Nov
08

Product Reviews and Recommendations

By

Presidents note: FCS members only may e-mail product reviews and recommendations to me, Randy Rowley at randywrowley@gmail.com.

Bore Snake by Dennis Koch

Dennis Koch bought a Bore Snake at a gun show for his Ruger 10/22. The .22 Bore Snake sells for around $15.00 – $17.00. The first time that he used his Bore Snake it made his Ruger’s barrel look brand new. They are also available at Academy, Wal-Mart, and Cabela’s. Product information includes:
  • Simply a better way to clean handguns, rifles, and shotguns.
  • Brushes and swabs the bore in one quick pass.
  • Has built-in bore brushes.
  • No assembly required.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Solvent compatible.
  • Washable and reusable. No exposed metal to damage sensitive rifling or crown.
Cabela’s Deluxe Locking Hoist and Gambrel System by Randy Rowley
Out of all the outdoor gear that I own, this may be the most indispensable. If you’ve ever tried to hoist a 100 lb. + deer or hog by yourself using only a rope and gambrel, you know that it’s no easy feat. In addition to the chore of hoisting the animal you then have to tie the rope around the tree. Cabela’s has solved both of these problems with their Deluxe locking hoist and gambrel system. The Deluxe model has a 4:1 lift assist ratio that allows one person to easily lift deer-sized game up to the desired height. The 20 1/2″ gambrel has a 500-lb. capacity. The hoist includes a self-locking device that makes it easy to keep the game at the height you want without having to tie the rope off. The cost is $24.99. So far this year I have used it to hoist six deer (one was mine and the other five belonged to other people) in my back yard without a glitch. This may indeed be the best thing since sliced bread!
Cabela’s Deluxe Locking Hoist and Gambrel System
Cabela’s Showroom by Randy Rowley
Randy Rowley recommends Cabela’s retail store in Buda. When I walked into Cabela’s for the first time all we could say was “WOW!” I knew that they had mounts but it’s really best described as part store and part museum. Easily 1/5 of the store is museum. The store has over 500 mounts; the majority are full sized. Their poses are very realistic.
You’re greeted by a flight of Canadian geese overhead that are coming in for a landing. Straight ahead is a 35 foot tall “conservation” mountain covered with full size mounts. The mountain has three sides. The left side is a polar section that includes a polar bear that’s about 10 feet tall. Next to the polar bear is a pack of wolves chasing after a herd of musk ox. The back of the mountain is a forest section. It features a black bear that is covered with bees (too bad that he’s trying to get honey out of a hornet nest instead of a bee hive; it’s also interesting that the bees were in a hornet nest). Also on that side are three reindeer that are being chased by a pack of wolves. The right side of the mountain is a desert section that features a herd of pronghorn antelope. At the base of the mountain is a B&C moose in a pond with live trout.
On To the left of the store is the gun section including a “Gun Library.” The most expensive gun that we saw was a Winchester lever action for $165,000.00. There were many guns in the $5,000.00 range.
At the back left of the store is an American game section filled with full sized mounts including several very impressive deer. There is also a fallow buck that is chasing off a couple of coyotes.
To the right of the store is a 60,000 gallon aquarium filled with bass, catfish, gar, crappie, perch, and more. The fishing section is also on the right side of the store.
At the back right of the store is an African section with several full body mounts. At the left of this section are three lions that are facing off against three hyenas, with a bush hog in the middle. If this were real life the poor bush hog would be going wee-wee-wee all the way home!
There is a second story with a camping section and their restaurant. The food is good and the prices are reasonable. They even have exotic game fare.
Regarding the merchandise you’ll be very impressed. There is a large used gun section where the long guns are readily accessible. They take trade-ins and their prices were competitive. I found several items that aren’t available at Sportsmen’s Warehouse or Academy. They had everything that can be found in the Cabela’s catalogs and more. There were even some items that were cheaper than their catalog prices. There is also a large “Bargain Cave” but the prices there are only discounted about 10%. If you’re thinking of buying one of their bows you can try it out in their indoor range.
Cabela’s also has celebrities and expert hunters and fishermen who are readily available to the public. They also have several giveaways.
I highly recommend Cabela’s. Go only if you have at least four hours to kill, a good pair of walking shoes, napkins to catch your drool, and a friend to restrain you from draining your savings account!
My only major complaint is they had only one wild boar mount! Don’t they know a beautiful animal when they see it?
Comp-Tac Minotaur Holsters by Mark Dillow
Mark Dillow recommends an inside-the-waistband style holster by Comp-Tac, called the Minotaur MTAC. It clips to your belt via two clips and is a kydex/leather hybrid. The side that rides next to your body is very soft and smooth. They have single and double stack holsters and left handed versions. They also make the Minotaur Neutral (Appendix Carry) and the Minotaur Spartan with lower quality leather and the inside fasteners are not covered by leather. The Spartan sells for $64 and the MTAC and Neutral sell for $80.
MTAC
 Spartan
Custom Rod Builder Ray with Mason River Outfitters

