opts for a 3-inch hammer-forged barrel and capacity of 11+1 with the flush-fit magazine. 12 rounds not enough for your misadventures? Well, Springfield Armory also offers a 13-round extended mag bumping up that round count. Offered in standard and optics ready models, the Hellcat boasts serrations, an accessory rail, flat nickel boron coated trigger and reversible mag release for lefties.

Will the Hellcat take a top spot as concealed carrier’s new favorite CCW? Only time will tell but, in the meantime, the Hellcat offers purchasers two mags in the box and an MSRP starting at $599 for the standard model.

Taurus TX22

The Taurus TX22 was a game-changer for the company, bringing a duty gun style to .22LR.


Taurus USA’s TX22 offers a unique take on the .22LR platform, merging the rimfire round with a striker-fired duty pistol design. The full-sized handgun offers an overall length of 7.06-inches using a 4.10-inch barrel. Tipping scales at 17.3-ounces, the TX22 delivers a 16+1 capacity. The TX22 comes equipped with an adjustable white-dot rear sight and fixed front sight along with front and rear slide serrations. Topping the design off, the TX22 offers a suppressor-ready design with 1/2x28TPI threads.

Those .22LR fans wanting a more modern and duty-centric look and feel to the rimfire construction will find the Taurus TX22 a worthy pistol. The TX22 retails for a modest $349.

IWI Masada

The IWI Masada has been on many IWI fans Christmas list and this year Santa will finally deliver.


IWI fans have long awaited the arrival of the Masada and in 2019 lovers of the Israeli manufacturer finally got what they wanted. The Masada finally made its debut on dealer shelves, bringing a 9mm striker-fired design packed with features. Delivering a 4.1-inch barrel on a 7.4-inch frame, the Masada serves up ambidextrous controls, multiple interchangeable backstraps and an optics ready design – complete with interchangeable mounting plates for the Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, Sig Sauer Romeo 01 and Vortex Venom.

Weighing in at 23-ounces, the semi-auto handgun brings a 10- or 17-round magazine to the table, depending on your state’s restrictions. What really sets the Masada apart from other full-size pistols is its serialized chassis which allows it to be swapped out into a different frame. Gun owners seeking a duty-esque gun without a Glock label will find the Masada a worthy alternative – and at $100 cheaper than the G17, the Masada is a winner for the wallet. The Masada retails for $480.

Standard Manufacturing S333 Thunderstruck

The S333 Thunderstruck delivers two rounds with each trigger pull.


Earning a spot on this list for looks alone, the S333 Thunderstruck by Standard Manufacturing definitely turns heads. Ditching the traditional trigger guard, the S333 Thunderstruck opts for an open design. The double-action revolver doesn’t stop there when it comes to uniqueness, the S333 also sports a double-barrel design meaning that one pull of the trigger results in two rounds of .22 Win Mag leaving the barrel. In total, it takes four trigger pulls to yield a total of eight rounds all in under 3-seconds. That’s a lot of math for an 18-ounce wheelgun.

Boasting a 1.25-inch barrel and a fairly snag-free design, the S333 qualifies as an ultra-concealable handgun. Standard Manufacturing’s S333 Thunderstruck is priced at $429.

Daniel Defense Delta 5

Daniel Defense brings a bolt-action creation to DD fans with the Delta 5.


Though bolt-action rifles are nothing new to the gun world, they are new to the Daniel Defense lineup with the Delta 5 marking the company’s first foray into the bolt-action arena. The Delta 5 brings .308 Win, 6.5mm Creedmoor and 7mm-08 Rem to the modular bolt-action platform. Offering an array of features to DD fans, the Delta 5 is furnished with an adjustable single-stage Timney Elite Hunter trigger, user-interchangeable cold hammer-forged barrel with 5/8x24TPI threads, adjustable cheek risers and a stock with 11 M-LOK slots.

The Delta 5 marries a familiar bolt-action design with Daniel Defense accouterments making it a must-have for fans of the brand. MSRP comes in at $2,199.

CZ Bren 2 Ms

CZ continues its dominance of the “bad and bougie” with the Bren 2 Ms.


