Crimson Trace

SUBSCRIPTION    SUBMIT RELEASES    ADVERTISE    ARCHIVES    CONTACT                                  TUESDAY, JULY 29, 2014
— APPAREL
Sitka Gear, the industry leader in performance hunting gear, announces the introduction of their re-designed Coldfront Jacket and Pants. Now, the three-layer GORE-TEX® soft-shell is 100% waterproof and breathable, is lined with an insulating Micro Grid fleece. The perceptibly quiet face fabric, built from tightly woven polyester, delivers bombproof durability and lasting water repellency. | For More...

— BIRDING
A trio of peregrine falcon chicks at Michigan's Houghton-Hancock Lift Bridge have safely survived their initial growth periods and are starting to leave the nest. The Michigan Department of Transportation installed two nest boxes in spring 2012, but these chicks are the first hatchlings for the endangered species. | For More...

— BOATING
Cruzin, America's leading boater-to-boater rental and charter marketplace, readily accommodates flexible rental periods, allowing rentals from a few hours to the entire season. | For More...

— COMPETITION
Rinehart Targets would like to announce the arrival of the upcoming Rinehart R100 in Wabash, Indiana. The event will take place on August 2 and 3 with the Wabash Bass & Bucks crew.
| For More...

— CONTESTS
West Marine, the world's largest waterlife retailer, announces its "Dog Days of Summer" social media contest. Today (August 29) through September 2, West is looking for pictures of pooches enjoying breezes on the bow, taking naps on the dock, playing in the waves or riding along on stand-up paddleboards. Five lucky winners will win $100 West Marine gift cards.
| For More...

— EARNINGS
Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) will file its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q today (Tuesday, July 29, 2014) after the close of the stock market. Tomorrow (Wednesday, July 30) the company will host a webcast to discuss the Q2 operating results. | For More...

— EVENTS
Wildlife Forever is pleased to announce the 1st place winners of the 2014 State-Fish Art® Contest will have the opportunity to join talented young artists from across the country at the 16th Annual State-Fish Art EXPO August 15 and 16 at FLW's Forrest Wood Cup in Columbia, South Carolina. | For More...

On August 1-4, Mackinac State Historic Parks is proud to present a weekend full of events commemorating the battle and the British, American, Canadian, and Native American participants who struggled for control of Mackinac Island. | For More...

Michigan's Threatened and Endangered Species Week, running Aug. 4-10, will feature opportunities to learn more about some of Michigan's threatened and endangered species through hikes, guided activities and much more. | For More...

Adam Grimm, winner of the 2013 Federal Duck Stamp competition, will be honored at a celebration at the South Dakota Game Fish and Parks (SDGFP) Outdoor Campus at 1:30 p.m., on Saturday, Aug. 2.
| For More...

— GEAR
Cotton Carrier's new StrapShot EV1 offers all the benefits of comfortably carrying cameras and lenses to shooters using compact, mirrorless, four-thirds and full-sized DSLR cameras. | For More...

Plano's new Mechanical Broadhead Case takes advantage of an expanding broadhead's relatively slim profile to provide flat, side-by-side storage of six assembled heads - lined up like soldiers ready for battle inside a foam-lined, hard plastic vault. | For More...

Crimson Trace announces the pending release of a Laserguard green laser sight - the LG-489G -- designed specifically for Smith &Wesson's M&P SHIELD pistols.
| For More...

— INDUSTRY
Yamaha Marine Group has announced the expansion of its world-class Yamaha Marine Service training. | For More...

Sweltering heat and swarming predators were no match for the resolve of industry captains and mates in pursuit of shooting adventure along Florida's Treasure Coast during the 12th annual Shooting Industry Masters, July 18-19. The nearly 400 participants and industry partners raised a record $100,000 for shooting programs. | For More...

Volvo Penta of the Americas announces five new dealers for service and sales of its marine diesel and gas products in the United States.
| For More...

The new 154L Rancher linerlock from Bear & Son Cutlery is one you'll be proud to carry and, more important, a reliable knife you can count on when needed. | For More...

Hi Mountain Seasonings, the premier manufacturer of kits for homemade jerky and sausage, has announced the launch of its newly designed website that will provide customers with a more engaging and informative experience.
| For More...

