Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Product Review: Fuel100 Electro-Bites

The Electro-Bites from Fuel100 come in a small pouch and have a variety of flavors.



 
After a good workout or a good hike, I am always looking for a snack. I rarely snack during my hikes, I unless it's a long hike where I burn plenty of calories. Most times my body craves protein, but sometimes its straight up carbs. Fuel100 Electro-Bites (not to be confused with another product out there) is geared toward people needing a boost during or after a workout. I had heard of them and had the opportunity to try them out for myself.

These came out a bit crushed and they seem fragile.




 
Electro-Bites are gluten and soy free, so those of you with allergies will like that. They come is a small, sealed pouch with 100 calories of different flavors. I was able to try the Pumpkin Spice, Apple Cinnamon, Salty Vinegar, Salty Vanilla and Simply Salty. They pack well and the pouch is easily opened.


When you open the pouch, do not be alarmed. If you are a fisherman you will understand this, but they look like fish bait. Honest! They look like fish bait, but larger. They are very lightweight and crumble easily. The best way I found to eat them was to open the bag and pour them into my mouth. That way you don't lose any and you don't crush them.

They are made from potatoes and coconut oil, and the potatoes are evident when you eat them. They are very starchy (from the potato) and I just didn't care for the texture or the aftertaste. You notice the coconut oil as it tastes kinda fishy. You can't miss the taste of oil. It's a bit gritty when you chew and you definitely need water to wash them down. They have a salty, starchy aftertaste.

I like the fact that they are small, come in different flavors and easily portable. I like that they are a good source or energy.

I did not care for the texture (gritty and sticks to your teeth), flavor (goes away quickly), salty aftertaste, or the fact that they don't have any protein in them. It's simply all carbs.

These would be great for an endurance athlete or someone playing a sport that involves burning a great deal of energy in a short time, but I can't see these being great for the hunter or outdoorsman. Each Electro-Bites 6-pack is only $13.20, so it's a good deal for the price. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be adding these to my food list on long hikes or backcountry hunts.

I received the Electro-Bites from Fuel100 as coordinated by Deep Creek PR an Outdoor Industry Public Relations Company in consideration for review publication. All opinions are strictly my own. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Introduction to Archery Seminar this Saturday at Bass Pro Shops


Monday, January 23, 2017

Gear Review: Caldwell G3 Electronic Stereo Hearing Protection


Protecting yourself from hearing loss at the shooting range is something everyone should be doing. Wearing your hearing protection should be key, but it can be frustrating when your buddies are trying to guide you or ask you questions. What is a person to do? Allow me to share with you my experience with the Caldwell G3 Electronic Stereo Hearing Protection and how they change all of that.

As I always do, I research a company and the product they want me to review. When I was asked about the G3s and doing a review, I read about them and thought it would be a perfect opportunity. You see, I go to a desert range bi-monthly, and we fire off between 500-1000 rounds each time, and we also talk and share ideas while we do it. For a while now it’s been a "Huh?", "What was that?", or "Say again?" kind of experience. We couldn't hear one another.


When I first received the G3s, I could not go to the shooting range with my friends, but I had an idea. I installed the six AAA batteries and shared them with my three shooting buddies. I asked them to take them out to the range and evaluate them for me. I knew I would also be testing them myself, but they would have first crack at them. They took them out and each took turns wearing them and adjusting the sensitivity. I am paraphrasing here, but they said they were amazed that you could hear the person ten feet away from you while another person was shooting thirty feet away. Vice versa, when someone was shooting right next to them they could have a conversation with someone thirty feet away and hear them clearly. I would say that’s excellent! I asked them the important question of ‘Were your ears and hearing protected though?’ The chorus of Yes’s was enough for me. Now it was my turn to try them out.

Our next outing to the shooting range gave me the opportunity to shoot anything from my AR-15, to my long range .300 WM and my hearing was protected. I could hear the G3s engage when a shot went off to lower the sound of the percussion in your ears. Over and over I did this and most of the time I was talking with my friends as the shooting was taking place. I could hear them well, especially when they were behind me or off to the side at ninety degrees. I found the G3s very comfortable and easily adjustable.


When I took them to SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, I knew that they would get a workout. Imagine my surprise when my shooting buddies all had purchased the G3 hearing protection! They were believers! I used mine all day and they worked very well. All over the shooting range they worked great and protected my hearing while allowing me to have a conversation with someone.