The CZ Bren 2 Ms saw U.S. shores in 2019, bringing various models and multiple barrel lengths. Opting for an aluminum receiver and carbon fiber-reinforced polymer lower, the pistol tips scales at around 5-pounds – slimmer and trimmer than its predecessor. Available in 5.56 NATO or 7.62x39mm, barrel lengths sit at 11- and 14-inches respectively with smaller barrel options in the way of 8-inches and 9-inches on the table for those with prefer a more compact aesthetic. Each flavor comes with a single 3-round magazine as well as an ambi mag release and safety. If you’re dying to add a little “bougie” to your lifestyle, the CZ Bren 2 Ms will certainly make your range buddies jealous.

As with any CZ product, though, prepare thy wallet. Despite competitor offerings slipping in a lower price bracket, this bad boy maintains an MSRP of $1,799 – but keep in mind, competitors aren’t CZ.

Sig Sauer MCX Rattler Canebrake

The Sig Sauer MCX Rattler Canebrake builds on the MCX rifle platform but opts for a suppressor ready design.


Sig Sauer enters the list updating its MCX rifle series with the Rattler Canebrake for suppressed fire fans. The MCX Rattler Canebrake adopts the MCX design but tosses on a suppressor ready handguard and inert training device that mimics the SIGSRD762 suppressor. This construction ensures that, without a suppressor, all muzzle flash moves past the shooter’s hand when grasping the handguard. Sporting a 5.5-inch barrel with an overall length of 29.25-inches, the .300 Blackout build comes loaded with other goodies like a 2-stage flat-blade match trigger, folding coyote-tan PCB, 30-round Magpul mag and Cerakote E190 finished upper and lower.

All in all, the Sig Sauer Rattler Canebrake caters to those in the tactical crowd who prefer a slick-looking rifle with suppressor capabilities. The Sig Sauer Rattler Canebrake retails for $2,899.

Maxim Defense PDX

The Maxim Defense PDX delivers a compact build perfect for close combat.


Maxim Defense burst onto the radar in January 2019 with its all-new PDX, stealing the hearts of every tactically-minded gun owner. Developed from a 2017 SOCOM request for a compact personal defense weapon, the PDX excels in close quarters encounters with a slimmed-down overall length of 18.75-inches and a barrel length sitting at 5.5-inches. The build achieves its diminutive dimensions through the Maxim SCW stock system – a means of cutting down the length of the stock to just 4-inches. Rounding out the design, the PDX delivers a Maxim Hatebrake muzzle booster. Besides the obviously aggressive name, the Hatebrake reduces recoil and decreases flash, all while pushing gas and concussion waves downrange.

The Maxim Defense PDX comes chambered in crowd favorites, 5.56 NATO and 7.62x39mm, perfect for personal and home defense gurus. The Maxim Defense PDX offers a price tag of $2,299.

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Categories: Gun News

Carving Halloween Pumpkins that Special, Ballistic Way:

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 03:26

It doesn’t have to make sense. (Photo: Chris Eger/

You know what time of year this is, so don’t be surprised that the gun channels with the pumpkins haven’t passed you by!

As Hickok45 is now in his 11th year of getting to the heart of the Jack-o-Lantern matter, he leads the pack with a little offhand carving via a WWII-era Colt M1911 Government Issue

Meanwhile, in Colorado, Dragonman rides up in the HMMV and breaks out a half-dozen new machine guns– because Dragonman– against a legion of tannerite-stuffed pumpkins. And yes, they have two new select-fire SCARs!

Next up, from California comes Edwin Sarkissian and his S&W .500 Magnum ripping through stacks and stacks of the humble Halloween period squash

And just to remind you that airguns are not toys, American Airgunner does some pellet carving on full-auto.

Vets & Horror Movies

If this time of year has got you itching for some horror movies, a new thing that popped up this week is a series by our friends Mat Best and the Black Rifle Coffee/Full Mag crew, where they react to such films and answer the question of how they would be different if a Vet was plunged into a horror movie in place of a more traditional scream queen.

Enjoy and grab some popcorn!

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Categories: Gun News

Pennsylvania Sunday Hunting Expansion Bill Passes House

Thu, 10/31/2019 - 02:46

Sportsmen in the Keystone State could see more open days in the woods next year under a new bill that advanced this week. (Photo: Pennsylvania Game Commission)


A bill that will open the woods to legal Sunday hunting in Pennsylvania passed the state House this week.