David Smith recommends Mason River Outfitters.  If you want a high quality custom rod built with great craftsmanship give Ray a call at 512-407-7082.  He does great work with high quality components and is a good Christian man.  Here is one of the rods that he built – https://scontent-dfw5-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/fr/cp0/e15/q65/45549865_10211622097782503_847567128205721600_n.jpg?_nc_cat=108&efg=eyJpIjoibyJ9&_nc_ad=z-m&_nc_cid=0&_nc_ht=scontent-dfw5-1.xx&oh=040f365be2e6acaf0d8f505db5eeb5ae&oe=5C83B19A.

Custom Knife Maker Wally Pollock by Ryan Rowley
Ryan Rowley recommends custom knife maker Wally Pollock. Wally, a Vietnam veteran, broke off a Ka-bar in the rib cage of a Viet Cong soldier during the war and was consequently bayoneted in the stomach. He vowed to never carry a cheap knife again and started making his own. He’s spent 30 years learning and perfecting the art of knife making. You can go out and buy cheaper knives than Wally’s but, as the old saying goes, you get what you pay for. Each of his knives is uniquely designed, and made by hand. A lot of time, effort, detail, and craftsmanship go into his knifes. If you buy a knife from him there will be no other knife in the world quite like yours. He charges what he considers to be a fair price for his materials and labor. He says that you don’t get Rembrandts at Wal-Mart! He guarantees all of his work for normal use (you’re on your own if you use your knife as a hammer). 
 
Defender Concealment Holster by Kevin Coleman
 
Kevin Coleman has been using the Defender Concealment Holster. He haven’t been using the extra magazine pouch because he feels that it makes the rig weigh too much. It definitely gives him the concealment he needs. He has worn it in different positions depending on what he’s wearing that day and it feels secure. He bought the thumb break but is not using it because it digs into his skin a bit. The only draw back he has found is that on hot days where he sweats, the holster doesn’t breath well, so if he doesn’t remove it at night it may rust his pistol. The holster is designed so that the gun can ride up front, on your side, or on your back.
eDecals Graphics by Randy Rowley
Randy Rowley recommends eDecals graphics for vinyl decals, racing stripes, cartoons, see through murals, patriotic ribbon decals, and other performance graphics. I got the FCS decal on the back of my truck from them. I goofed on the spelling of “Sportsmen” and they sent me a “smen” to replace the “men” that I had to remove to fit the “s” at no charge. I also got my “4 X 4 Offroad” decals that are on the sides of my truck from them (my son, Ryan, calls them ‘4 X 4 stickers for the blind’ because they are so big). Their size was my fault not eDecals. The side stickers, especially on the port side don’t look that great because I botched their application (I didn’t read the directions first). Again this was my fault not eDecals. As you can see I learned from my mistakes and did a better job with the FCS name and URL decal. I found them by doing an internet search and they are the major graphics player on the net. eDecals can be reached at http://www.edecals.com/ or 1-800-305-2550 (Monday – Friday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM Eastern Standard Time).

