Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting in Las Vegas: My Story

I've shared my story a few times, but I wanted to give my full side so you can read exactly what happened from my point of view in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017. Please keep in mind that this is how I remember our experience and that it happened very quickly. I feel that writing this will help me come to terms with things.

Kymberli and I snapped this photo in our resort the night of the shooting. Image copyright Kymberli Quackenbush.


On October 1, 2017, my wife, Kymberli, and I were at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas with some friends. We had enjoyed some great country music and were singing along with Jason Aldean about 100 feet or so from the stage when the first shots rang out. My wife asked if that was real and I shook my head in disbelief because I thought it was either faulty pyrotechnics or sound. When the second barrage of gunfire erupted and Jason ran back down the stage, I told my wife and others around me to get down as we had no idea where the shots were coming from. A larger woman in front of me was extremely scared and didn’t want to go to the ground because she was afraid of not being able to get back up. Another man and I told her she needed to get down for her own safety and that we would help her back up. We were on the ground for a few seconds when more gunfire erupted and we immediately helped her up. Kymberli and I knew we had to get out of there as I realized we were in direct line of fire of the bullets. Only God kept us safe. He kept me completely calm (no idea how that happened) and I went into crisis mode and told my wife to go.

This is the general area where we ran. The mid-section is a blur to me.

Kymberli and I worked great as a team and I am super proud of her. We held hands and I kept my body between hers and the area where the shooting came from. People were falling all around us and at the time I didn’t know if they were shot or going to ground to protect themselves. As I think back at how they were falling, I am saddened to realize they were probably shot. We kept running toward the front corner of the grounds to get to a close exit and to be protected. Kymberli reached out to help some of the fallen and I told her to keep going as we had an eight year old at home we needed to worry about. It was at this point I realized we were both still holding our beers, I dropped mine and I told Kymberli to drop hers as it wasn’t worth it. She immediately dropped hers and headed for the opposite end of the VIP bar. She was great at spotting a barrier. She and I took cover behind the bar when another couple ducked in behind her. Another burst of gunfire that sounded closer, louder, and like it was coming our way. I was convinced there was a shooter inside the area. The other woman asked her man if it was real, he looked at me and asked if it was real. I looked at him and said it was real and that the reports were from an automatic rifle. At this point there had been around 200+ shots. Kymberli asked me what we should do and I said we needed to get out of there and go now. 

Kymberli grabbed my hand and darted for the opening where others had knocked the chain-link fence down. We watched helplessly as a woman fell and her camouflage purse caught inside a window in the fence. Kymberli immediately reached for her and said, ‘We need to help her!’ I saw the threat of being trampled and told her we needed to go and again, that we had an eight year old at home. Just then her friends helped pick her up and we took to the asphalt to get out. I looked up to see a man putting his belt around a persons leg as a tourniquet. The severity of the situation started to hit me.

Image copyright Kymberli Quackenbush.






As we ran I never felt fear. I was surprisingly calm and focused. I can honestly tell you I have no idea where that came from, but that God had intervened. I have zero, and I repeat, ZERO military, tactical, or emergency training. None. I was simply in survival mode and wanted to get my wife to safety. I kept telling people not to panic, don't shove others and simply move far away from the area. As we ran, we were getting further away, but we had the VIP area and food trucks between us and the shooter. It was a small barrier, but a barrier nonetheless. Once it opened, we found a police car where at least four first responders were there shielding people and telling everyone to get down.