The only negative thing to say is that if the concussion is behind you (you are turned away from the shooter) while you are having a conversation, you will indeed hear it a bit louder than if you were facing the shooter.

A big positive, besides protecting your hearing, is the battery life. I had my G3s on for over 18 hours and the batteries still work well. They say the batteries will last 250 hours, so I have a long way to go, but it is good to know they will last.

Hearing protection like this used to cost over $100, but the Caldwell G3 Electronic Stereo Hearing Protection comes in at $39.99. You can’t put a price on protecting your hearing, but at a price like that you should buy two. They work great and I highly recommend them. These will accompany me on every trip to the range.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 SHOT Show Boasts Big Attendance and Positive Outlook for the Firearms Industry

LAS VEGAS - The 39th Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show, owned and operated by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), signaled a positive year ahead for the firearms industry. Strong attendance, upbeat buyers and sellers, and a series of packed special events that collectively made up "SHOT Week" resulted in one of the top-rated SHOT Shows.

The show spanned January 17-20 at the Sands Expo. Industry professionals packed the aisles from the opening bell, and attendance totaled nearly 65,000, surpassing last year's turnout to make it the second most attended SHOT Show ever.

At one of the show's biggest events, the NSSF State of the Industry Dinner on the first day, NSSF President and CEO Steve Sanetti, in a speech titled "A New Hope," listed a series of priorities that industry will focus on to help protect its future and that of its customers. "Our overriding hope is that when it comes to helping stop the misuse of firearms by criminals, and preventing access to them by legally prohibited felons, the violently mentally ill, and the drug gangs who terrorize disarmed inhabitants of our cities, the American public will realize we are all on the same side."

There were thousands of products for buyers to see on the show floor, encompassing firearms, ammunition, accessories, optics, knives, gun safes, apparel and law enforcement equipment, among other categories. More than 500 new products from 338 companies were on display in the show's New Product Center, sponsored by U.S. Concealed Carry Association. In addition to the more than 1,600 exhibiting companies on the main show floors, the NEXT 2.0 Pavilion provided first-time vendors from the show's extensive waiting list with welcome visibility and potential new customers.

SHOT Show is the largest trade show of its kind in the world, attracting attendees from more than 100 countries. "I think we've arrived at a point where we're truly balancing the needs of an enormous crowd of industry professionals with the venue and services they need to successfully set the course of their businesses for the months ahead," said Chris Dolnack, NSSF Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, "That's not a small feat, and we are pleased to see that our efforts to produce a continuously high-quality show has once again paid off."

The show drew excellent reviews from exhibitors and attendees.

Jan Mladek of Smith & Wesson said, "SHOT is always a great opportunity to showcase our product line. Our traffic numbers were huge, and I think we reached a record number of people this year."

Matt Allbritton of Daniel Defense said that celebrity appearances at their booth were a huge draw for them. "Additionally, SHOT is always very productive for us, giving us time to meet with our existing clientele and a chance to meet new customers and build relationships."

GunBroker.com's Donald Hall said, "We're swamped! It's been a banner year, with our gun auctions drawing all sorts of customers. We're happy to sponsor the NSSF Member Lounge and happy to see it full of members."

Ram Trucks' vehicles were on display in the main lobby of the Sands Expo. "The attendees are always passionate, as pickup trucks play an important role in the outdoor lifestyle," said Dave Sowers. "SHOT is an excellent venue for meeting new potential customers."

In addition to title sponsors Ram Trucks, U.S. Concealed Carry Association and Daniel Defense, SHOT Show supporters included Aguila Ammunition, Brownells, Carhartt GunBroker.com, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, Vista Outdoor and Winchester Ammunition. "We couldn't do this year after year without our sponsors," said Dolnack. "We appreciate them taking their support of SHOT Show to another level."

For buyers like Recon Defense's Lisa MacLeod, the show was a success. "This is a whole new level," she said. "But in spite of the huge crowd, the exhibitors we needed to find were easily located, and we are very impressed with the courtesy of the staff."

At the Vista Outdoor booth, the crowd was thick and J.J. Reich said, "We have had several outdoor personalities give presentations this year, including some online personalities like Hickok45 and 22Plinkster. Our new product releases received a lot of attention."

Aguila Ammunition's Josh Sadler was pleased with the show as well. "We had a very productive show. Our sales numbers are already up as a result, and we're excited about next year already. Thanks, SHOT Show!"

