Working overtime early this year while in Ohio allowed me to set my sights on a new bow. Well, that along with the fact I sold my 2008 Bowtech Guardian to my friend and was in need of a bow before Summer rolled around and practice time would be at a premium. Having shot different brands and models of bows the past few years while debating on updating what I had, I knew I liked the way Hoyt's balanced not just during the draw cycle and the shot but also just while holding and carrying around. As you'll hear in the video below, I shot numerous Hoyt models once I had decided that my next bow would be one and really liked the way the Vector 32 felt in my hand. I could continue to type out the pros and con (yes there is one slight con about the bow now that I have been shooting it but I believe I can get that taken care of) but I'll let the video of me talking do the, um, talking instead. Enjoy!
I purchased my first Ladder stand this past year. I've hunted from homemade ladder stands quite a bit but given my limited time this past year and the opportunity to hunt some private land I decided to purchase one to save me some time. The benefits of having some ladder stands set up is that it gives you much quicker set up time in the morning.....no need to attach a climber and climb a tree. However the drawback is that it is not easily or quickly moved to a new spot and would most likely need to wait until the next season to move it. So my first recommendation is scout, scout and do some more scouting of your location before setting up a ladder stand. Since this stand is not going to be my primary hunting spot, nor is it close to my home I did not want to spend a lot of money for the stand. I did however wish to have something roomy and comfortable that would hopefully last multiple hunting seasons.
I bought the Summit Solo Pro here for about $170. I really liked that this stand was under the $200 mark and that it had a full size platform and a fold up bench seat and shooting rail. The bench pad is removable and I'd recommend removing it and replacing it each time you use the stand so you have a dry seat to sit on. The pad is not the most comfortable thing to sit on for an all day hunt so I usually brought an additional seat pad with me. I like to use the following hot seat to compliment the seat pad.
I found setting up the stand was at least a two person job. I did it with the help of another person and it would have been much easier with a third. Overall the instructions were spot on and easy to follow. I did however find I was missing a few parts and contacted Summit and they promptly sent me the missing parts with no questions asked! So a big thumbs up to their customer service department! After hunting from the stand for an entire season and taking two deer from it I'd buy another one in a heart beat! It was much roomier than many of the other stands I was looking at. The shooting rest and bench fold up out of the way to make bow hunting and standing shots very easy. It attached to the tree pretty securely but I did add an additional ratchet strap to the platform to give it just that little bit of extra stability.
In closing, if you need a ladder stand that is roomy and hunt-able all year long then I think this is a good one to try out. Summit has many other stands to look at in the same Crush Series, advertised as their economical line without all the bells but they have the necessary features for a comfortable hunt!
Having moved a few months back, I finally have an area that I have dedicated to hunting and firearms as my second garage is serving the purpose of my very own sporting goods store! I have a nice bench in the garage and decided it was time to buy a gun vise. I wish I had done this long ago as it makes common projects much easier. Everything from cleaning to scope mounting is made easier with this Tipton Best Gun Vise. It can be purchased here, from MidwayUSA, for about $100. I have yet to find a firearm that it did not fit and hold securely. In my opinion it is well spent money. The days of my gun laying on the floor of my bedroom with a cleaning rod running through it are long gone! I recently gave my Benelli a year end deep clean and decided to clean the recoil spring assembly. The vise held the gun in the correct position so I could easily clean it and leave it over night to drain and dry. Cleaning the recoil spring assembly is another post I need to write up for any of you Benelli owners out there, so keep an eye out for that in the near future. Overall, with the limited use the vise has gotten I'm confident in recommending it to our readers. I don't have experience with another vise so I may be missing out, but overall, for the money, I don't see this being a bad vise. It does what it was advertised to do in my opinion. The one problem I did have is that the clamps for the stock tended to slip a bit when tightening on the gun so you had to hold the stock in place and adjust, otherwise it would just slip out of the clamps. It also seems to have pretty good reviews on MidwayUSA. So if you have some extra dough laying around and are looking for something to make your life easier I think this is a great off-season purchase!
Now that it is the off season, and I had a full season to try out Hornady's new SST-ML Low Drag sabots, I wanted to share the results with our readers. If you are anything like me, once the off season starts I begin to correct any issues I may have had the previous year. If you had problems or were not impressed with your current sabot for your inline muzzleloader then I'd highly recommend using these. I've been hunting with a CVA Accura .50-cal for the past few years and started out by using the CVA slick load 300-grain sabots. Although these CVA sabots loaded easily and grouped nicely at 100 yards, I was not impressed with their performance on game. There were two deer shot with these sabots and neither had an exit wound. Having only an entry wound can make tracking a hit animal difficult, especially in the South where we rarely have the pleasure of tracking in the snow!