Arctic Ice will be bringing the chill to Salt Lake City for the 2014 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market on August 6-9th.
| For More...

Hi Mountain Seasonings, the premier manufacturer of kits for homemade jerky and sausage, has announced the launch of its newly designed website that will provide customers with a more engaging and informative experience. | For More...

Beretta Defense Technologies announces the purchase by the U.S. Army of a quarter million dollars worth of additional M9 pistols from Beretta U.S.A. Corp. | For More...

— INVASIVE SPECIES
Several management changes go into effect Aug. 1 that will help the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) combat the growing problem by making it easier for lionfish hunters to remove the spiny predators and limiting further introduction of the species into the waters. | For More...

— MARINE ELECTRONICS
Based on search parameters like fish species, season, time of day, weather conditions, etc., SmartStrike highlights areas of high-definition Humminbird LakeMaster waterswhere fish are likely to be located, minimizing time-consuming searches. | For More...

— NEW PRODUCTS
The new Butt Hook Combo from Hunter's Specialties comes with the popular field-tested Butt Out® 2 game dressing tool, which allows hunters to quickly remove the alimentary canal of deer-size game animals. It also includes the new Gut Hook. | For More...

New for 2014, Browning has expanded the Citori 725 line of over and under shotguns by adding new Trap and Skeet models in 12 gauge. | For More...

— ONLINE
GunVault has created two new online tools to help consumers find the right safe for their firearms. The Pistol to Product Guide allows gunowners to select their firearm (or one of approximately the same size) from a simple pull-down menu. The Product to Pistol Guide works in the reverse. | For More...

— OPTICS
Sightmark® is proud to announce the anticipated LoPro Combo™ in dark earth. The new shade offers more than just customization; it's also a strong proponent of concealment. | For More...

— ORGANIZATIONS
Ducks Unlimited's Great Plains Region will celebrate its thirtieth anniversary at an open house on Thursday, August 7 at the regional office at 2525 River Road, Bismarck, North Dakota. The event is open to the public. | For More...

— OUTDOORS
This week, Yamaha Outdoors offers tips on how to ride the backcountry and fish smart by simply following a couple of simple safety rules. | For More...

— PROMOTIONS
The Pope & Young Club is proud to announce their 2014 Youth Hunt Giveaway. The drawing will be held on September 2, 2014 and is open to any Pope & Young Club Youth Member (or General Member over the age of 12 and under 18 by the time of the drawing.
| For More...

— SHOOTING COMPETITIONS
Team Lapua's Kevin Nevius dropped a single point in day one of the NRA Smallbore Prone National championships and found himself in sixth place. Battling shifting winds and a strong field, Nevius fired a clean final round to take the title. | For More...

— SHOOTING GEAR
Birchwood Casey adds three new targets to the Ground Strike line for 2014: the Ground Strike Hex, the Ground Strike Belly Dancer and Ground Strike Prairie Popper. Ground StrikeTargetsare constructed of a durable self-healing material that will withstand hundreds of shots while still maintaining their original shape. | For More...

— SPONSORSHIPS
Nature Productions announces a sponsorship agreement with Argo, supplier of extreme terrain amphibious vehicles, for its current productions, including The Bear Whisperer, Freedom Fighters, Hunting for the Dream and The Hitmen. | For More...

— STATES
At three information sessions in August, the public can learn about a proposed program to allow an applicant for permits to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) for unavoidable impacts to Indiana's streams and wetlands to pay a fee to offset these impacts. | For More...

A volunteer workday, hosted by the Department of Natural Resources and ITC Holdings Corporation, is set for Monday, August 4, at Crow Island State Game Area in Saginaw County. Volunteers will help inventory plant and wildlife species. | For More...

The recreational harvest of greater amberjack and gray triggerfish in Gulf of Mexico state waters (shore to 9 nautical miles) reopens Aug. 1. | For More...

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife approved Hunter Ed Course as an official online hunter education course for California residents to use to earn their hunter education card. | For More...

Beginning young hunters will have a chance this fall to participate in bonus antlerless deer hunts that will take place on private lands in four Oklahoma counties.Applications are due by August 15. | For More...

With Chesapeake Bay and coastal bays water temperatures climbing, and crabbing activities on the rise, Maryland Natural Resources Police officers are cracking down on those who violate State crab regulations. | For More...