The measure, SB 147, passed the House without a single “no” vote on Wednesday and now heads back to the Pennsylvania Senate, for final approval, which is expected in mid-November. The move would legalize hunting on at least three Sundays throughout the year — which is three more than what the Commonwealth has currently.

The bill, supported by the Pennsylvania Game Commission, mandates the three Sundays to include one day during deer rifle season, one day during deer archery season and another day designated by the Commission.

Pennsylvania is one of just three states, along with Maine and Massachusetts, that maintain a total ban on Sunday hunting, an enduring remnant of old puritanical “blue laws.”

A fiscal analysis by the state filed this week found that SB 147 would likely increase revenue for the Commonwealth’s Game Fund due to an expected increase in license sales. According to PCG, Pennsylvania saw 885,632 licensed hunters in 2017, the lowest number in a decade that began with 924,448 hunters in 2007.

Endorsed by Keystone State game clubs as well as Safari Club International and the National Rifle Association, pro-sporting groups argue that the expansion, if successful, will help turn around flagging hunter numbers.

“Many hunters are prevented from introducing their children or friends to hunting because it is difficult to find time and opportunities outside of the work or school week,” noted the NRA in a statement this week. “Countless hunters stop hunting because of this reality in our hectic lives. Senate Bill 147 seeks to increase Pennsylvania hunters’ ability to enjoy our hunting heritage and will improve hunter recruitment and retention efforts.”

The state Senate had previously passed the measure in an easy 36-14 vote in September and is expected to find easy concurrence with the House’s more recent vote. As currently written, the law would not take effect until 90 days after it’s signed by the governor. This means there will be no additional Sunday hunting opportunities until 2020.


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Categories: Gun News

Three Great Varmint Rifles for Pesky Critters

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 10:30

Whether the intended target is as small as ground squirrels or as large as winter coyotes, having the right hunting rifle can make all the difference. From less damaging rimfire rounds on up to flatter shooting centerfires, bolt actions to semi-automatics, the options are plenty on both new and used gun racks. Here is a trio of our favorite varmint rifles all borrowed from the GDC Vault.

Howa 1500 Ranch Land Combo

Howa Model 1500 bolt action rifles from Legacy Sports International are quite underrated hunting guns, with capable accuracy for a reasonable price. These bolt guns are available in a nice range of calibers ideal for varminters. From .223 Rem to .243 Win these calibers are suited for all sorts of furbearing predators. While the 1500 action comes in a variety of specialty models, configurations and stocks, we especially appreciate the bang-for-the-buck that varmint hunters get with the Howa Ranch Land rifle/scope combo.

While most Howa 1500 bolt actions would suffice for varmint hunters, our Ranch Land compact Combo is almost purpose-built for such wieldy predator pursuit (Kristin Alberts/

While any of the Howa 1500 bolt actions will suffice for varmint hunters, this Ranch Land compact package model seems purpose-built for such predator pursuit. The 20-inch lightweight barrel defines its compact size, making it ideal as a truck gun, brush gun and fast-wielding coyote taker. The Howa comes ready right out of the box, easily heading into the field.

Our .243 Win chambering sports a short, light barrel yielding a wieldy hunting companion. Additionally, the barrel sits inside a Hogue green rubberized stock that will take on any inclement weather with its grip. If that’s not enough, the rifle includes a color-matched Nikko Stirling 2.5-10×42 Nighteater scope. When hunters can get into an MOA-guaranteed rig for under $400, that’s a win in our book. Though we didn’t expect a whole lot given the price, the two-stage trigger broke cleanly just over 3-pounds. It was a great aid to shooting cloverleaf groups at 100-yards with premium ammunition.

In our caliber choice of .243 Win, the same rifle can be loaded down with 55-grain bullets for critters as small as prairie dogs and up to 100-grain options for medium sized game like deer, making this the perfect middle ground for game of any kind. If the Ranch Land in .243 Win is not quite to your liking, the GDC Vault is also stocked with the combo in the similarly low-recoiling, deer hunting supreme 7mm-08 chambering.