We turned right and took off running at a sprint. When we made it to a concrete wall, people were climbing up and scaling it best they could. They were falling all over and there was a chain link fence on the opposite side. Kymberli thought we we have to go over it and I told her to stop. I stopped and stood still to assess the situation. Simply put, it was situational awareness taking over. I calmly told her we needed to find an exit and that we would not be going over the fence. In less than three seconds I saw a break in the fence and pointed saying, ‘There is our exit. Go!’ We got there in a few seconds and two women’ bodies were laying there. Both women were bloody and unconscious and looked to have been shot, but I didn't stop to check. I have no idea how they made it that far. They were not moving except for two people trying to pull one girl through the opening of the fence. People were panicked and shoving and falling over one another. I grabbed a bigger guy by his collar and pulled him back telling him he couldn’t panic. I told everyone that if we didn’t panic and went through calmly we could all make it. It worked as a steady stream of people began through the fence. Kymberli made it through either right before or right after the two people pulled their friend through. I don't remember which was first. She looked at the woman and said, ‘Al, we need to help her! We need to help her!’ I told her, ‘No! We need to get to safety.’ I love my wife and wanted her safe, but I knew she was right. We needed to help these people get their friend to safety. She had a boot on her right leg and nothing on her left but her sock. Her lifeless body was being dragged along the asphalt. I grabbed her right leg, Kymberli her left and we lifted her up with the two others. They never said a word and never asked for help. They were determined to help this person. I looked around and saw the closest protective barrier was a concrete pillar against a building wall. I told everyone we needed to get her there and we moved quickly. We carried the woman to safety behind the pillar. Her friends stayed and yelled for a medic. She was not responsive and we got out of there. We wanted to help more, but again I was reminded of our daughter. The shots continued even after we were out of earshot and we kept moving.

We found a female security worker from the venue who had made it out, but her brother had not. She was very worried and began crying. Kymberli hugged her and said he would be OK. We prayed with her for her bother’s safety and for the others. We reached Koval Lane by the airport and kept moving. We walked to the corner of Koval and Tropicana by Rebel Oil. Kudos to the Rebel Oil manager who offered shelter, water and any assistance we needed. The event security woman (forgot her name) called her mom. Kymberli called her mom to tell her what had happened and that we were OK. We said our goodbyes.

We kept moving and we knew we needed to try and get an Uber back to our resort. We walked toward the MGM and I contacted Uber. We were so fortunate to be able to get an Uber back to our resort before the lockdown. We stayed in the lobby to catch the news and do what we could. We felt safer and knew my mother-in-law and daughter were upstairs safe in our room. We stayed in the lobby because wanted to help others if we could. Kymberli consoled many who had been displaced from their families and were injured from jumping the fences. I spoke with others about the weaponry, safety of others, and watched the events unfold on the news.

There were EMTs (from Alaska) and military personnel in the lobby who offered assistance. The security team on the Wyndham Grand Desert Resort was on point and was awesome. Thank you all!

It was heinous and sickening to be a part of. I am still in disbelief. I thank God for protecting us, our friends and getting us all out safely. Without his protection and guidance I don’t know if we wold have made it. I feel very lucky for us to have made it out without an outward scratch. Inside I am torn up and continuing to pray for those who were injured and for the families of those lost.

I would like to say that the first responders were incredible and were there very quickly. I've never seen a team of LEOs and emergency personnel come together so quickly. Much love and kudos to you and your families for putting yourselves in harms way. Thank you.

Also, to the civilians who sacrificed themselves, put themselves in harms way, and went back in to help others. You guys are awesome and it chokes me up at how you went back to save others. Thank you all! Brave and selfless is how I describe you all. God bless.

 

Kymberli’s recollection of the night

Having a FANTASTIC time with Al and friends. Jason came out in a great mood, sounded great, and even joked how he wouldn't be dancing like some of those other country artists. About four to five songs in we heard what sounded like fireworks (to me). They kept going and he kept singing and I looked around thinking a pyro act had gone wrong. There was a brief pause and it started again. I could see Jason looking around and I heard the sound of his music start to get lower. I was waiting for him to say something about someone shooting off stuff and start the song over again. That didn't happen. I then heard people yelling "Get down!" and the crowd was like a wave and dropped down. I asked Al if that was gunfire and I cannot remember his answer. I remember everything seemed so quiet. Everyone was confused. Some thought it was gunfire, some said it was fireworks. People could not agree what it was. Then it happened again. We got even lower and I just braced myself. I think I knew it was gunfire at that point, but it was unbelievable at the same time. I couldn't understand how it could be happening. 

