Monday, July 16, 2018

Gear Review: Impact Sport BOLT Electronic Earmuffs


What's that? Say again? What'd he say? Huh? These are words you don't want to have to repeat over and over because you didn't use hearing protection at the range. Your hearing is important and if you have ever fired a rifle and not used hearing protection you know what I am talking about. I have used hearing protection all my life and I am always looking for improvements as I grow older. For about six months I have been field-testing the Impact Sport BOLT Electronic Earmuffs from Howard Leight by Honeywell. 

When it comes to hearing protection, I am a bit picky. If it covers my ears, it had better block out the excess noise and work with my rifles with a cheek riser. I also want something that is not bulky, easily adjustable, and it must be comfortable. 

In the package are the BOLT earmuffs, 2 AAA batteries, 3.5 mm auxiliary cable (for MP3 players and scanners), belt clip and extra pads. They come conveniently packed with easy to follow instructions.


The BOLT earmuffs turn on easily with one rolling switch (shown in the image above). You can adjust volume up or down depending on your own personal hearing needs.

Adjustment on these is easy and I was able to fit them to my rather large head with no issues. They cover the ears fairly well and are not too tight. The benefit to that is that your head won't sweat terribly with them fitted properly. Plus, these work well on kids smaller heads. Most of the time my daughter complains at how tight the earmuffs are. She didn't complain with these. The not-so-good part is that they can slip or pull away from your ear if you aren't careful. They don't fit very snug. I was shooting my Remington .270 with a high cheek riser and when I fired the shot, I had the riser too close to the earmuff, thus lifting it from my ear and having my ear take much of the blast. It was my own fault, but I want to urge caution with that. You better believe I only made that mistake once. Even still, I wish these hugged my head a wee bit tighter.

The Impact Sport BOLT Electronic Earmuffs function very well as hearing protection and also as a means to hear when your buddy tries to have a conversation with you while everyone is shooting. The volume can be adjusted up or down to minimize or maximize volume and protection. You can adjust it for different calibers to reduce the volume, but if you choose, you can also turn them right off. These worked very well when tested with four shooters. I was able to converse with my friends while shooting and my hearing was protected.

These will turn off automatically after four (4) hours of non-use. This helps save battery life.

Storage of the BOLTs is easy. Pop the actual muffs back inside to the headpiece and they fit in your hand. They easily pack into a range bag or a backpack. This also helps from them accidentally turning on.

Should you choose to invest, the Impact Sport BOLT Electronic Earmuffs can be found online for around $84.00. For me, that is a sound investment because once your hearing goes, you cannot get it back. Protect your hearing! Even though I wish these fit tighter to my head, I would recommend picking up a pair as they are an excellent hearing protection device.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Helping a Friend Properly Mount His Vortex Rifle Scope


Months ago, I was at the shooting range having a casual conversation with my friend Bill G. about rifle scopes. Seeing the Vortex scopes I was using, he mentioned he had never really had a great scope nor had he really thought about it. At SHOT Show 2018, I had him check out the Vortex Strike Eagle scopes and he loved them. In fact, he had quite a smile on his face after. I told him that we would have to get him set up when he purchased his next rifle.

Fast forward a few months when his new rifle arrived. He decided to transfer an old scope to it and wanted a Strike Eagle for his .300 BLK. I had him look at the specs and offered my recommendations. He enthusiastically decided on a Strike Eagle 4-24x50 and was itching to mount it properly. *Hint, hint, Al!* Unfortunately, I got really busy and had to postpone. Bill is a patient man and last week I finally made the time to go to his house.

Bill mentioned that he had never properly mounted a scope, so I brought over my Wheeler Manufacturing scope mounting kit and got to work. Bill had already compared the glass in his other scopes and the Vortex. He said he was surprised at how crisp and clear it was.

We first got a rough idea where the rings should go and tightened them finger tight. I laid the scope in the rings and we tightened the bolts down to get an idea if we needed to lap them. We determined they need to be lapped slightly, so I walked Bill through the process and had him do the work. Once I was satisfied, we cleaned up the rings and set the scope in, locking it lightly in place.