Savage Arms A17

Rimfire rifles are plenty, but the great ones are few. Savage Arms’ semi-automatic .17 HMR rifle is one of the latter. It’s also among the first and only such actions to reliably cycle the hot .17 HMR round with its delayed-blowback action. Those rapid shot strings from an accurate rimfire knock down prairie dogs, ground squirrels and the like. With good shot placement that same .17 HMR will easily take down fox and even coyote.
When the hunting is good, the A17 makes quick work of fast-moving critters. The A17 rifle ships with a 10-round rotary magazine, more than ample for any kind of varmint hunt. Savage’s fully adjustable AccuTrigger comes standard and is a great aid to accuracy, even on a rimfire, with our test trigger breaking reliably at 3-pounds. With ballistic tip HMR ammunition, the A17 is a legit small game and varmint rifle in a smooth-running semi-auto platform.

The Savage semi-automatic A17 is one of the only such rifles to reliably cycle the hot .17 HMR rounds with a delayed blowback action (Kristin Alberts/

While the A-series rimfires come in a variety of calibers and styles, we appreciate the comfort and looks of our Laminate Target Thumbhole. Partnered with the caliber-matched Bushnell A17 scope, long shorts are still right on the money with the custom turrets. Though we fired a mix of ammunition, the rifle particularly loves CCI’s A17 and Norma’s .17 HMR loaded with Hornady V-Max projectiles. The A17 rifle is available both new and used from the GDC Vault in many of the rifle’s model variants, including synthetic furniture, heavy barrels or thumbhole stocks like our test rifle.


Ruger 77/22

Ruger’s vaunted 77 line of bolt action rifles usually centers on the .22 LR chambering; however, the particular rifle we selected from the GDC Vault is rarer—and more potent — .22 WMR. This 77/22 makes use of a 24-inch heavy stainless barrel with matching matte stainless receiver all sitting in a laminate stock. The 77/22 is fitted with a 9-shot rotary magazine very similar to that used with the venerable Ruger 10/22 semi-auto rimfire. Sling swivels come standard so the hefty rimfire, which tips the scales at almost 8-pounds with the optic and loaded magazine, is still easy to tote afield.

Our loaner 77/22 from the GDC Vault is chambered in .22 Magnum and makes use of a 24-inch heavy barrel, laminate stock, rotary magazine, and is topped off with a Burris optic (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

The icing on the cake for both looks and accuracy on this used rifle is a Burris 4-12X Compact scope in Ruger’s own rings. The trigger breaks right around 4.5-pounds with just a hint of creep. The three-position safety located at the right tang is a nice feature even on a rimfire rifle, allowing the chamber to be safely cleared without disengaging the safety. Though the .22 WMR chambering is certainly best for smaller critters like prairie dogs, chucks, and smaller furbearers, a good and accurate rifle is hard to beat. Those lovers of the 77 rimfire platform seeking more firepower in a centerfire round zippy .22 Hornet round is the best match.

The 77/22 bolt action rifle are ones that look, feel and hunt like their much larger M77 centerfire counterparts, so they’re an easy acclimation for fans of Ruger’s fine rifles in general.



Whether rimfire or centerfire, bolt or semi-auto, the choices for varmint rifles are many. Each of our selections will shoot MOA or better at 100-yards using premium factory ammunition. Tailor your rifle selection to the game you plan to hunt, and you’ll set yourself up for success every time. Any of the rifles mentioned above are sure to please with a blend of accuracy, reliability and performance with a nice a variety of price points and calibers.

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Categories: Gun News

Rimfire Rounds Hunters Must Try in 2019

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 04:00

Four of our top pics in rimfire hunting ammunition, including: Norma .17HMR, Hornady .22 WMR Varmint Express, Federal Premium Hunter Match .22 LR, and Aguila 5mm Rimfire Magnum. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Plinking and hunting with rimfires is a joy that extends far beyond any shooter’s youth years. With continual advancements in precision rimfire rifles and premium factory ammunition, the rimfire life gets better each year. Here are four of our absolute favorite rimfire offerings, one for each of the major calibers and each one guaranteed to put small game in the stew pot.

Norma 17 HMR

Our Savage A17 semi-auto in .17HMR loved Norma’s 17 HMR rimfire rounds, which are topped with Hornady’s 17-grain V-Max bullets. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


When two powerhouse companies come together, the results are bound to be great and such is the case with the new-for-2019 Norma .17 HMR rimfire ammunition. With Norma’s track record of quality hunting ammunition partnered with Hornady’s immensely popular V-Max bullets, this is a win-win for hunters and rimfire aficionados.