The Department of Natural Resources is seeking to update its network of high conservation value areas (HCVAs), areas of state-managed lands that, among other values, contain rare or sensitive natural communities that add to the robustness and character of Michigan's state forest land. | For More...

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department will hold a series of free seminars covering the basics to get you started in hunting. | For More...

The Michigan Historical Center is set to launch another year of Story Circle, a program that uses traditional and contemporary storybooks to engage children (ages 2-5) and their families in historic objects and the galleries of the Michigan Historical Museum. | For More...

Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) joins the celebration of Colorado's acceptance into statehood with free access to all Colorado State Parks, Aug. 4. | For More...

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has announced several changes to its hunting, inland fishing and trapping licenses which will go into effect on Friday, August 1. | For More...

The State of Colorado received a $750,000 award this month through the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grant for establishing and enhancing outdoor recreation opportunities. | For More...

— TELEVISION
Join co-hosts Shawn Michaels and Keith Mark for Chapter 5 - Season 4 of MacMillan River Adventures (MRA) Hunting on Outdoor Channel. In Chapter 5 - Gratitude is an Attitude, when Michaels and Mark are humbled as they support the Outdoor Adventure Foundation (OAF) by taking two hero's on a Texas hunt. | For More...

This week, The High Road with Keith Warren goes hog wild while handgun hunting the elusive hogs of East Texas. | For More...

Steven Rinella leads viewers into the premiere of Season Five of MeatEater on Thursday, July 31 at 8 p.m. ET/PT by following in the footsteps of American pioneer Daniel Boone as he travels throughout Southeastern Kentucky. | For More...

When you mix Bill Jordan and David Blanton of Realtree with top names in the outdoor industry, put them on a hunt for monster whitetails, the result is another great season of Realtree's Monster Bucks, exclusively airing on Sportsman Channel, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT. | For More...

— TOURNAMENTS
John Oliverio, of Brandon, Florida, weighed a three-day total of 38.52 pounds of redfish to win the Lucas Oil IFA Pro-Am Redfish Challenge at Jacksonville, Florida, on July 27. The high-stakes event, presented by Cabela's, featured many of the sport's biggest names and will air nationally on NBC Sports Network, Pursuit Channel, the Texas Channel and Fox Sports Net Southwest later this year. | For More...

FEATURE
Field Firearms Testing
Since 2006, I've been invited to attend a number of varmint hunting expeditions due to a curious combination of factors. Smith & Wesson had just brought out its AR system carbine, the M&P15T.

I was invited due to my affiliation with the more defensive combat type of publications and my police background. The venue is superb for field testing firearms with high round count shoots and the M&P carbine line was just entering the AR market.

The venue was the Silver Spur Ranch. With properties stringing through New Mexico, Colorado and into Wyoming, the Spur has around 55,000 acres of its own in the area of Encampment, Wyoming. A beautiful place, during wet years it's lush with sage and alfalfa. It's a place favored by the white-tailed prairie dog and Richardson's ground squirrels, to the detriment of vegetation and the livestock that has to stumble over the huge burrows.

Of the countermeasures available, the two most viable are hunting pressure and poisons. The ranch boss is disinclined to use poisons for environmental reasons.

To facilitate transportation around the place, Yamaha provided some ATVs. The new one was the 2015 Viking VI EPS six-person Side-by-Side Extended cab. Different size from the 3-seater version we used at Gunsite in May, this thing can haul six though we tended to run with three or four. The crews were enthusiastic about the new SXS. The Yamaha Electric Power Steering was cited as a boon to transportation as it was at our previous Yamaha event. The cargo bed had room for coolers, ammo, rifle cases and packs. Security was high as the seat belts and handholds came in handy in rough country.

The last thing you want is to be ejected.

The Yamaha 700cc-class engine provided ample power. We were well-equipped on this trip with plenty of firearms, ammunition and rolling stock.

Most recently, Smith and Wesson purchased Thompson/Center, maker of fine hunting firearms. Starting with their Contender, more recent incarnations are the Encore ProHunter line. They also have remarkably accurate value-priced bolt-action rifles in their Venture series.

