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By John Howard on 11/25/2015 9:59 AM

VZ58 Review and Upgrade

You know that awkward feeling of being greeted by someone who thinks they know who you are when in fact they are mistaken? That might be the story of the VZ58 here in America. So knowing the VZ58 like I do I wanted to introduce you and show you how to bring this often mis-identified gem up to speed. The VZ58 backstory here is intriguing. I, too, was once oblivious to it. Growing up during the Cold War cemented my love for the military arms of that era. This is particularly true of Communist Block arms that were mysterious and rare-to-unobtainable during my youth. The AK pattern rifles imported in quantity during the late 80s and early 90s provided my first opportunity to start collecting communist block guns. For many years I believed that the ubiquitous Kalashnikov was the only arm used as the standard rifle of the European Soviet elements. It was only later on that I became aware that this was a major oversight. The Czechs were not building just another AK variant. For that matter, the VZ58 isn't even remotely and AK rifle, but who knew?

By Erik Alexander on 11/18/2015 5:54 AM

Indiana Deer HuntOpening day for Indiana deer season hadn't gone like I'd envisioned it. Our hunting party had lost a deer, the weather wasn't what I'd expected - you'll want to read part one of this Indiana deer hunt story to see what we were dealing with that day. Sunday was warmer - 30 degrees in the morning, warming to 37 with a prediction of snow for late afternoon . I was hunting the ladder stand by the creek bottom that has historically been a great spot to see deer crossing the creek bed. I did see two coyotes in the early morning, but I didn’t have a clear shot. The day was uneventful until just after 2:30PM. I spotted a deer approximately fifty yards to my right but lost sight of it. Trees hid the deer’s movement. I waited impatiently and scanned the woods for any sign. I grunted my Nature’s Voice Deer Grunter a few times to see if curiosity would get the deer to move. Nothing…

By Erik Alexander on 11/15/2015 9:26 PM
Indiana deer huntDeer hunting in the Hoosier state has been a father and son tradition for me since 2008. I shot my first deer that year, a 10pt buck. It feels like yesterday and I’m amazed at how far I’ve come as a hunter and student of the gun. First experiences in the field are moments of both emotion and education. This is what drives hunters to do what they do. Last year’s Indiana deer hunt was no exception. A major cold front drove temperatures to 25 degrees below normal and blanketed the state with snow. The bitter cold changed the game plan and tested me physically and mentally. It had a major impact on deer behavior and gear performance. A Miami resident, I was not equipped for the weather and it was painfully obvious. In the end, patience, determination and a bit of luck would affect the outcome on the last hour of the last day in Indiana.
By Jonathan Owen on 11/10/2015 2:39 PM

rugged suppressors surge 762 reviewRugged Suppressors may be a new name in the sea of silencer companies making a splash in 2015, but their roots are deep. President and Surge 762 designer Henry Grahm owned SWR Suppressors years ago when I first ran across him. So when my friends at King’s Arsenal invited me to test drive the modular Surge 762 suppressor, I loaded up four cameras and headed out to film the demonstration. 

The modular concept is pretty cool - Why pay for more than one tax stamp? 

By Jonathan Owen on 11/4/2015 3:52 PM

Trijicon 3-9 AccuPower scopeTrijicon has a reputation for amazing glass and incredible ruggedness. The 3-9x riflescope range has been a staple of American hunting for generations. Put the two together and add a battery powered illuminated reticle and you have the Trijicon AccuPower 3-9x40 riflescope. I have four similar scopes at the moment and in this brief review I’ll tell you why I think the AccuPower scope is superior to much of its competition. 

By Jonathan Owen on 10/27/2015 11:16 AM

Remington RM380 first reviewJust about every hunter I know regularly concealed carries a pistol. That makes the rest of the story significant. Stay with me, and think “Small, Medium, Large.”

This press release just hit my inbox: “Remington Model RM380 Micro Pistol Now Shipping.” I’ve been waiting a year for that to happen. I tried to get a prerelease model. “You’ll have to wait for a production model like everyone else.” I get it, and I intend to wring this pistol out hard. You’ll see the video.

The fact of the matter is that I did shoot a prototype Remington RM380 pocket pistol a year ago at the prestigious Gunsite Academy. Add it to my list of prototypes I’ve shot that didn’t run perfectly. A year and hundreds of thousands of rounds later, Remington is finally shipping these. 

Here’s why I’m excited about the little RM380 pocket pistol – Small, Medium, Large...

By Jonathan Owen on 10/25/2015 10:57 PM

Tactical Solutions TSAR 300blk AR15Pick a silencer, any silencer, and add it your typical 300 Blackout AR-15. What you end up with is an overly long platform. Buy a $200 NFA tax stamp and you can run a shorter barrel to bring the overall length back down to something familiar. But what if you could start from scratch, designing an AR-15 intended to host your favorite .30 caliber suppressor? What if you could retain the benefits of a suppressed Short Barreled Rifle (SBR) while eliminating the hassle of NFA rules, regulation and the cost of tax stamps? The Tactical Solutions TSAR in 300 Blackout is that gun. I’ve hunted with mine and shot it for groups. This outside the box Tactical Solutions AR-15 surprised me and I’m about to tell you how.