Flashlight Review by Paul Irwin 11/1/11

 
Hi all – I wanted to give a brief review of some flashlights I bought recently. If you are receiving this, I have reason to believe that you are into the outdoors whether it be shooting, hunting, or simply camping or hiking. I hope you find this useful and it will potentially save you a lot of money.
I recently bought three flashlights. I already have a Surefire G2 that I like, I recently got a Surefire weapon mounted light, and needless to say I am a big fan of Surefire lights. In my latest series of purchases I bought three flashlights.
1. Surefire G3 – Xenon Bulb – 3xCR123 batteries – on sale for $30 at Midwayusa.com.
2. Streamlight Polytac Flashlight – White LED 2xCR123 batteries – $35 at midwayusa.com
3. Coleman LED Performance with red and blue lenses – 3xAAA batteries – $20 at Academy.
One can never have enough good flashlights around. My main purpose for this is night time hunting I already have a 60 lumen weapon light with mount for my AR15, and I can use it on my shotgun, but I wanted more versatility. The $500 Surefire weaponlight has the pressure switch, and an IR filter, but no red lens. I could order one for $40 but it would only fit that flashlight.
So, I opted for something that would fit the more standard 1″ bezel which is on my G2, and I decided if the G2 (which I have had for a while) was good the G3 must be better right? And it was on sale. Plus, I ordered the 200 lumen lamp assembly for the G3 so that should be ridiculously bright. Anyway, by the time I bought the light on sale for $30, the lens for $40, and the lamp assembly for another $35, I now have a $105 flashlight. The g3 is a little more than an inch longer to fit the additional CR123 battery, and it is bright as expected. I can light up a hog at 100 yards with the white light. However, the red lens on it SERIOUSLY diminishes its usefulness. I estimate usable shooting distance of about 25 yards with the red lens on. Not very good. Now, this is with the 105 lumen lamp as the 200 lumen lamp has not arrived yet, it is on backorder along with the mount I need to actually put this stuff on my shotgun!
So, compared to the Streamlight Polytac with no colored lens the G3 and the poly seem to illuminate about the same. I feel I can see better with the LED light instead of the Xenon though. The LED light is more white, and the Xenon looks more yellow is like an incandescent bulb in a lamp at home versus a fluorescent light. Maybe it is personal preference, but for me the LED is a better light source. They both advertise about the same Lumens, and I find that they both illuminate about the same distance and about the same brightness. However, when I took the red lens, the same one I used on the Surefire, and actually made for the Surefire, and mounted it onto the Polytac, the difference was well…night and day! The Polytac was WAY brighter than the G3 with the red lens and this made me very happy.
So, the final contestant was the Coleman which I bought at Academy. Now, I thought I paid $15 for this, but it may have been $20 or so. Either way, when comparing it heads up to the much more expensive lights…IT BEAT THE SNOT OUR OF THEM! It is brighter than either one, cheaper, comes with screw on lenses of blue and red, projects a great red beam that I could shoot 100 yards with I am sure, and it even feels like it is better made. The down side is it won’t fit in my weapon mounts, but maybe I can fine one for it. This is without a doubt the most impressive little flashlight I have ever held. All for about $20! The brightness, beam size, distance it illuminates, and price are all better than the rest, so I would highly recommend it for anyone, especially for nighttime hog or varmint hunting. Plus, it takes the much cheaper and easier to find AAA batteries!
GOT Reticle by Randy Rowley
Finally, there is an inexpensive solution to the age old problem of not being able to see your scope’s reticle’s at night while hog or varmint hunting with a regular scope!  The GOT Reticle, created by FCS member Mike Calio, attaches to your scope via a Velcro strap and can be easily adjusted to fit over scope flip-up covers (although it’s best to flip the cover up before attaching the GOT Reticle).  The copper conductor is easy to bend and the power switch is easy to operate.  Best of all it has a dimmer switch.  Working in total darkness in my bathroom, it really lit up my reticles.  I highly recommend the GOT Reticle and can’t wait to use it in the field.  The GOT Reticle sells for $25.  FCS members receive a $5 discount.  Contact Mike at michael_calio@yahoo.com.
HiViz Compsight and Magni-optic and Champion EasyHit Fiber Optic Sights by Randy Rowley
 
