Monthly Archives: August 2015

Optimizing your Muzzleloader Sights
Brad Fenson

Muzzloader_wideAs a youngster anxious to get involved in hunting and shooting, my mentors encouraged me to use open sights. Their rationale was simple; learn the basics of lining up a target and it will become a natural and easy way to acquire a target, no matter what you use as a sight or scope. They also warned that someday I may only have open sights as an option, whether regulated in a specific hunting season, or borrowing a firearm. That early advice has never steered me wrong and I believe I shoot well today, using any type of sights, because of my early training.

When it comes to optics for your firearm, you get what you pay for. Having lived through some lean years – going to school and trying to take advantage of hunting seasons – on a limited budget, I soon found out that open sights are an economical option – and the best option, when budgets are tight. And, there are hunting seasons allowing open sights only, meaning you can extend your opportunities and chances to take a trophy. If you can’t afford great optics you’re better off with great open sights.

There are jurisdictions where muzzleloader hunters must use open sights. The TRUGLO® MUZZLE•BRITE™ XTREME UNIVERSAL SERIES sights are a great example of open sights, providing all the advantages needed to harvest game successfully and with repeatable results. The first thing I noticed about the sight was how they shine in low-light conditions. There is no problem acquiring a target and knowing exactly where your bullet’s point of impact will be.

A number of considerations are often overlooked for open sights, which include reduced weight, and the fact that they never fog up. They are ultra-durable and allow you to acquire targets at close and long range without any adjustments. With no batteries required, they are the most compact option when looking at sights. Most of all, they are reliable.

TRUGLO® MUZZLE•BRITE™ Sights Update the World of Muzzloading with 24/7 TFO Brightness

If economics are a factor, the MUZZLE•BRITE™ XTREME UNIVERSAL SERIES sights have a universal mounting system to work with all muzzleloaders, and are priced at $51 to $64, depending on model. The sights are CNC-machined and fully adjustable for elevation and windage, allowing you to zero at 100 yards. The front sight has a diameter of .040 inches, and the rear sight diameter is .029 inches.

The basics of open sights require us to see three spaced objects clearly. They work by aligning the front sight in the notch of the rear sight and then placing this combination on a distant target. If you were hunting a deer and are sighted at 100 yards, you can hold directly from zero to about 125 yards. A little practice at the range will soon teach you to naturally hold a bit high to compensate for bullet drop. Shooters have the choice of placing the rear and front sight combo higher or by simply moving the front sight upward as natural adjustments for the bullet drop. Changing the position of the front sight in the rear notch is often all that is required to make slight elevation adjustments, which is where the term “holding finer” comes from.

Historically, open sights were painted and often difficult to see clearly, but TRUGLO’s modern technology and fiber-optics in bright red and green, offer the easiest open sight for a clear view. They outshine traditional options like peep sights, enabling any shooter to quickly align the front and rear sights. Placing the bright red dot from the front sight between the two green dots on each side of the rear sight notch comes quick and natural, and they make a significant difference when sighting on a moving target, allowing the shooter to clearly see that the sights are aligned as you follow your game or try to maintain a lead. I’ve experienced issues in the past using a scope and losing the black crosshair against a moose or black bear in low light. Fiber-optic sights ensure you see everything clearly.

If you’ve never tried open sights it’s time to give them a try. Going back to the basics, combined with modern technologies and brightness, could prove to make you a better shooter.

Reason to Carry
by Rich Grassi

Feature_Image_wide

I was recently asked to give the top ten reasons to carry a concealed handgun. The concept surprised me, but I quickly defaulted to my family, myself and my community. I couldn’t come up with ten reasons unless I started with the names of the people for whom I care deeply.

I’m sure it wasn’t meant that way. I have to conclude that the question was serious. The sole reason I could articulate was “to meet the sudden emergency of a life-threatening attack.” The answer is along the lines of “in case I get a flat tire” when asked why do you carry a spare tire – or “in case of fire” if asked why do you have a fire extinguisher.

I carry a pistol to stop “immediate, otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.”

I carry a pistol to stop a fight – specifically stopping the “immediate, otherwise unavoidable danger of death or grave bodily harm.” That’s the circumstance that justifies homicide. I learned that from about our best guy in the instruction of deadly force, Massad Ayoob.