As soon as there was a break in the shots, we started to run. I remember holding Al's hand and running, bracing myself thinking I was going to get shot in the back. I remember him saying a couple of times "We have an 8 year old daughter." It was to 1) not have me stop and help everyone which I was starting to do and 2) realize I had to listen to him and try to keep calm. We made it to a bar and hid behind the bar. More shots and they sounded even closer. Al now thinks it was just the echo of the material the bar was made of. Again, I braced myself thinking a bullet was going to ricochet off me. This was the point where I almost could have lost it if it wasn't for Al. He stayed calm and either said "We need to run." or "We need to go." We grabbed hands and went to turn the corner. A girl fell and a bunch of us tried to grab her. When I saw others helping her better from behind, we kept going. 

Then I saw what I felt like might be the end. People were scaling chain link fences. It was mayhem. My mind started racing about how to be careful when it was time to scale the fence. People were falling and getting hurt. People started pushing each other. Al told them to stop pushing and to stay calm. He must have accessed the situation in a hurry because he found is a small opening in the fence to go through - the opposite way of the people scaling the fence. When we got out of that we came across two guys dragging a girl. There was blood everywhere. All I could think about was how scraped up the back of her legs must have been getting and I couldn't watch it anymore. I told Al we needed to help. We each grabbed a leg and her body was so heavy - like lifeless. I didn't look her in the face because I didn't want her to be dead. It kept me distant from the situation in a way. We got her to a building and helped place her there and her friends looked like ghosts and one yelled "Medic!" That's all we could do for her, so we ran again. 

I don't know at what point we took cover behind this police car, but shots were fired again. The amount of shots were unreal. I still couldn't believe this was happening. We got to the street and we're calming down a girl whose brother was still inside. She called her mom, I called my mom. We got across the street to a gas station and they were offering water and shelter. We kept walking to get as far away as possible. We were able to get an Uber before Uber heard what was happening. We came back to our hotel and just sat and comforted people who were hurt or crying. I shared my portable charger with a woman from another hotel. The staff was AMAZING. The first responders were amazing. For the most part, people came together.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Sighting In Rifles with an Overlooked Component

A few weeks ago, my friends and I went to the shooting range to sight in our rifles and plink a bit. I had just installed three new Vortex Optics scopes and needed to get the three rifles sighted in for hunting. I had taken the time to properly level and mount each scope, so I was ready...or so I thought.

Three rifles accompanied me on this trip; my Remington 700 chambered in .300 Win Mag, my Remington 710 chambered in .270, and my AR-15 chambered in 5.56. I also brought along my Bullseye Camera System for tracking my shots on paper. If you don't have one of these you are working too hard. These not only save time, but they save frustration and get you dialed in quickly.

Back at home, I had set up my .300 WM with a Vortex Viper HS LR rifle scope for long range hunting. At the range, I set up my Bullseye Camera System and target at 100 yards to dial in on. Changing things up this time, I opted to bore sight my rifle and then adjust the scope to get on the paper faster. This works incredibly well and I highly recommend it. The ammunition of choice were hand loads of 38 gr of H4895 powder and 180 gr Barnes TTSX bullets. In nine shots I had three touching in the bullseye. No brag, just fact.


I moved on to my AR-15 because I really wanted to get it set properly for coyote hunting. Without the ability to bore sight, I guesstimated where I'd hit and I will be honest, it took a few more shots to get on paper. Even still, the combo of the Bullseye system, Vortex scope, and handloads allowed me to dial in quickly and make accurate shots out to 100 yards.


On to the Remington .270, which happens to be one of my favorite rifles. It was willed to me from my uncle a couple years back and I fell in love with the accuracy of this weapon, plus I am a bit sentimental and love the fact that he hunted with it. All of my scopes were properly set up at home and the rings torqued properly. I checked everything over and bore sighted it in. After a few shots, I made some adjustments and fired another group. This one was way off and I was now 9" away from where I was initially! I checked the scope, chamber, barrel, and didn't see anything wrong, so I sent another group down range. This time it was much closer. It fluctuated back and forth between being accurate and then way off. I took a much closer look at the rifle and felt a movement I hadn't felt before. On closer inspection, I noticed the actual picatinny rail base was loose! Not just a little either. It was very loose, but I hadn't noticed that on the bench. I packed it up for a closer look back home.