I did a statistical analysis (below) in an attempt to explain my improved performance shooting sporting clays over a 25 month period (10/08 through 10/10).
I created a chart that shows all of my shoots at Capitol City since they created their Hunter (or Corporate) Course (as that is the range/course that I have shot the most by far during the past five years). I know that it is not an apples-to-apples comparison as the Hunter course stations and targets, my gun, and the weather conditions have varied, but it is the best comparison that I was able to come up with.
A Comparison of my Sporting Clays Shoots on the Hunter Course at CapitolCity
 
2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005
January 35 35
February 35
March 48 38 31
April 38 37 35 26
May 37 37
June 34
July 41 33 30 31 & 36 43
August 40 34 31 31
September 45 40
October 45 38 40 40 42
November 37 41
December 40 & 43 29
# of Shoots 7 10 4 6 5 3
Total 283 385 149 199 164 116
Average 40.43 38.50 37.25 33.17 32.80 38.67
My average dropped significantly from 2005 (three shoots) to 2006 (five shoots). It then improved slightly in 2007 (six shoots). It then increased dramatically in 2008 with fewer shoots (four). It then improved slightly in 2009 (10 shoots). It improved more significantly in 2010. The bottom line is I cannot conclude that increasing my number of shoots led to improved performance because I improved with fewer shoots in 2008, when compared to 2007.
Therefore, as my improved performance cannot be attributed to more frequent shooting, the only other things that have changed that I can attribute my increased performance to is the HiViz Magni-optic fiber optic sight that I purchased in the summer of 2008 for my Browning Gold semi-automatic and the Compsight that I purchased for my Winchester 101 over/under six months ago.  (HiViz discontinued its Magni-optic sight so when my Magni-optic sight on my Browning broke I replaced it with a Compsight.)
Not to be tooting my own horn but looking at the facts – the chart shows that since the summer of 2008 my average has increased to 39.39 (for 18 shoots), compared to an average of 34.19 (for the 16 shoots before the summer of 2008, without the Magni-optic sight/Compsight).  This was an increase of 5.20 points (more than 15%).
Since the summer of 2008 I have also set personal (and Club) records at the Capitol City Trap & Skeet Club (48), Ducks Unlimited Shoot (46), Alpine Shooting Range (44), Abilene Clay Sports (41), and Elk Fork Shooting Range (39).
The HiVis sights attach via a screw (you have to take the bead off). You need to use removable Lock-Tite to secure them well, including putting Lock-Tite under the sight (between the sight and the rib). Because they replace the front bead they are of the proper height (most of the magnetic fiber optic sights are elevated above the bead, which results in the shooter always shooting below the bird). They teach you proper head alignment (the sights will not glow unless you mount your gun correctly), correct cross-eye dominance, and allow you to learn to shoot with both eyes open and focus on the bird and not the sight.
Mark Dillow purchased a Champion EasyHit fiber optic sight in September of 2009. Since he added the sight he broke his record by five birds (38) and his average by 15 birds on 9/26/09 and then broke his record again by three birds (41) and his average again by 18 birds on 10/10/09.
The Champion sight (which is endorsed by Tom Knapp) does the same thing as the HiVis sights but is longer and affixes to ventilated ribs via an adhesive strip. There are two versions, a clays version and a hunter version. The clays version is longer. There are also orange and green light pipe versions. It has the same benefits as the HiVis sights. Mark noted that he is a bit cross-eye dominant and actually “sees” 2 barrels when he shoots. The new sight allows him to ignore the “wrong” one. He stated that it is the best $20 investment he has ever made.  I also bought one and thought that it was great but it proved to not withstand the rigors of duck hunting.
If you desire to significantly improve your shotgun shooting performance I encourage you to try one of these sights.
 Kill Lights by Randy Rowley and Eddy Chance
 