Next, I wanted to be sure we got proper eye relief set up. Bill is a lefty and shoots a little different than I, so I adjusted the scope while he held a shooting position. Within a few seconds were at a good place. You seriously couldn't wipe the smile off his face!





Once the proper eye relief was set we got to the leveling portion. I am a pretty thorough guy when it comes to things like this. Bill also falls into this category, so we spent the better part of our time verifying level, torquing the rings down, loosening them back up, adjusting the scope once again, and by now I am sure you get the picture. We spent a considerable amount of time getting it just right. We nailed it and were thrilled!





We torqued the rings to 25 in. lbs. and rechecked the eye relief. We both gave the rifle a once over and had to check the optic range of the Strike Eagle. To say it was incredible doesn't give it any justice. Clear, sharp, and when we dialed it up to 24 power it felt like you could hit a sparrow at 400 yards. Who knows, maybe we will have to get this set up shooting that far.



Bill may not smile much for pictures, but that is the face of a happy rifleman! With his new Vortex Strike Eagle 4-24x50 scope mounted properly, he is eager to get to the range in a couple weeks and sight it in. Heck, I am eager to get out there! I am stoked for him and can't wait to see what he is able to do with that set up. I'll bet he is going to be the happiest guy at the range! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Hog Hunting Seminar at Bass Pro Shops!

For those of you asking me when the next hog hunting seminar is... Wait no longer! Hog hunting experts Ron Gayer and Durwood Hollis will be presenting a wild pig hunting seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga on Saturday, July 21 from 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM. I've attended this seminar and it's worth every penny. The seminar will be held in the fine gun room (top of the stairs to the right of the fish tank and hang a right). Hollis and Gayer have decades of wild pig hunting experience with much of it on public land.

The seminar will cover a wide range of wild pig hunting topics, including: how-to use maps to locate the best spots, reading sign, calls/calling, gear and gadgets, appropriate weaponry and a free set of public land hunting hot spot maps.

This in-depth presentation will be held in the upstairs seminar room at Bass Pro Shops and will begin at 10:00 AM, Saturday, July 21st. Cost is just $40 per person (cash only) and as always, junior hunters are FREE with a paid adult.

Seating is extremely limited and the spots are filled first-come, first serve, so get in line early!

Monday, June 25, 2018

Bass Pro Shops Hunting Seminars Recap (and links)


Our minds are constantly learning and yearning to know more. As a hunter in Southern California, I completely understand that there are new hunters, as well as many seasoned hunters who want to learn more about how to hunt, where to find the animals, and what to do when the animal is down. I was blessed to be able to give five seminars yesterday at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA on topics just like those. The seats were filled and the questions kept coming! I started at 10:30 and didn't stop answering questions until 4:30 - six hours of great hunt stories, questions, and learning.

First off, I would like to thank all of the attendees who came out from far and wide. You guys made every seminar fun and I learned some great things, too! Some of the folks came out from as far as 29 Palms and others from Santa Clarita. You guys rock and I appreciate you all coming out to listen to me all day. Please let me know if there was anything I didn't cover or something you want to learn more about. I'd be happy to share!

Here are the topics I covered and the times:
10:30 AM - Introduction to Bow Hunting
11:30 PM - Scouting For Deer In SoCal: Tactics and Optics  
1:30 PM - Effective Scent Control  
2:00 PM - Packing for a Day Hunt vs. a Multi-Day Hunt 
3:00 PM - Proper Field Care: Tips and Tools

We talked everything from traditional bow hunting to hunting with a compound. The topic of shot placement and tracking came up, too. The most asked questions were where to find the deer and how to find them. My Vortex Razor HD 12x50s came out along with my Viper HD 20-60x85 spotting scope. We discussed biking and hiking into areas, why I wear Rocky boots for both, and I recapped my 22 mile scouting trip from a couple weeks back. Along those same lines, I was able to go for a ride on a Rambo electric bike right before I started my seminars and let me say that I can see why they are a game changer. Very impressive!