At home, I removed the scope rings and scope. The rail was loose, so I also removed that. That is when I discovered the problem. The screws were covered in so much dirt and crud that they weren't gripping when installed. It was amazing to see, but also a reminder that I should have taken things apart when I first received the rifle, cleaned it up, and reassembled everything. I cleaned up the screws with my Dremmel tool, cleaned the screw holes with Q-tips and alcohol many times, and then allowed it to dry. This time I used blue Lok-tite on the screw threads, too. After torquing everything down, the scope is now anchored properly and is ready to be sighted in again.

Let this be a lesson to everyone. It sure was to me. I consider myself very careful and safety conscious, but this was one time that slipped through the cracks. We are human and mistakes happen. I have learned much from this and hope you have, too. Now it is time to head back to the range and get this sighted in properly!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Bass Pro Fall Classic - Meet the Local Pros Recap

The Bass Pro Fall Classic is underway and last weekend was the 'Meet the Local Pros' weekend. I was blessed to be able to share about archery, bowhunting, and optics through four seminars over the two days. What a great weekend!

Photo courtesy of Shannon Gauthier

 
In my 'How to Find a Big Buck Seminar', I was able to pass around the Diamondback 8x42s and the Razor HD 10x42s. I got some great feedback and explained why the Razors are better for California hunting because of the superb glass, wicked smooth focus knob, and the fact that you can glass in really low light with ease. The next thing you know,  guys want to try them out and before long they are buying them. I was trying them out over two days and with that I came to the conclusion that I really want to buy a pair, but not of the 10x42s. The Diamondback 10x42s are great (especially at that price), but those Razor HD 12x50s I tried are by far the best glass I have used. To be honest, they are the only 12x50s I have found I can use because my interpupillary distance is so narrow that most binoculars don't adjust far enough for me to comfortably see through them well. Kudos to Vortex for making that happen. I had no idea that a company made some high focus glass that I could actually utilize well!

The seminar that most attended was fine tuning your archery set-up. I was surprised and delighted at the same time. I had a great time talking with everyone about what is happening with their gear, how to adjust it for better shooting, and I shared many tips and techniques for dialing everything in well. If you think that is a seminar you'd like to attend, let me know and I'll set another one up.

I'll be posting up a review of the Diamondback 10x42s in the next couple weeks, along with the new tripod mount. I will tell you that I love the new tripod mount. We had some good in-store discussion about that, too. Already have a few guys looking to buy their own this week. Sweet!

I am planning on heading to the desert this Saturday to get my three rifles dialed in. All three have new Vortex scopes and are ready for action. Let the fun begin!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Women's Hunting Workshop this Saturday at Bass Pro Shops!


How many of you women would like to get into hunting, but have no idea where to begin? It can be daunting and frustrating to say the least. Bass Pro Shops and Rachel Von Fleck are now giving you a chance to learn...for FREE!

Rachel Von Fleck is an avid Southern California hunter and fisher and will be giving a 'Women's Hunting Workshop' at 3:00 PM (in front of the fish tank) where she will cover many topics from how she got started, what she likes to hunt, and tips for YOU to get started! There will be some great giveaway items, so bring your questions because now is the perfect time to ask!

Follow her adventures on Instagram @VonFleck.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Bass Pro Fall Hunting Classic - Free Seminars and Meet the Pros!


Come on out and say hello this Saturday and Sunday at the Bass Pro Shops Fall Hunting Classic in Rancho Cucamonga! It's Local Pro Weekend! Let's talk hunting, shooting, archery, and gear. I'll be manning the Vortex Optics table upstairs with some fun giveaways!

There will be some great deals on all hunting gear, optics, as well as some awesome giveaways! I'll be giving seminars on bowhunting (improving your aim), scent control, and optics. Plus I'll go over strategies and tactics to get that big buck! See you there Saturday and Sunday!

Here is my seminar schedule!

Sat. 19th
11am – Archery Insights: Improving Your Aim
2pm – Stealth & Scent Control
4pm – Bag a Big Buck: Tips & Tactics 

 
Sun. 20th
11am – Hone the Harvest: Archery Fine Tuning


See you out there!

Monday, August 14, 2017

WINNER Announced! GIVEAWAY Time! HHA Sports Virtus Arrow Rest


Hunting season is right around the corner and I am sure some of you like to improve your archery set up. Well now is the time! Who wants to win some new gear?