That answers the “carry a handgun” component but perhaps not the “concealed” part. For defense, the best surprise is no surprise. For dealing with the sudden threat – a robbery perhaps – the best thing I have going is surprise. I carry concealed so the first inkling the violent criminal actor gets that something is wrong will be the sudden appearance of the concealed defense handgun.

I carry concealed because “if he can’t see it, he won’t know it’s there.” He would have to formulate an attack on the holstered handgun after he found out it was present – as in a physical struggle. If you carry the handgun indiscreetly, the gun grab assault can be planned sooner and from a distance.

I carry concealed because—well—it’s polite. I don’t want to “frighten the horses.” There are people who are simply and unreasonably fearful of armed persons. They scare easily – and who needs that? There are also the clowns who want to “SWAT” those who carry indiscreetly; they call the police with a complaint that you are a dangerous armed person in the hopes the police will attack you. It’s not smart and it’s something that could yield a charge of obstruction, false reporting and likely other violations in some states.

There are people who want to carry concealed but don’t want to put in the effort. They’ll carry something small, a ‘talisman’ to ward off evil-doers. The pistol isn’t a lucky charm. It’s a pain to have to lug it around with all the responsibility (and weight) it entails. But, if you don’t want the burden just take your chances.

M&P TFX

A Smith & Wesson M&P9c Pistol Wearing an Inside-The-Waistband Holster and TRUGLO® TFX™ Day/Night Sights

I did a comparative test some years back using Smith & Wesson M&P pistols – the M&P9, a service-size 17-shot 9mm, and the M&P9C, a compact 12-shot 9mm. Using similar holsters I found that, with a little effort, the full-size gun hid just as well as the smaller counterpart. I also found that the time to a first hit in the scoring rings of the IALEFI-Q target from seven yards averaged the same elapsed time from identical holsters.

This was no surprise. To really hide the full-size gun, I used an inside-the-waist holster. Carry outside the waistband was fine for casual concealment. I also found both guns shot just about the same in terms of practical accuracy. I used the Glock 30SF, a compact 10-shot .45 Auto, on the FBI Firearms Instructor Bullseye course of fire. I scored just over 92%, not enough for a gold medal but enough to gain entry into or stay in their firearms instructor course.

The bottom line is, if you’re going to carry a gun make it one worth carrying. Put the effort into dressing around the gun and practicing enough to be skillful in gun handling and accuracy.

Carry it legally. And pray you never have to use it.

 


 

Rich Grassi, founder and editor of The Tactical Wire and Ready for Anything Wire —both free-subscription email news wires, has been an outdoors writer for over 21 years. Retired from a career in local law enforcement, his experience includes law enforcement firearms instruction and as a university adjunct instructor in criminal justice.

Massad F. Ayoob is an internationally known firearms and self-defense instructor. He has taught police techniques and civilian self-defense to both law enforcement officers and private citizens in numerous venues

Shooting Solo—Crossbows
by Joe Byers

Ohio Deer 2010 163Crossbow equipment packages typically include a scope with multiple reticle markings, which can be just as confusing as a multi-pin setup on a compound bow.  A red-dot sight with a single dot reticle is ideal for the new archer, hunting in early season when cover is thick and visibility minimized, in low-light situations, and for bowmen and women who wear glasses or may have difficulty seeing multiple reticles clearly.

Last fall, I set up a crossbow with a red-dot sight with a single dot reticle for a deer hunt in the Great Plains.  In these wide open spaces, one might think that multiple sight marks would be preferable for long range shots, however, whitetails there, and in most places, migrate to the thick cover of creeks, ravines, and river bottoms.

TX Deer 06 078I posted in one of these locations and friends put on a drive that pushed a 140-class buck into the heavy cover of a flood plain.  The buck appeared for mere seconds as it approached and the red-dot sight with a single dot reticle made concentrating on the exact spot incredibly simple.  The savvy buck moved through a patch of thick cedars exposing it’s vitals for just a second, yet sufficient exposure for a lethal, double-lung shot.

Red-dot sights usually have little or no magnification, which allows the hunters to see the targeted animal and its behavior plus a choice of a red or green dot for added definition.  Additionally, many models offer a rheostat to adjust the brightness of the dot to ambient light.  This may seem to be of minimal importance, yet bright sunlight can greatly diminish a red dot at midday while a brilliant aiming point can be distracting in low-light conditions.