With some models retailing at less than $600 and with the MOA guarantee, it's a deal that's hard to resist. Due to my background - police service, writing for the more 'tactical' type publications, I had plenty of use of the AR carbines in previous soirees. I opted this time to spend time with the more traditional iron.

I also used the Encore ProHunter, a single-shot rifle that appeared to be stainless steel or to have a finish consistent with stainless. The stock and fore end were synthetic with "soft-touch" panels - the FlexTech composite stock system. The barrel, around 24" in length, was in .17HMR.

The optic on the test gun was Bushnell's AR-Rimfire scope. Designed with a BDC for .22 LR out of an AR clone, it served admirably on the little .17 TC. The cartridge was the Hornady .17, loaded with the 17-grain V-MAX bullet. I thought that was a bit light even with the advertised 2,550 fps out of the 24 inch test barrel - hot for such a mild shooter.

I also carried the Thompson/Center Venture Compact. The short length of pull combined with the 20-inch barrel made it truly compact. The stock is composite with Hogue panels. It was chambered for .22-250 Remington, a veritable screamer. The three round magazine was plenty for the junior-grade cannon.

Those with a short sleeve length will appreciate such a rifle - and it fits more of us properly than one might expect. The scope was the Bushnell Legend 3-9x40. We had Hornady Varmint Express 50 grain V-Max to feed the Compact.

Shooting partner Dick Williams selected the Thompson/Center Venture Predator, a camo-dipped rifle in .204 Ruger. Also wearing Bushnell glass, the Legend 3-9x40, the rifle was loaded with Hornady 32 grain V-MAX "Superformance" load. This round pushes the V-MAX bullet to around 4,200 fps at the muzzle - a lot of power.

As we were on private property and not game hunting - there was lots of ground to be covered and the white-tailed prairie dog is not a close community rodent - we were driving and shooting. One of our first engagements was across a valley onto an opposing hillside. I wasted several rounds of the valuable Hornady Varmint Express stuff when I realized I had no idea where the Venture Compact was hitting.

I grabbed a spare M&P15 - the "Optics Ready" variant with the Bushnell AR Optics 3-12x 40mm Riflescope mounted in Warne rings and mounts - and set out to engage the distant critters. The first round fired was a hit. Lesson: familiarity means something. The trigger on the M&P15 was "service-grade," meaning it was not nearly as clean and light as the Venture Compact's trigger. I know the standard M&P15 won't stand up to the Venture in the accuracy department either. The M&P15 accounted for several prairie dogs that morning, a few at ridiculous distances for a 16" carbine.

I went to using the Encore ProHunter .17HMR on nearer targets as the day progressed. The resounding "thump!" sound made when the tiny V-MAX bullet struck its mark was impressive. My best effort with the ProHunter - which Dick Williams referred to as my "Magic Wand" - was around 140 yards. The .17HMR out of the ProHunter was quite humane, a very quick stopper compared to the .22 LR we also had on-board.

In the afternoon, I engaged some hundred-yard non-animated targets and figured where I was shooting with the .22-250 Venture Compact. Once I was dialed in, I started working on prairie dogs. The power of the heavy .22-250 load was impressive. It was quite similar to the quicker-but-smaller pill from Dick's .204 Predator.

I likely fired around 60 rounds of .22-250 from the Compact. There was no discomfort, no stoppages. Over a couple of days, Dick probably put well over 100 rounds through the Venture Predator, with a very high hit percentage and no reliability issues. The .17 HMR in the ProHunter was very mild to shoot and, simple rifle that it is, it just worked every single time.

The Encore ProHunter rifle with a .17 HMR barrel would be an incredible utility gun for the property owner with pest problems. The Venture Compact is precise, accurate and reliable and easily handles the .22-250. It's also available in .243 Winchester, .308 Winchester and 7mm-08.

-- Rich Grassi
Aug 2-5
World Shooting & Recreational Complex, Sparta, IL
Aug 5-10
NRA Whittington Center, Raton, NM
Aug 6-16
World Shooting & Recreational Complex, Sparta, IL
Aug 13-16
Central Oregon Shooting Sports Association Range, Bend, Oregon
Sep 12-14
Newport waterfront along America's Cup Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island
Sep 26-28
Hyatt Regency O'Hare Airport, Chicago, IL
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