Last week I posted my review of the Virtus Arrow Rest and I love it. Now it is your chance to win one for yourself. 

  
There are a few ways you can enter. For each entry, you will have to come back to THIS post and let me know you completed the task.  Leave a SEPARATE comment for EACH task completed. That means on day one you can have ten (10) comments and three more every day after. Sweet! At the end of the giveaway, I will choose a winner via RNG and post it here. If you are chosen as the winner I will verify the entry, so be sure to follow the rules. 

The person who shares shares this giveaway the most will get a little something, too.

Here are the ways you can enter:
  1. Leave me a comment below and tell me what bow you will mount this on. You must leave a valid email address for me to contact you if you win. (i.e. thesocalbowhunter @ yahoo - this keeps the spambots at bay) (+1 entry)
  2. LIKE the HHA Sports FB page and let them know The SoCal Bowhunter sent you. (+2 entries)
  3. LIKE the SoCal Bowhunter FB page and post your FB username in a comment below so I know who to look for. (+2 entries)
  4. Share the giveaway post on Facebook (once per day). (+1 entry) 
  5. Follow HHA Sports on Instagram (+2 entries)
  6. Follow me on Instagram (+2 entries) 
  7. Share the giveaway post on Instagram (once per day). (+1 entry) 
  8. Follow HHA Sports on Twitter. If you already follow, leave a comment saying so. (+2 entries)
  9. Follow the SoCal Bowhunter on Twitter. If you already follow, leave a comment saying so. (+2 entries)
  10. Tweet the text inside the quotes below about the giveaway (once per day). (+1 entry)

    '
     and  are giving away a Virtus Fall Away Arrow Rest on The SoCal Bowhunter blog! http://bit.ly/2wXNOEM'
Disclaimer: The giveaway starts August 14, 2017 and goes until midnight on August 20, 2017. Winner will be chosen through Random Number Generator based on legitimate entries. Winner will be contacted by email and announced on this post. Winner will have 24 hours to respond to my email. If there is no response, a new winner will be chosen. If you plan on being out of town, away from email, or can't follow directions, don't come whining to me if you miss out. The SoCal Bowhunter will ship product to giveaway winner. Odds of winning prize is dependent upon the total number of eligible entries received.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Gear Review: HHA Sports Virtus Fall Away Arrow Rest


HHA Sports released the Virtus Fall Away arrow rest for 2017 and coming from a company known for quality archery sights, I figured this rest would rank right up there, too. I was not mistaken! I have been field testing the Virtus for a short time in SoCal with great results.
On average, 22 veterans a day take their lives in America, struggling to cope with the physical and mental scars sustained during their time of service. 

In an effort to raise awareness of this issue and help those in need, 2.2% of the profits from the sales of the Virtus rest will go to the Operation HHAUSA project to actively involve veterans in the sport of archery and hunting.

The Virtus was installed in less than 15 minutes. Now, it's no secret that I love my HHA sights, and the Virtus ranks right up there with yet another great product from them. I would recommend making a slight mark, in pencil, on your bow where you current rest sits. It makes installation that much faster so you can line everything up. Plus, I recommend reading the directions in full. One of the benefits to the Virtus is that you can draw the cord through the cable attachment OR through the rest itself. It allows you to sync everything up and allows the rest to come up perfectly at full draw. 


The rubber on the prong area is excellent for keeping the arrow still when setting an arrow in place. It is quiet, but also keeps the arrow still when loading it up.


The Virtus is extremely quiet when cocking and when firing an arrow. Really quiet! I love that feature of the rest. No spring noises, no slap of it hitting the riser, and no grinding. It functions very well. I shot round after round after round and my groups were tight, the bow was quiet, and the rest quickly became one of my favorite parts of my bow. 

As with any of their product, it carries the 100% Lifetime Warranty from HHA Sports. All HHA products are made in the USA and carry a 100% lifetime guarantee. That should matter to you! Should your Virtus fail, return it to them and they will repair or replace it within 48 hours and return it to you. Pretty sweet, right? 