At the State of the Industry Dinner, the sold-out crowd of more than 2,200 were treated to the unique humor of Mike Rowe, star of the wildly popular Dirty Jobs television show and advocate of skilled trade workers. He had the crowd rolling in laughter for more than an hour. Other big moments were the presentation of the NSSF Ken Sedlecky Lifetime Achievement Award to Alan Mossberg, who guided O.F. Mossberg and Sons for decades, and the Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator Award to Ashley Hlebinsky, curator of the Cody Firearms Museum at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West, writer and TV personality.

The SHOT Show's official opening on Tuesday was preceded by many events.

The kickoff event the 3rd Annual NSSF/HAVA Golf Classic, held on Sunday in support of Honored American Veterans Afield, which works to aid the healing process of military veterans through hunting and other shooting sports activities. More than $150,000 has been raised in support of this effort since the golf outing began in 2015.

Monday saw some of the SHOT Show's most popular pre-show events-SHOT Show University, an education forum for retailers; Industry Day at the Range, an opportunity for media and buyers to experience hands-on testing of products; NSSF's first Executive Management Seminar, providing business information to executives and rising managers; and the all-new Supplier Showcase, featuring more than 260 third-party OEM suppliers that reached a crowd of nearly 3,000 designers, engineers, purchasing agents and others in the manufacturing sector.

"We are very pleased with the outcome of the 2017 SHOT Show, particularly how our new offerings like the Supplier Showcase were received," said Dolnack. "We want all our attendees and sponsors to know that our dedication to listening to their feedback, innovating at SHOT Show and working hard to improve the show experience for everyone will continue."

Preparations have already begun for next year's 40th anniversary SHOT Show, which will return to the Sands Expo on January 23-26, 2018.

-30-

About NSSF
The National Shooting Sports Foundation is the trade association for the firearms industry. Its mission is to promote, protect and preserve hunting and the shooting sports. Formed in 1961, NSSF has a membership of more than 12,000 manufacturers, distributors, firearms retailers, shooting ranges, sportsmen's organizations and publishers. For more information, visit www.nssf.org.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Gearing Up for SHOT Show 2017


In just a few days I'll be heading to Las Vegas, NV for the 2017 SHOT Show. After having been invited many times, I finally decided that this was the year to go. I want to see whats new and exciting, meet some folks, secure some relationships, and do my part in helping law-abiding California firearms owners make a stand.

For those who have asked, I'll be at Industry Day at the Range all day Monday and hitting the floor at the Sands Expo Center on Tuesday. I plan on getting some great information on reloading equipment, photos, and video of some of the new gear available. What do YOU guys want to see and read about? Leave me a comment here, send me a message on Facebook, Instagram, email me, or DM me on Twitter. 

I'm not staying too far from the Sands, so if you want to meet up, grab a bite to eat, or swap stories, let me know. I am only in town the 16th and 17th, so hit me up early. Only a few more days...

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Gear Review: Bullseye Camera Systems AmmoCam Long Range Edition

Image provided by Bullseye Camera Systems, LLC.

The days of hiking back and forth, hundreds of yards or even a mile, to your target are over. In my younger days, I would have no problem running out to the target to mark off the latest rounds. These were the days before the popularity of spotting scopes and high quality optics. Those days are over. Now you can see your shot and adjust from over a mile away with only lifting your finger. The Bullseye AmmoCam Long Range Edition is something I have been testing out for a few months and I think you will like what you read and see.


Early last year, I emailed Bullseye Camera Systems, LLC (BCS hereafter) owner Nick Skrepetos and asked him a few questions regarding his two systems. Nick has a background in developing software and creating superior products. He has developed two BCS options, one for up to 300 yards and one for up to a mile (yes, a mile!). I wanted to see if there was a possibility of simply using the 300 yard model for what I was looking to do with my 300 Win Mag. He knew where I was going with the questions and was very up front with me, explaining the differences and need for each unit. He said I should use the AmmoCam Long Range Edition and I agreed because why would I want to limit myself.

Sighting in at the Angeles Range where even the safety officers were impressed.

For many months I used the AmmoCam Long Range Edition, but I was limited with the areas I was shooting. All of the areas limited me to 300 yards or less. So I tested it over and over. At 300 yards, I sometimes used the AmmoCam and other times I did not. Let me tell you, it was awesome to shoot, but simply put, not using it sucked. I was trying to figure out where my shot was, but worst of all I had to hike up the mountain to view the target to verify my hit (or miss). With the AmmoCam and my iPad I could see my shot right away.