With the 17-grain bullet moving with an advertised muzzle velocity of 2,549 feet-per-second with 245 foot-pounds of energy, there’s both enough speed and penetration downrange to handle the rimfire hunter’s needs. The polymer-tipped V-Max bullet expands quickly on small game or varmints for the best terminal performance. These new rounds come 50 to a plastic sleeve and, best of all, the ammunition shot with great reliability and accuracy through our Savage A17 rifle.

A sweet, 100-yard group fired through Savage’s A17 rifle using Norma .17HMR. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/

Hornady 22 WMR

Hornady’s Varmint Express load offers enough power to ethically take out varmints. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


While Norma borrows Hornady’s V-Max bullets, we go right to the source for one of our favorite .22 Magnum offerings. Hornady’s Varmint Express in WMR is loaded with 30-grain polymer-tipped V-Max bullets. These little babies move from the muzzle at 2,200 FPS with 322 foot-pounds of energy provide more than enough oomph to take down small game and varmints alike. They come in 50-round plastic boxes and shot well through every rifle we tried, including the Ruger 77/22, Marlin 57and Henry lever actions.

Federal Premium Hunter Match .22 LR

Federal Premium offers up its Hunter Match rimfire ammo perfect for varminters. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


The good ‘ole Long Rifle will always be the standard by which other rimfires are judged. While there have long been many flavors of LR ammunition available, we’ve finally found a legit premium hunting round in the Federal Premium Hunter Match. This round, with its 40-grain Hunter Match hollow point bullet, is built for longer-range accuracy and terminal performance on game. This proves especially useful for varminters seeking those 75 to 100 -yard shots. We’ve tested it at length on squirrels and rabbits with stellar results, meaning clean harvests without damaging the meat. With a nickel-plated case and loaded to match-grade specs, this is a winner for rimfire hunters.

Aguila 5mm Rem Rimfire Mag

A closer look at one of the new boxes of Aguila’s 5mm Remington Rimfire Magnum, back in production after a long hiatus, and a fantastic performer on small game and varmints. (Photo: Kristin Alberts/


Though nowhere near as well-recognized or popular as the previously referenced rimfire rounds, 2019 was a thrilling year for fans of the 5mm Remington Magnum. Cult-like followers of the 5mm Rem Mag had been begging for a remake of the ammunition for years and Aguila finally answered the call in a big way. The company is producing not just one but two versions. Both are tipped with 30-grain bullets and come in a jacketed hollow point varmint (known as the Magnum Varmint) and the other a semi-jacketed hollow point — both with an advertised muzzle velocity of 2,300 FPS which still put the 5mm a step above .22 WMR performance. The terminal results on small game are entirely devastating, as evidenced by our late-winter hunts.

Want more great rimfire ammo? Check out’s variety of rimfire loads HERE.


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Categories: Gun News

Swiss Hunting Rifle: The Classy SIG Arms SHR 970

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 04:00

This exceedingly rare SIG SHR 970 in the Vault of Certified Used guns is chambered in .270 Rem and is available to fill a hole in any discerning collector’s safe.


Only made for a few years, the SHR 970 bolt-action rifle offered a marriage of Old World craftsmanship and modern innovation for a handful of lucky hunters.

The SHR (Swiss Hunting Rifle) series rifles were introduced in the U.S. in 1998 and imported to the country by SIG Arms with the tag line, “There are only two ways you’ll miss your target…not buying one or shooting with both eyes closed.” Pitched with one-gun functionality, the forward-looking rifle could be swapped out across seven calibers through an interchangeable barrel system– long before today’s modular platforms like the Daniel Defense Delta 5.

The SHR was offered in .25-06 Rem, .270 Rem, .280 Rem, .30-06, .308 Win, .300 Win Mag and 7mm Rem Mag, with extra barrels available. Standard calibers used a 22-inch hammer-forged barrel which produced a 41.9-inch rifle while the barrels and resulting overall length on the magnums went two inches longer.

SIG said these rifles carried a 1:10″ twist Ilaflon-coated barrel and receiver, making them “virtually impervious to corrosion.” All were made in Switzerland, and this one is marked as such on the receiver.