Retailing from $129.99, the HHA Virtus Fall Away arrow rest is a great buy for a top rate product. I have been a fan of HHA Sports sights for years and they solidified it even more with the addition of the Virtus . Do I recommend it? You bet I do! In fact, I am already removing my other rests to install the Virtus on each of my bows. I think it is that good!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

ANNOUNCEMENT: August 5 Scouting Trip Details


I am taking a group of new and some experienced hunters out on August 5, 2017 to scout for deer to learn new techniques and how to scout properly. I plan on heading to a spot early (probably 4-5 AM) and start scouting an area in either the Angeles National Forest or the San Bernardino National Forest. I will take suggestions from you guys, too. Otherwise, you will have to live with wherever I take you.

We may scout all day and we may move around a bit. If you can carpool you will be better off. 4-wheel drive is not required. I plan on taking pictures for my partners and to show Bass Pro what a good seminar can lead to. Feel free to email me with any questions before the scouting trip. You can find my email in the contact section. I prefer email because I will send out reminders and requirements to everyone at once.

I am going to limit it to the first ten (10) hunters that get back to me.

If you wish to attend, you must email me with your name, contact #, and let me know if you can scout just the morning or all dayThis way I can plan on what to bring to help you guys out and send you guys a list of what you will need. This is also the only way to find out the location. I will not be posting it on Facebook or my blog.  

Monday, July 24, 2017

Bass Pro Shops Seminar Recap: A Great Saturday!


Last Saturday, I offered up an impromptu Deer Scouting and Optics seminar at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. It was short notice, but I had people asking for one, so I set it up. I am so glad I did! We owe a big thank you to Shannon at BPS for scrambling to make it happen and getting us a room! Thank you, Shannon! I really want to thank the hunters that took the time out of their busy Saturday to take part in the seminar and ask a bunch of questions. We covered everything from maps, tracks, water sources, game trails, game cameras, glassing, and proper optics for the job. In fact, my scouting and optics seminar was slated for an hour, but ended up going 2.5 hours and I had to cut it short due to my  next seminar. It was fantastic!

I want to say thank you to Vortex Optics for helping out with some great giveaway items and with making great optics. The guys wanted to know about my Vortex Optics and checked out my set-up. You guys rock!


Right after giving my scouting seminar, I held a Gearing Up for Long Range Shooting seminar (which had a great turnout of more than 30 people). I discussed some of the most used weapons for competitive shooting, ammunition, optics, and offered some tips and techniques. I briefly covered some hunting tips, but I really wanted to focus on shooting alone. I mentioned that if people wanted a great guide to get going they should read 'Long Range Shooting Handbook: A beginner’s Guide to Precision Rifle Shooting' by Ryan Cleckner. It's a must read for the long range shooter. After the seminar and talking with some long range shooters, I took a walk to the scope case to drool a bit and make a wish list for my rifles. Oh yes, there are some beauties in that case! 

ANNOUNCEMENT: I am taking a group of new and some experienced hunters out on August 5 to scout for deer to learn new techniques and how to scout properly. There will be more details coming, but if you wish to attend, you must email me with your name, contact #, and let me know if you can scout just the morning or all day. I plan on heading to a spot early (probably 4-5 AM) and start scouting an area in either the Angeles National Forest or the San Bernardino National Forest. (I will take suggestions from you guys, too.) We may scout all day and we may move around a bit. If you can carpool you will be better off. 4-wheel drive is not required, but it could prove useful. I plan on taking pictures for my partners and to show Bass Pro what a good seminar can lead to. Feel free to email me with any questions before the scouting trip. You can find my email in the contact section. I prefer email because I will send out reminders and requirements to everyone at once.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Bass Pro Shops Seminar: Deer Scouting and Optics


On Saturday, July 22 at 11:30AM, I will be giving a free 'Deer Scouting and Optics Seminar' at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I'll cover where to begin, optics, the methods and tactics you should use, movement and the lack thereof, and I will stick around and answer your questions after. Looking forward to meeting you guys!

Room Location: The Bass Pro Conference room, by the second floor bathrooms. 