By Jonathan Owen on 10/22/2015 9:01 PM
Hearing Protection Act (HPA)If you have a silencer, you prize it. If you're wishing for one, you're probably held back by one of two things, or maybe both: the $200 Tax payable to the ATF and the hassle of ownership. You need a trust to own it, or perhaps a corporation. Or you could fill out forms and hope your Chief Law Enforcement Officer is agreeable to you possessing a silencer. The hassle has been haunting Americans since 1934 and Arizona Rep. Matt Salmon (AZ-05) is introducing a bill in Congress to change all that. Announced earlier today by the American Suppressor Association (ASA), The Hearing Protection Act (HPA) would completely remove silencers (also known as suppressors) from the unjustified confines of the National Firearms Act. 

By saunders4Dylan on 10/21/2015 5:52 PM

vz.58You’re left-handed and you want a modern semi-auto carbine suited to hunting and self defense. What are your options? 

You could take the custom build route – Start with an expensive, non-standard AR-15 lower with an ambidextrous bolt and magazine releases. Then add a more expensive left-handed upper or right hand side charging upper. You’ll want an expensive ambidextrous charging handle and an ambidextrous safety selector, too. Now you have a pretty nice left-handed AR-15, but for considerably more than the cost of a basic right-handed AR-15. Not a bad route to go.

Or you can buy a tactical carbine that, as designed, is already set up for the left-handed shooter.

This, of course, would be the Czech Small Arms Sa vz.58. How can a rifle designed in the 1950s be a modern left-handed semi-auto rifle? 

By Jonathan Owen on 10/14/2015 11:52 PM

Shield CQS sightQuick reality check: When most of us think red dot sight we think Aimpoint, Trijicon, Leupold, EOTech MRDS… But not SHIELD. Mention the word “shield” to an American and we think of Nick Fury and the Avengers movie series. While the SHIELD CQS isn’t quite as high tech as a Hydra Tesseract powered rifle, it is an impressive optic in its own right and it’s coming to America. I mounted it on a Sig MPX and an IWI Tavor. I’ll tell you what I found.

By Jonathan Owen on 10/8/2015 10:36 PM

Hunting Washington StateThree weeks ago in Spokane, hunters, business leaders, conservation organizations, retailers, tourism experts and chambers of commerce all came together to cut the ribbon on the newest state chapter of the award-winning Hunting Works For America program.

Make no mistake, Washington hunters are truly blessed in terms of the varied ecosystems in which they can hunt game, and they are equally fortunate to have big tracts of country filled with such an incredibly diverse number of species to pursue.   The list of game species reads something like this: deer (3 species), elk, bear, moose, bighorn sheep and mountain goat. The small game list is equally impressive, with pheasants, turkeys, grouse, chukar, quail and waterfowl attracting hunters’ attention.

By gonzalesKelsy4 on 10/6/2015 6:09 PM

Maven Binocular ReviewAs a professional hunting guide I spend an average of 260 days in the field. That will test anyone. Beyond being in sound physical shape and mindset, I believe good quality gear is one of the most important factors in a successful hunt or outdoor adventure.  Because you can’t kill what you can’t see, serious optics are at the top of my gear list. When I am hunting or scouting my binoculars never leave my side. Given their price point, you can't blame anyone for wondering just how good Maven binoculars are. The Maven 10x24 B.1s I picked up in 2014 have impressed me thoroughly. I'll tell you why.

By Jonathan Owen on 10/1/2015 4:07 PM

Daniel Defense DD5V1Big news of the big bore type from a big player in the AR platform rifle world - Daniel Defense is releasing their DD5V1 7.62 Rifle October 23rd. From the looks of it, they've done some serious engineering on their .308 AR-10 pattern rifle. How's this for starters? No barrel nut! That can be a hefty part and it's gone! More on that in a minute, but let's start here: Like you, I've owned and passed along my share of guns and have had a couple of Daniel Defense rifles in 5.56 and 6.8 SPC come and go. They were solid guns, but something else flashy caught my eye so away they went. With this entry into the 7.62 x 51mm NATO (.308) platform, I think there's something to be excited about. Naturally, so does Daniel Defense CEO Marty Daniel.

By saunders4Dylan on 10/1/2015 12:31 PM

AR15 Forward AssistThe forward assist on M16s and AR-15s resulted from the initial trouble that soldiers experienced with early M16 rifles in Vietnam. Non-chrome-lined bores and chambers, incorrect propellants in the ammunition, and lack of cleaning supplies led to rampant jamming. The government requested a forward assist.