The blue circle and arrow show where I had to set my target at 300 yards. It's a long hike up.

Here’s how the BCS AmmoCam Long Range Edition works. Yes, this is from the website, because this explains it better than I ever could.

The long range edition is ideal for shooters shooting at any distance up to, and over, 1 MILE, sighting in their firearm, target practicing or developing loads. Completely self-contained, the long range edition sets up in under a minute and is ready to use.
  •     HD Camera w/Night Vision
  •     Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Battery Pack w/Fast Charger (12+ Hour Run Time)
  •     Works out to 1 MILE+ with Clear Line of Sight.
  •     No Cellular or Internet Service Required.
  •     Secure AmmoCan Style Carrying Case
  •     Completely Self-Contained  
  •     Bullseye Target Manager software app for iPhone, iPad, Android Devices, Kindle Fire/HD, Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8 and 10!
  •     Free Software Updates
  •     Fully Weatherproof
  •     Includes BaseStation Receiver
  •     14" x 8" x 10" - 7LBS

First off, download the Bullseye Camera System app on your phone, iPad, Android, or Windows device. I recommend more than one if you have them. I downloaded it to my phone and iPad. I prefer the iPad because it has a larger viewing screen, but the phone works in a pinch. I also wanted to be sure that if the battery on my iPad expired that I had a backup viewer.


I did not test the night vision aspect. I hope to in the future.

The batteries lasted a long time. I had the system on for six hours one day and three another (without a recharge) and I still had two out of three green lights showing me power. After I recharged the unit, I took it on two more trips and they battery lasted over eight hours each time, with plenty to spare. There was never any issue with power.

You don’t need Cellular/Internet Service to use it as the system has it all built in. Yes, it is built-in. The system generates its own WI-FI Hotspot so you do not need Internet or Cellular Service! It works anywhere and all you need is an iPhone, iPad, or Android Device. Plus, you don't have to worry about any monthly fees.

Setting up the view of the camera - part one.
Zooming in close on your target for a more accurate reading - part two.

After you shoot, you get to see each shot blink each time you shoot to easily identify the shot! No more spending time trying to figure out which shot was yours or having to hike out to record your shot. It’s all done for you! Be sure to save and review each shot sequence to analyze your shooting sessions. I forgot this the first time and was really mad at myself.

Marking different shot sequences and shooters was very easy and very helpful.

You can have multiple shooters and viewers. I tested this out at the range with another hunter. We were able to tag our own shots on the same target to see where they were and who was closest to the center. It was so cool and very helpful. Multiple users can shoot the same target, and multiple users can view the target (on different devices) at the same time.


I used the system for my rifle shooting and also my practice at the archery range. Yes, it works great for shots over 50 yards. When you have to wear glasses all the time this system was a huge help. The image above is at 60 yards and seeing the arrows on the screen helped immensely.

BCS surprised me in the middle of 2016 with a software update that was incredible. This one now had a way to record each shooting session and write details of the shoot for reference later on. There are also many new features that you can set and adjust for your scope, settings, wind, target, and more. Nick and his team know what they are doing and to be honest, there is probably more here than you might ever use. Don’t let that intimidate you! It’s a fantastic system and I still have much to learn.

The only issue I had were in the fact that the system is very lightweight. It's good and bad, and here's why. It’s great for hauling it out at a distance, but we had considerable winds a few days at the range. The stand that you set the AmmoCam on is great, but if a gust hits it just right it throws the camera view off. I figured out quickly that I needed to anchor the AmmoCam with some rocks and wood bits to secure it better.

Now, I ask you to continue reading after I post the price. The Short Range is $349 and the Long Range Edition is $649. If you plan to invest a great deal of time shooting and recording your data to improve, this system is a must have. If you are simply plinking and don’t care how close you get to the center of the target, then continue doing what you are doing. These systems are designed for the long range shooters that want to record their data, improve their shooting, and enjoy shooting more and more. These are great for hunters shooting different weapons, too. For those worried about accidental damage to the AmmoCan, you can buy the optional insurance for $29.95 from Bullseye Camera Systems that will cover your entire unit for two years. I am simply amazed at how well the system works and how well I was able to improve my shooting in the last year. This is, by far, one of the best products I have ever had the opportunity to field test. If any of you will be out at the ranges and want to see how it works, let me know because I won't hit the range without it.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Capping Off 2016 at the Range

Arriving at the desert shooting range was like a load had been lifted off my shoulders. I knew that I would be shooting some new weapons, shooting at longer ranges, and testing out some more gear. Plus, there is something about the smell of gunpowder on a 30 degree day that just makes you feel good inside. It was going to be a good day!