After seeing the Hornady sabots in the local sporting goods store one afternoon I went home and did some research. I found that others were really impressed with these new bullets so I went back the next day and picked up two boxes of them. Then came a trip to the range the following weekend. I was happy with their performance on paper as only minor adjustments were needed to get them grouping literally on top of each other. I also had the pleasure of taking three deer this past season with these bullets and with the results I won't be changing for sometime now! Every one of the shots resulted in a pass through and the lethality was exceptional as each of these animals dropped within 50 yards or less of where they were shot. I was shooting the 300-grain sabots and had my rifle zeroed at 100 yards as most of my shots are within that range. If you look at the ballistics for this bullet they are very impressive. Hornady recommends to zero them 3 inches high at 100 yards, making your shot at 200 yards be 3 inches low. That's a 6-inch spread from 0 to 200 yards...not bad if you ask me for a muzzleloader! I plan to get back to the range and do as suggested by Hornady so I can be more comfortable with a longer shot this coming year if one presents itself to me. If you want to take a look at the ballistics for yourself you can find them here.
_I own a Browning BPS 12 ga that has the Mossy Oak Dura Touch coating on it. I've owned this gun for 2-3 years now and recently this coating has started to come off near the end of the barrel. I've attributed this to the fact that this is where the barrel comes in contact with the powder solvents that I used to clean the inside of the barrel. In turn, now the coating is flaking and peeling. I've searched the internet and have found that many folks have faced the same problem, so it seems that this coating does not hold up very well to some of today's strong solvents. I've done my research and I've found an alternative that promises to hold up to harsh solvents: Camo Solutions! Camo Solutions offers multiple patterns and test their coating with the following solvents:
"The materials that we use are 2 stage high performance coatings that are very expensive and have extreme adhesion to the surfaces that we apply. Every surface will have its own primer we evaluate the parts being coated with the appropriate primer.
Our clear flat finish coating is made for our shop “only” and no one else has access to this clear flat product which has an extreme resistance to the harshest bore solvents, gun cleaners and scrubbers on the market, it’s even resistant to ”Gum-Out Carburetor Cleaner” and “Brake Kleen”.
Most processors will use what they call water transfer printing coatings, we have tried these but we are not satisfied with the durability of the product, they are not resistant to the harsh solvents and gun cleaners. They use a universal primer and we feel that no one primer can maintain the adhesion to all surfaces."
A link to their pricing can be found here. I'm planning to ship my barrel out at the start of the New Year and I'll report back on how it looks and holds up! I'll then give you my recommendation as to what I think about it. From the research that I've done, this seems to be a very good solution to the problems that are faced with the Dura Touch coating on the Browning and Winchester firearms.
We would like to hear if anyone has tried Camo Solutions as well if you have faced the same problems with your Dura Touch coatings, so drop us a line via email or leave a comment for all to read!
I wanted to share with our readers a couple of new rod and reel rigs that I bought for my fishing trip to NY at the start of August. I headed to Bass Pro Shops when I got into town and spent a couple of hours looking over all of the rods and reels that they had to offer. After I decided my best option was to build my own combo, I chose the following:
Bass Pro Shops 6'6" medium-action Tourney Special IM-7 Graphite :
- Price, they run around $50 and can be found on sale for as low as $30.
- Multiple configurations (spinning and baitcast options)
- Many lengths and actions available
- Solid overall construction
- The only complaint I have - and this is really nothing against the rod - was that they did not have a two piece rod in stock. I tend to lean towards two piece rods as they are easier to travel with. Overall this is a great buy and the reviews on the Bass Pro website say the same!
I bought two of these and then set out to find a couple of reels to outfit the rods with. Both reels I bought ran about 30-40 dollars each, making each combo come in around $100.
1) Diawa 3550 Sweepfire with a rear drag option
2) Shimano Sienna 4000RD
Things I liked about these reels were the following:
- Rear drag; I prefer a rear drag system when fishing with live bait as it makes adjusting the drag much easier
- Very smooth
For the price I don't think I could have made a better decision with these do-it-yourself combos! I took them to the lake and put them right to work catching both trout and bass on them. I enjoyed them very much and would recommend any of the reviewed items above, so if you have any questions about the rod or reels, please let me know!
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Curran's Outdoor Adventures
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Hunt Like Your Hungry
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Taking a Walk on the Wild Side
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