Bass Pro Shops: Gear Up For Long Range Shooting Seminar


On Saturday, July 22 at 2:00 PM, I will be giving a free 'Gear Up for Long Range Shooting Seminar' at Bass Pro Shops in Rancho Cucamonga, CA. I'll cover what you need to get started (firearm and optics), what to read up on, and how it can help with hunting. It's set up to be a 20-30 minute seminar, but I will stick around and answer your questions after. Looking forward to meeting you guys!

Location: Upstairs, in front of the elevator by the hunting department.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

2018 Anteris Alliance Try & Buy Event


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Gear Review: Sport Ridge Heavy Duty Rail Mounted Bi-pod


Positioning your rifle properly is one of the keys to making a great shot. When it came to my AR-15 build and upgrades, I field tested multiple bi-pods and one stood out as the clear winner. The Sport Ridge Heavy Duty Rail Mounted Bi-pod lives up to its name of being heavy duty and has some excellent benefits. I have been shooting with the 6-9" rail mount model for the past few months with great results. 

The Sport Ridge 6-9" Rail Mounted Bi-pod was chosen due to wanting something fairly short to set up in an open field or rocky hillsides for hunting coyotes and also target shooting from the prone position. I was also on a budget and wanted to find something sturdy, easy to use, and reliable. I could have opted for the longer legs, but when it comes down to it, in those situations I will use a backpack or a tree.


First off, the Sport Ridge rail mounted bi-pod attaches directly to the picatinny rail of my AR with ease and locks solidly into place. It is pivot friendly with a solid locking mechanism if you want it to stay put (Low Profile Indexing Quick Lever™). Not only does it stay put, but when you want to it is super smooth to adjust. I was able to simply reach forward, adjust the lever and cant my rifle whichever way I needed to, lock the lever back down and shoot. It was that simple and easy to do. 


The springs on this bi-pod are wicked strong and really help the legs stay put when extended. I was impressed with how powerful the springs are. I have tried other name-brand bi-pods with powerful springs and they don't hold a candle to the Sport Ridge Heavy Duty Rail Mounted Bi-pod. When shooting, the legs stay anchored well and take a beating. The legs pop out and retract manually. I plopped my AR down on the bi-pod with the legs up and in, and with them out and extended to see how durable they were. The legs stayed put, held true, and functioned as specified.

At $82.00, this bi-pod is not inexpensive, but it is also not cheap. It is rugged, strong, and works well in any terrain. The Sport Ridge Heavy Duty Rail Mounted Bi-pod holds its own as a high-quality, tough-as-nails bi-pod. If you are looking to add a bi-pod to your AR or upgrade to a high quality bi-pod, choose the Sport Ridge and you'll enjoy hunting and shooting even more.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Heading Into Father's Day Weekend

Life comes at you hard and decisions are sometimes made for you. Sometimes it's simply that you are just busy and that's how it has been for me the past couple months. I've been neck deep into a couple of major work projects that I am very proud of, so my blogging has suffered, but it's all good in my world. Quite honestly, I have spent more time reading, exercising, and spending time with my family than worry about getting my thoughts into a blog post. I had a few minutes today to jot down some things I wanted to share with you all.

First off, the SHARE hunts are available on the CA DFW website now. For under $12 for each chance, it's worth it if you want to hunt elk, deer, bear, or pigs. Just log in and pick the ones you want to try for.

Testing gear has been at the forefront of my free time, too. I have a couple of articles coming out on CA Sportsman on my gear, upgrades, and some field testing. I hope you all have a chance to to read the articles.

I have also been talking with the biologists and game wardens in the area to get more info on hunting this year. With the rains we have had and the nice weather, we should start seeing more and more wildlife in many of the areas. It's time to get the trail cams out and get to scouting. I know Brett has started with the cams and he is seeing some nice results.

I hope all of you fathers have a wonderful weekend with your families and kiddos. I know I will and can't wait to enjoy the weekend. I am thinking some archery practice, steaks on the grill, a cold brew, and a cigar. Sounds about right to me!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Free Saturday Seminars at Bass Pro Rancho Cucamonga


I will be giving two free (Yes, FREE) seminars at Bass Pro Rancho Cucamonga, CA this Saturday, June 3rd.