Soon the early problems were a thing of the past, and the AR-15 platform evolved into one of the most reliable weapon systems of the modern era. Along with that increase in reliability has been a remarkable proliferation of the platform. Customization of the rifles has led to countless possibilities and a number of manufacturers eliminating the forward assist to save money and/or create AR-15 “slick side” upper receivers.

All that raises the question: Is the forward assist just a vestigial structure left over from the early evolution of the rifle? Does anyone seriously use the thing? Is it still a useful feature, or is time for it to go extinct?

By Brian McCombie on 9/29/2015 10:35 AM

Remington 783 for huntingThe last couple years have seen most of the major gun makers add a bargain-priced bolt-action rifle or two to their hunting line up. I have to admit, I’ve viewed these rifles with some hesitation. Oh, I like the prices--$400 or less for a hunting bolt, when $700 and up and has been the norm for a long while. But my “education” as an All-American Consumer has been that a lower cost usually equals lower quality, especially where it matters most. 

So a bargain-basement retail price would mean a marginal rifle, I figured, one that could throw some lead but not your first choice for a hunt.

Well, my consumer “education” was wrong, certainly when it comes to the Remington 783, Big Green’s price-friendly bolt action for hunters.

By Jonathan Owen on 9/24/2015 1:58 PM

Review Bushnell Rubicon T250R rechargeable flashlightWhen you think of Bushnell, flashlights probably aren't what immediately come to mind. Riflescopes? Yes. Binoculars? Sure. You might not think flashlights would be a good fit in that mix, but they did a great job on these. They are not the standard tactical fare or rifle mountable, at least in my opinion. But they are solid lights at good price points and - not surprisingly - good optics. Good optics collimate the flashlight beam extremely well. This is part three of my series on the Bushnell Rubicon Lighting rechargeable flashlights. We're taking a look at model T250R.

By Jonathan Owen on 9/22/2015 10:08 AM

Gorilla Ammo 300BLK Hog huntingIt’s about midnight Friday, Labor Day weekend in West Texas and I’m about to blow a great shot. My buddy Jared and I are in a huge 190 acre field of dry hay stubble parched after the harvest. Using thermal optics, we are looking at multiple groups of hogs making their way across, enjoying their crunchy evening fare. The half moon has barely started its traverse of the sky and Jared and I have stalked to within fifty yards of a big old sentry hog leading the group’s dinner outing. The hog is oblivious to our presence and heading directly for us. When it’s thirty-five yards out, we decide to take it. Knowing I’m testing the 208 grain Hornady A-MAX 300 Blackout Subsonic load from Gorilla Ammo, Jared volunteers to hold his shot but remains at the ready. I pull the ALG trigger on my Tactical Solutions TSR AR-15. Nothing but a very loud “click.” “Take it!” I whisper with urgency. Watching through an IR Patrol from IR Defense I observed what may be the best hog shot I’ve ever seen as the subsonic Gorilla Ammo load did it’s job perfectly. 

By Jonathan Owen on 9/16/2015 3:55 PM

Silencerco Maxim 9In its second annual lets-set-the-world-on-fire product launch SilencerCo has launched four new products including the Radius Rangefinder, Maxim 9 Integrally Suppressed Pistol, Osprey Micro and Hybrid. If expect the unexpected is the SilencerCo’s mantra, they’ve certainly succeeded here. The Micro Osprey is essentially a .22 version of the Salvo 12 Shotgun Silencer. The Hybrid is a multipurpose can, the Maxim 9 is video game worthy design of a integrally suppressed pistol. The rifle mountable Radius Rangefinder is the first offering from SWR, SilencerCo Weapons Research. Keep reading for more details.

By Jonathan Owen on 9/14/2015 4:47 PM

Bushnell T500RMaybe its because I live off the beaten tech path, but the Bushnell Rubicon Lighting T500R Rechargeable Flashlight strikes me as really cool, not to mention useful. Yes, it’s a one trick pony, but it’s a patented super practical one! 

Ever had this happen? Your flashlight is great at reaching out and lighting something at a distance but point it at something close and you’re blinded by the light’s reflection. You end up partially coving the lens with your hand to get the up close reflected light down to a manageable level. On some tactical lights you can tap the tail cap repeatedly to find the right light output level, while on others you can rack the flashlight head back and forth to find a suitable lighting level. All those ways work, but the T500R is a 500 Lumen rechargeable flashlight that auto dims when pointed at something close! Gimmick, probably. That’s exactly what I thought at first, but then I used it!

By Jonathan Owen on 9/11/2015 11:22 AM

Trijicon MRO MountThe launch of the Trijicon MRO red dot optic has lit up the firearms world. With thousands of units headed for new owners the need for a top tier MRO mount is urgent. As it turns out, our friends at Alamo Four Star already have that mount built and ready to ship - the DLOC-MRO. Like all their other DLOC mounts, this new mount for the Trijicon MRO features Alamo's quick detach, quick connect, return to zero mount. I like these mounts because they do what they say they will do, and without damaging the host rail. Read more for details.