One Dot- Multiple Ranges

With a 20-yard sight in, a hunter can concentrate on the low shoulder shot without calculating yardage out to 25 yards, where most hunting action takes place.   “I try to convince new crossbow hunters to keep their shot at 30 yards or less,” says Todd Brumley, Publisher of Crossbow Magazine.  “A lot of guys want speed and distance from their crossbows, but they don’t realize all the things that can change at longer ranges.”

 

Data from the Bench

TG8030GAIf you like systems that are simple and uncomplicated, the one-dot sight can work for you and here’s how easy it is.  I set up a TRUGLO® red-dot sight on a new Horton Legend Crossbow (about 330 fps), one of the easiest installations I’ve ever done.  After popping the included rings on the picatinny rail of the bow, I found the scope shot nearly dead-on at 20 yards and the scope adjustments worked exactly as listed.  Three arrows later, I was precisely striking at 20.
Of course, this data will change with variance in bow speed and arrow weight, but crossbows shoot exceedingly flat out to 25 yards.  My research has shown with a variety of bow and arrow combinations that a 20-yard zero will place an arrow five to six inches low at 30 and the drop-off increases disproportionally from there.  I once used this red-dot set-up on a deep-timber elk hunt.  I zeroed the bow at 30 yards and planned to adjust the dot placement for 40 and 50 yards, a system that I quickly adapted.  If you are a person who gets buck fever, a red-dot sight can greatly simplify the aiming process.  Shaking knees are another story.

TRUGLO Red dot on Horton LegendUsing a ballistic rifle target measured in inches for easy calculations, I shot again, hitting the dime-size bull’s eye ¼ inch low.  Next, I moved the target to 15 yards and using the same Easton FMJ, 425-grain arrow to control variables, struck ¾ inches higher.  Finally, I moved the target back to 25 yards and, continuing to shoot from a bench rest and hit 2 ¾ inches below the 20-yard zero.

From a hunting perspective, this data means that if you aim dead center at a deer’s heart at 20 yards and it suddenly comes five yards closer; you’ll take out the top of the heart.  Conversely, a deer that moves five yards farther or if your estimate of range is five yards off, that 20-yard aim will still catch the buck in the pumper.  If you hunt deer during the rut, this aiming latitude is critical since rutting bucks seldom stand still.

Green LED Bow Light with Picatinny Rail Mount
by Brad Fenson

I’ve often stumbled down a trail through the forest, trying to be as quiet as possible, when exiting or entering my stand or blind location. Being able to see where you are going is critical to staying silent, and more importantly, ending up in the right place. Regular headlamps and flashlights produce bright, white light, which can spook wildlife. Here are some options to minimize your impact and presence on game.

Green or red lights are not alarming to wildlife as they see them differently than a bright, white light. There are more and more options being offered all the time for game-friendly lights and bowhunters can now attach a powerful LED directly to their bow.

TG85BLG_Group
TRUGLO®
recently came out with a Green LED Bow Light with Picatinny rail mount.  The light has been specifically designed for bow hunters and offers a 520 nanometer green LED with high and low settings. The light can be powered to the brightest setting when searching for something or dimmed to keep you in stealth or scan mode. The settings offer 180 lumens on “Bright” and 25 lumens on “Low”. The power of the CREE LED is impressive, with a beam distance of 160 meters, which allows hunters to use the light to search a large area.

TRUGLO Green LED Bow LightHaving the light mount to your bow provides several benefits, including handsfree use. You simply carry your bow and use it to guide the way. The on/off switch on the light is easy to operate. But, there is also a pressure switch on a cord that runs from the light to the riser that can also be used to turn the light off and on with your hand holding the bow.
If you’re into hunting hogs or predators at night, this LED will allow you to illuminate your quarry when you come to full draw, so you can maintain the element of surprise by seeing your target more clearly. If you’re into bow fishing or chasing alligators, the bright LED light will be a definite advantage for seeing below the surface of the water after the sun sets. And, of course the light is waterproof!  And the Picatinny rail can be used for any other add-on accessory that is designed to fit the rail system, like small cameras or even range finders.
TRUGLO LED Bow Light

The TRUGLO Green LED Bow Light includes two CR123A batteries for a runtime of two hours on high or 18 hours on low. And the light automatically dims when the batteries reach 10%. There are a multitude of uses and advantages for purchasing this new light.  The biggest advantage is the ability to quickly and easily mount the light on the bow and align your powerful LED with your line-of-sight and the path of your arrow.