A must for hunting hogs at night.  The Kill Light XLR 250 flashlight is made by Elusive Wildlife Technology.  The XLR 250 is only 7 inches long and only weighs aproximatley 9 ounces with the battery.  It is made out of T-6 Aircraft Grade Aluminum with with a clear glass lens.  There are no filters involved.  They use a special CREE LED that emits an incredible amount of light through an extremely accurate and focused highly polished reflector to achieve long range distance.
  
The Light with their green LED will run for 2 – 4 hours continuous per battery (not that you would want to do that while hunting). The light only takes one battery and you get two with the package so you will always have a back up.  It attaches to your scope using an easy-to-attach bracket.
  
The light comes standard with a tactical tail cap with wire and remote mount pressure switch with Velcro but can be ordered with a tactical style wired remote on/off switch with Velcro instead of the pressure.  Just type in a small comment on your order stating the type of switch you would like to recieve.  The light also comes with a standard tail-cap with push button on off switch like a flashlight.
  
There are green light, red light, and white light versions.  Green lights the furthest, is the easiest for the human eye to see, and spooks game the least.  The light sells for $140.  Jim McGee, Frank Hamilton, Ron Denison, Ken Miller, Jim Gault, and I own these and think that they are the best thing since sliced bread.
  
There is also a XLR 100 flashlight version for bow hunting that sells for $150.
  
They also sell a Kill Light Feeder Light for $69 that attaches to the bottom of a feeder magnetically or with three screws.  It can be turned off and on manually or by a wireless remote (works up to 175 yards away; sells separately).  It is powered by four C batteries.  It can also be powered continuously via a 20 watt solar panel (sells separately).  Eddy Chance and Marc Sherrin highly recommend them.  Eddy purchased one last year and installed it on one of his feeders for night time hog hunting.  He connected it to a 12 volt jell cell battery and solar panel.  He left it out all year long and when he went out to fill the feeder recently it was still working.  He’s killed several hogs and one coyote using this light.
Lure Covers and Hook Holsters by Randy Rowley
 
One of the perils of going fishing with rods that are ready (as they should be) is it is easy to snag other rods, clothing, life jackets, boat carpet, wood decks, etc. with hooks.  I have found two products that solve this problem:
Lure Covers
  
These products cover the entire lure using velcro and a plastic (or similar material) main body.

Hook holsters  

These products mount to a rod, forward of and under a reel.  If you are using a single hook lure (e.g., a spinnerbait) then there is no need to use a lure cover in conjunctions with a hook holster.  They sell for $3.25.  See  http://www.faultlineoutdoors.com/.
Moultrie 330 lb. Digital Scale by Randy Rowley
 
After having broken two dial scales in short order (one of which only survived the weighing of one 270 lb. hog that Ronnie Ross and I shot), Daryl Shipper and I bought a Moultrie 330 lb. Digital Scale for the Club. Unlike dial scales, it does not have springs and coils that can break. It’s compact, easy to read and operate, and accurately measures the weight of game animals.  Batteries are included. They sell for $49.99 at Cabela’s. So far it has survived weighing numerous deer and hogs without a hitch. The only problem I have had with it is you have to turn it on before you hang your animal and then read the scale before it turns off (if you turn it on after the animal is hanging it will only read zero).
Muck Boots by Randy Rowley
 