12:30 PM - Scent Control 101

Tips and techniques on how to stay as scent-free as possible before and during your hunt. Some topics will be what clothing to wear, what to eat or not eat, clothing storage, and playing the wind.

3:00 PM - Day Hunt vs. Multi-day Hunting Trips: What's in my Pack

Do I really need this? How much does it weigh? I will share what essentials you will need for a one day hunting trip vs. a multi-day trip. Topics covered will be what packs I use, what essentials, and what items you may or may not truly need. Water, food, and pack weight will all be discussed!

I am looking forward to meeting you all and hearing your questions. I will stick around to chat after!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Gear Review: Hawkeye Custom Cheek Rests


Lining up properly for your shot is one of the most important steps in rifle shooting. Proper eye relief needs to be maintained and you need a proper cheek weld to do so. For a couple years I have used a makeshift cheek rest on my Remington .270 and this year I needed an upgrade. Including my homemade build, I tried three types out with very different results. While this is a comparison of what I tried and tested, I am sharing this as a full review of the Hawkeye Custom Cheek Rests. 

My homemade cheek rest didn't fare so well. You can barely see it!



 
When I inherited my .270 from my uncle, I added a new scope with high rings. While the stock has a built-in cheek rest, I needed one that would elevate my head a bit more for proper alignment. I had some extra foam table edge protectors, so I cut a piece to length and slid an Allen buttstock bullet holder over the top. This cob job worked for a couple years, but it certainly wasn't the best solution. It really needed some duct tape to keep things in place. This year it all fell apart and wouldn't stay put. I needed a better option.

The Voodoo Tactical cheek rest kit. This didn't work well at all.


 
I searched online and checked out many different options. My first choice was to save some money and purchase the Voodoo Tactical Buttstock Cheek Rest with Ammo Carrier Case on Amazon for around $15.00. Reviews were decent and a few tips and tricks made it sound like this would work well. I installed it and ran into issues right away. There was Velcro everywhere that wouldn't cinch down correctly. It was bulky and awkward, and it was really high. I removed some of the foam inside the unit, Velcroed everything back together and tested it. The cheek weld worked, but the front of the rest would not cinch up tight enough. I had options like tucking the Velcro strap in the back, or simply cutting it off. No matter what I tried, I was not satisfied, so I sent it back for a refund.

The Hawkeye Custom Cheek Rests with the 60mm bolt kit.

 
After more research and deciding I needed to suck it up and find something worthwhile, I found family-owned Hawkeye Custom Cheek Rests. I emailed them and explained my situation and asked them what they would recommend. Their website allows you to choose Kydex cheek rests in three different thicknesses; Elite - .125", Operator - .080", and Standard - .060" mil thickness. Austin recommended that I try one in the Operator and one in Elite. I knew that in order to utilize one of the Hawkeye cheek rests that I would need to drill into my stock to mount it properly. Honestly, that didn't bother me with a synthetic stock. I chose the Operator in gun metal gray, and black for the Elite. After my order, I had them in two days (and they were shipped from the East Coast). Super fast turnaround.

Inside the box you get:
  • (1) Kydex Cheek Rest .080" (Gunmetal)
  • (2) 60mm low profile black bolts (black)
  • (2) Knurled steel thumb knobs (black)
  • Neoprene Washers
  • Installation Instructions
Measure twice, drill once. I took great care in lining up the holes.

 
I read the installation instructions twice, measured twice, and followed the recommendation to use masking tape as a guide. I made my marks, did my drilling and followed exactly what the directions stated. I used smaller drill bits at first and worked my way up. The major issue I had was the fact that my synthetic stock has a built-in cheek rest. I opted to try the .080" rest and it conformed perfectly. The .125" was far too thick and, as stated on the website, would not bend well. I got the cheek rest set exactly where I needed it, tested it out and I was in business. I am very happy with the Hawkeye Custom Cheek Rest!


The Operator retails for $33.99 and the Elite retails for $38.99. I think the Elite would work well for a uniform stock, but for those with odd shaped stocks or just want a solid cheek rest, the Hawkeye Custom Cheek Rests in .080" work the best. I have not tested the .060", but it only comes in black and I wanted a different color. I highly recommend these guys for great customer service and also offering a great solution in the cheek rest category.