Sighting Options: Going Solo (Part 1)
by Joe Byers

A young man moved into my neighborhood and we quickly became friends when he saw the 3-D deer target in my back yard.  “I’ve always wanted to learn to bow hunt,” he remarked one day and I soon had him set-up. An athletic person, he grouped arrows in the heart of the kill zone consistently with just a few shots.  After practicing all summer, he was finally ready for opening day and I put him in my best treestand.  An hour after daylight a big doe walked down the trail at 20 yards and I heard the arrow launch and clang among the rocks.   “I forgot to look through the peep sight and missed by five feet,” he said later.  “I just got so excited when the animal showed up.”

We laugh about that first hunting episode today, yet my buddy’s experience typifies the intense excitement that archers face at the moment of truth.  With adrenalin pumping, it’s easy to act hastily, especially with multi-pin sights.  Vertical archers usually remember to use their peep sight, yet getting confused with multiple pins is common.  The solution is remarkably simple and so low-tech that many archers overlook the possibility—use a single-pin sight.

Speed and Technology

Single-pin sights come in varying forms, yet in keeping with the “simpler-is-better” theme, select a sight with one pin or use a three-pin set-up and drop two of the pins to the bottom of the housing.  With today’s fast bows, sighting in at 25 yards results in an arrow that strikes a little high at 20 yards and a little low out to 30 yards providing an on-target hit without thought- literally a “no-brainer”.  Bow set-ups will vary and you need to experiment to see if this works for you.

TRUGLO STORM™ 3-Pin Bow Sight

Start with a good 3 pin sight and simply push two of the pins down out of the way. This gives you a single pin sight, with the option of going back to a 3-pin.

Prime Candidates for Single-Pin Setups

Single-pins are ideal for special situations such as:

New Hunters- Pin confusion can be a real challenge for new bowhunters and simplifying the sighting picture reduces stress at the moment of truth.  Use a range-finder to practice on a 3-D target and you will quickly learn the arc of your arrow.  If you hunt from an elevated stand, be sure to practice shooting at a downward angle.

Early Season– Most bow seasons begin long before the leaves start to fall and shots are often 20 yards or closer due to limited visibility.  As soon as you are safely buckled in, range in reference objects immediately and establish that 15-30 yard kill zone.  If that big buck suddenly steps out, you can quickly and confidently aim and shoot.

Set-Ups- If you use scents, attractants, or other tactics that tend to focus deer at a specific spot, set that attractant at your 25 yard sight-in spot.  This also allows a little extra distance from your stand or blind so that movement is less detectable when coming to full draw.

Visual Acuity- Multiple pins can become difficult for archers who wear glasses or have less-than-perfect vision.  One single dot is easier to focus on and you can opt for a TFO (Tritium/Fiber-Optic) sight pin, which doesn’t require batteries and literally glows in the dark.

Tritium + Fiber-Optic Pin

TFO pins stay illuminated in any lighting condition, including complete darkness!

Other Single-Pin Options

TRUGLO Pendulum Bow Sight Pendulum sights automatically adjust for distance and allow a hunter to aim low-in-the-shoulder in case the deer ducks at the sound of release.  Pendulum sights don’t use strings, batteries, or gizmos to work, so you don’t have to worry about mechanical failure.  Gravity and mathematics drive this cool invention and they rarely fail.

 

TRUGLO Range Rover Single Pin Bow Sight

Archer’s Choice RANGE ROVER

Adjustable Range- Many 3-D shooters use a single-pin and a dial to adjust the sight for a specific range.  You can still use the 25-yard dial-in for close-in action with the ability to shoot at longer range without hold-over.  Additionally, you can use your hunting sight on the 3-D range and be ready for game at any distance.  Most archers practice at distances much longer than normal hunting shots, which forces them to fine-tune their form.  When you can ace a 12-ring at 50 yards, a buck at 30 yards becomes a piece of cake.