The problems with your typical rubber boots are they don’t do a good job of keeping your feet warm and they take on foot odor. Muck Boots has solved these problems with their breathable Airmesh linings (similar to the linings in running shoes). They also feature stretch-fit topline bindings that fit snug to your calves to keep warmth in and cold out, added toe protection with a wrap-up toe bumper, kick rims for hands-free removal, additional Achilles reinforcement, 5mm CR flex-foam booties with four-way stretch nylon, and the outsole wraps the entire perimeter to provide maximum protection and stability. They are lightweight, flexible, buoyant, and comfortable! The comfort range is from -20° F to 75° F! I got at pair of their Edgewater boots from their online store for $80.95 plus shipping (includes a 10% off coupon). From what I can tell the only difference between their Edgewater and Fieldblazer boots is the later has camo uppers (but no one will see them because they’ll be covered with your pants) and costs $20.00 more! They made several other models, including Wetland and Wood versions. My Edgewater’s are now the only boots that I wear while deer and/or hog hunting.
Night Owl Night Vision Products by Randy Rowley
I recommend Night Owl Optics. Not only do they make great night vision products, but they have excellent service as well. I bought a very used monocular on Ebay for $60.00. I used it on three hunts. On the fourth hunt it wouldn’t turn on. I tried a new battery but still no-workie. I shipped it back to Night Owl. They sent me a new unit (retails for $269) and it only cost me $79. This was a extremely good customer service as the unit that I sent in was no where close to new and it was long past their one year warranty.
RAC System – a less expensive alternative to gun safes by Randy Rowley

The USRAC System is a heavy duty gun security protection system featuring Kevlar, steel reinforced security bags and wall mounted or car mounted racks. MSRP is $139. See www.theusrac.com. Their products are made in the USA. The Secret Service and the TSA have made orders. The NSSF recently awarded the RAC best safety product for the year 2013. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10kuxerUbWY&feature=youtu.be.

Rivers West Rain Gear Packages by Mike Walsh

This is the waterproof gear that the fishermen on the cable TV show Dangerous Catch use.  I have the Rivers West Eider Waterfowl jacket. It is water tight.

The annual Rivers West Packages are available today, 08/31/14.  Save hundreds while gearing up, head-to-toe, in the best waterproof hunting gear around:
·         Pioneer Lightweight/Packable starting at $99.99  (you save $60)
·         Frontier Midweight/Comfort starting at $159.99 (you save $40)
·         Eider Waterfowl/Ultimate starting at $229.99  (you save $150)
·         Kokanee Fishing Gear starting at $179.99 (you save $70)
·         Concealed Carry Packages starting at $119.99 (you save $50)
This is the biggest package sale we’ve ever offered, with 31 total options.  Whether it’s for big game or waterfowl, fishing or general purpose, men or women…we’ve got you covered.  Sale ends September 15th, or while supplies last ~ so don’t delay ~ visit Cascade Direct now.  It is important to carefully read the instructions before you order:  all products must be added to your cart individually before using your Package Promo Code.  You cannot simply add your package to your cart because then we wouldn’t know what sizes and/or color options you want.  Please call us at (206) 441-3245 if you have any problems.
Tear Aid Type A & B Patches by Randy Rowley 

If you ever get a hole in your waders a Tear Aid Patch Type A will seal it. I’ve tried Tear Aid Type A patches on both my neoprene and breathable waders and it fixed leaks in both of them (although a patch on my neoprene waders came off after two years). I’m sure that they would seal holes in tents, tarps, etc.

The patches are VERY sticky, so when you press down on them you won’t be able to get them off except with a knife. Therefore, make sure that the patch is where you want it before you press down on it.

Type A Patch Features and Benefits

  • Repairs holes and tears in all fabrics except vinyl
  • Protects against abrasions, moisture, saltwater, harmful UV radiation and extreme temperatures
  • Industrial-strength elastomer patch is airtight, watertight, durable, flexible and puncture resistant
  • Aggressive adhesive holds air under pressure and will not pull off when stretched
  • Cuts with scissors to any size and conforms to irregular surfaces
  • Will not turn gummy in the heat
  • See-through design for use with any fabric color

The Tear Aid Type B Patch repairs holes in vinyl only.

Academy sells either type for $7.99/box. They’re located in the tent section.

I don’t know how they would work on rubber or canvas waders.

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