Piles of steel and brass littered the area. We left it much cleaner.

The first order of business was picking up spent cartridges all over the sand. It started off slow because the ground was frozen and we had to dig them out, but that didn’t deter me. I collected and deposited them on my tailgate. My three other companions were also collecting and they were also hauling in a heavy load. It’s truly sad to see so many people use these spots and not clean up after themselves. We pick up all of what we bring, our target debris and bras, but also the other brass, steel, and target remnants. Leave it cleaner than how you found it is how I was taught and hopefully we can teach a few others that same philosophy.

My co-worker Bill, his daughter Amanda, and co-worker Duane began unloading Bill’s truck while I unloaded mine. I grabbed my 9” gong target and my Bullseye Camera System and loaded them into my Badlands 2200. It was time for me to haul my gear up the hill to set up for some long range shooting. I was also reviewing the BCS AmmoCam and needed a final test before writing up my results. So I climbed, and sucked wind, climbed, coughed my head off, and climbed some more. Between all the Christmas cookies, my allergies, and the altitude, I was hurting. I finally reached my destination and set the target up, followed by the AmmoCam. 400 yards would make for a fun test of not only the AmmoCam Long Range Edition, but also my shooting skills.

The California desert bighorn ram playing peek-a-boo over the ridge while we set up.

This California desert bighorn ram was fearless as he fed down the hill.

Once I get back down the hill and continue unloading, I see Amanda walk over to her spotting scope and view something on the ridge. Now, I don’t remember her exact words, but it was something like, ‘There’s a sheep up there.’ Sure enough, there was a healthy California Desert Bighorn ram on the ridge looking at us. He was standing at 256 yards when I first ranged him, so we dropped everything and watched him. What a magnificent animal! I have been on multiple sheep surveys and sheep spring cleanings and have never seen a sheep. This was my first and he was a beauty! We got the optics out and my trusty MINOX 10x44 binoculars made the sight that much more enjoyable. He walked down the hill toward us, feeding the entire way. I snapped a few pictures through the handheld binoculars and stared in awe. It took him the better part of 45 minutes to make his way to the far side of the ridge and disappear. What a sight and experience!

We fired off round after round in the cold desert air. Between the AR-15s, the .270, and my .222 I was very happy to be out there. The big test was the AR as I had just completed building it in early December. There are some fine tune-ups to make, but overall I was happy with the results. What a fun weapon to get to know and to shoot.

The Bullseye Camera System software view on my iPad.

Three shots at 400 yards makes a guy feel pretty good.

When it came time to shoot some long range targets,out came the .300 WM. I had used it to take a whitetail at 200 yards in NY, but I wasn’t sure how well I would do at 400 yards. With my iPad out and everything loaded into the BCS, I fired off my first reload. Nothing. I viewed the shot on my iPad and saw what looked like a flier at the top of the target frame. Whoops! I needed to relax and focus. Four more shots and three hit the gong. There was a slight crosswind, so I took that into consideration and was very happy with the results! Three out of five hits on a 9” gong with 165 grain copper bullets, uphill, with about a 7-10 mph crosswind. I have a lot more to learn and will spend more time practicing, but this was a good day! The BCS AmmoCam worked really well for me. I’ll have a review up this week and for those of you who shoot out further than 300 yards, this will be a must have.

We finished off the day with some breakfast burritos with some homemade venison/feral pig chorizo. It took forever to cook, but they were delicious! After cleanup, we shot some more and started picking up. It took much less time to cleanup, until I remembered I needed to hike up the hill and retrieve my target and AmmoCam. This was after eating two breakfast burritos! Oh boy, that was a grueling hike and I thought for sure I’d be leaving the burritos on the ridge, but I held strong!

Back at the truck, we loaded everything up and began the drive home. It was a very long, tiring, traffic-heavy drive, but I made it home before dinner. The day had been a huge success all around and seeing some wildlife out there was icing on the cake. Now that deer hunting season is over, it’s time to focus on reviews, gear clean up, and hunting some pigs. I have a feeling that 2017 is going to be an epic year. Happy New Year everyone!