Using a steel receiver and glossy European walnut stock with checkering (an optional synthetic model was also marketed), the SHR had a very fast lock time with a 65-degree short throw bolt that locked directly to the barrel. The gun also had a unique bedding block system, 3-position safety, and a detachable box magazine that held three or four rounds depending on caliber. Weight of the rifle, sans magazine, was 7.2-pounds.

These guns are rarely encountered in any condition, with this one being graded “excellent.” This specimen includes Weaver scope bases for the user’s preferred optics.

From the factory, these rifles had a 4.4-pound single-stage trigger pull.

Still, while today’s Sig Sauer makes any number of great semi-auto rifles, not many people can say they have a more old-school Swiss-made SIG Arms bolt-gun as the small supply of SHRs brought into the states dried up almost as soon as they hit our shores.


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Categories: Gun News

Judge Boots Pittsburgh ‘Assault Weapon’ restrictions

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 02:03

“The City’s gun control sought to eviscerate the inviolate right of the residents of the Commonwealth to keep and bear arms and ensnare law-abiding citizens through a patchwork of laws,” said an attorney representing the pro-gun groups. (Photo: Chris Eger/

The Allegheny Court of Common Pleas on Tuesday found that Pittsburgh had gone too far in passing local laws restricting guns.

The challenge before the court took issue with ordinances enacted earlier this year that banned the public carry of loaded magazines that can accept more than 10 rounds of ammunition, implemented orders paving the way for temporarily firearm seizures from those thought to be a danger to themselves or others, and restrictions on guns deemed to be “assault weapons.” Judge Joseph M. James this week found the city violated Pennsylvania’s statewide firearm preemption statutes and ruled the city’s new ordinances void and unenforceable.

The challenge against the City, Mayor Bill Peduto, and six City Council members, was filed by three individuals and a trio of pro-gun groups: the Firearms Policy Coalition, Firearms Policy Foundation, and Firearms Owners Against Crime.

“I am delighted that Judge James’ decision today appropriately struck down the City of Pittsburgh’s unlawful firearm ordinances and signage,” said Joshua Prince, an attorney for the pro-gun plaintiffs. “The City’s gun control sought to eviscerate the inviolate right of the residents of the Commonwealth to keep and bear arms and ensnare law-abiding citizens through a patchwork of laws.”

Petudo, a Democrat that has long championed gun control measures, pointed out that the city was receiving free legal support from outside groups to defend their anti-gun laws and they would appeal this week’s ruling. The city is being represented by a legal team that includes attorneys funded through the Bloomberg-funded Everytown organization.

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Categories: Gun News

CZ Debuts New All-Terrain Semi-Auto, SXS, and O/U Shotguns

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 02:49


CZ-USA this week announced a series of new All-Terrain shotguns in four break-barrel and one semi-auto model in multiple barrel lengths.

While the five models are all very different from each other due to their actions, they all share an OD green cerakote finish, premium walnut furniture, and extended chokes. The break-barrel models all use earth magnets on the extractor/ejectors to keep shells in place when the action is open, even if the gun is turned upside down– a feature CZ bills as being especially handy for sportsmen in duck blinds or when dog handling,

All-Terrain series shotgun barrels and receivers feature an OD Green Cerakote finish “that delivers the ultimate in durability no matter how nasty the elements get,” says CZ while the walnut stock and forend provides “a stunning look that’s anything but ostentatious.” (Photos: CZ)

The new CZ All-Terrain series includes the record-breaking semi-auto 1012 as well as break-action Bobwhite G2, Drake, Redhead Premier, and Upland Ultralight models.

The CZ 1012 All-Terrain is offered in 12 ga only with 28-inch barrels. MSRP: $690

The CZ Bobwhite G2 All-Terrain SXS comes in either 12 or 20 with 28-inch barrels. Note the straight English-style stock. MSRP is $828

The CZ Drake All-Terrain is offered in 12 and 20 with 28-inch barrels. MSRP is $790.80

The CZ Redhead Premier All-Terrain comes in 12 and 20 with 28- or 30-inch barrels. MSRP is $1,122.72

The CZ Upland Ultralight All-Terrain is offered in 12 and 20 with 28-inch barrels. MSRP is $889.98


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Categories: Gun News