Here are links to some of the gear I highlighted yesterday. I have used many of these for years and if you have any questions, please give me a shout!

Badlands 2200 backpack (my favorite and the one I had in store)

Bass Pro BlackOut S3 compound bow

TightSpot Quiver

PayDay Candy Bars - You know you wanted this one!

For those who were looking for the links to the maps:

I use the National Forest Atlas (Quadrangle Maps) from the national forest and they are very helpful. Scroll down and find the one for the area you want to hunt. 

For maps on my GPS I use the onX hunt maps.

Giving five seminars was a challenge and it worked out great! Offering a few more seminars for those traveling from long distances worked well. During the Bass Pro Shops Fall Classic I will be in the Rancho store August 11-12 and 18-19. I'll be giving seminars, but I will also be walking around and available to answer any questions you might have. I look forward to meeting you all! Thanks again for making the day fly by yesterday with some great questions! I loved it!

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Gear Review: Mission First Tactical 10 Round Polymer Magazines and Battlelink Minimalist Stock


For over a year, I have been testing out new equipment on my AR-15. I wanted to find the best parts that made it comfortable for me to shoot, but also effective when hunting. Two of the items that I have tested extensively are the 10PM556 - 10 Round Polymer Mag and Battlelink Minimalist Stock from Mission First Tactical

Let me preface this review by saying that the folks at MFT have been very helpful when it came to these items. They have been very patient and allowed me to fully test these out over time where I could shoot with them, beat them up, shoot some more, and now I get to share my findings. Thank you, MFT!


To start, I'll go over the magazine(s). I have been using both the short 10PM556 - 10 Round Polymer Mag and the long 10-round magazine. They both lock in very well on the first try and feed extremely well. Personally, I like the short magazine because it allowed me to swivel the rifle left-to-right easier and I didn't have to rest all the weight on the corner of the longer mag. They functioned the same, but I focused on the short version. When changing magazines, they both function very well and pop right out the same way. I inserted and removed empty and loaded magazines over and over to try to find a malfunction. I did this close to fifty times with zero issues.

When I still had the magazine quick release installed, I tested out changing out magazines in different types of situations. The texture on the outside of the magazines is great and allow an easy grip with or without gloves. I tried tactical gloves, leather gloves, wet hands and dry hands. There was no slippage and I was able to load and unload easily. In fact, these worked the best out of any magazine I tried. I did not have any malfunctions with the magazines, nor was there any issue with it locking into place when loading. I then tried loading the magazines and removing them with a fixed magazine scenario. Again, they performed extremely well and I had no issues whatsoever. Two thumbs up from me! 



The Battlelink Minimalist Stock is something I think every AR owner in California should look at closely. MFT put some though into this design and it really shows. It weighs in at only 5.8oz and installs quickly and easily.




You should know by now that an AR-15 in California must have a fixed stock. The scope I tested is a telescoping stock and MFT thought it through for us in California. They put a hole in the bottom of the stock to allow you to put a pin (provided with the stock) to secure it, thus making it a fixed stock. Once locked into place I took it to the range to shoot. It functioned very well, stayed locked in place and was very comfortable when shooting. 

The design of the stock is pretty cool as it has a hook-like function on the back end. This allowed plenty of comfort when shooting, but also allowed me to hang my rifle on a branch or hook if I needed to. Having a dual function made me appreciate it even more as a hunter. I did have to be careful not to allow the lower portion to catch on anything, but other than that I was very happy with performance.

Both the magazines and the stock are excellent designs and function very well. They allowed me to shoot my AR-15 at the range and hunt with ease. The 10PM556 - 10 Round Polymer Mags
have an MSRP of $14.99 each and MSRP on the Battlelink Minimalist Stock is $59.99. I recommend both of these upgrades to your AR-15, especially if you live in California.