Category Archives: Accessories

Leupold Debuts the VX-Freedom



Relentless Reliability: The Leupold VX-Freedom

Innovation is in the very core of the American spirit – we aspire to be independent, to build our own solutions, to constantly improve. It was that core trait that drove Marcus Leupold – son of Fred, the legendary co-founder of Leupold & Stevens, Inc. – to throw aside a riflescope that failed him and build something better. More than 70 years later, that spirit still thrives at Leupold, and it’s embodied tenfold in the new VX-Freedom line of riflescopes.

You want relentless reliability? The VX-Freedom delivers it. You want elite optical performance at a price you can’t ignore? Consider that box checked. You want to unleash your rimfire rifle, dominate from any tree stand, or tag out across an open draw? The VX-Freedom’s got you covered.

The entire VX-Freedom line is designed, machined, and assembled right here in the U.S.A. with one purpose in mind – to give you the freedom to put a Leupold on any long gun you own, knowing it will perform for a lifetime.


Elite Optical Performance
Only a company with Leupold’s history and engineering expertise can deliver an American-made optic that boasts performance and affordability like the VX-Freedom. You’re looking at best-in-class optics – crisp, clear images with unmatched edge-to-edge clarity. It’s complete with military-spec lens coatings that provide abrasion resistance, protecting the riflescope in the most challenging terrain. As Tim Lesser, vice president of product development for Leupold & Stevens, Inc., explained, the new line has been built from the ground up to deliver on the promise of the Leupold brand.

“The VX-Freedom is built to deliver the versatility and performance hunters and shooters have come to expect from our brand,” Lesser said. “Whether you’re looking for your first scope or your fortieth, there will be a VX-Freedom that’s purpose-built to suit your needs.”


Rugged Reliability
Every scope line that comes out of the Leupold factory is “punisher tested and verified” – a relentless process of pounding the optic in a way that replicates a lifetime of abuse. On top of that, it’s engineered to disperse energy during every shot, which adds to its rugged nature. Finally, the VX-Freedom’s new, ergonomically advanced power selector ring is low-profile but provides exceptional grip, making it easy to use even in the cold, wet, or while wearing gloves.

Let There Be Light
It’s no secret that the first and last 20 minutes of any big game hunt are often the most crucial – it’s when the animals are most likely to be up and moving and when you’re most likely to get a shot. Thing is, that’s also when there’s not much light to work with, and you can’t hit what you and your optic can’t see. That’s why the VX-Freedom line incorporates Leupold’s Twilight Light Management System, a proprietary lens coating system that increases the amount of usable light that reaches your eye.


Translation: Your optic will still be able see Bullwinkle during those last five minutes of legal light, even if your naked eye can’t. That means you’re more likely to be calling buddies to help you pack out a kill under the stars.

Unparalleled Versatility
At launch, the VX-Freedom will be available in some of the industry’s most popular magnification ranges: 1.5-4×20, 2-7×33, 3-9×40, 3-9×50, and 4-12×40 – all featuring second focal plane reticles and 1-inch maintubes. They’re great for muzzleloaders, rimfire rifles, and centerfire rifles. But Leupold didn’t stop with just improving the riflescope design, they also decided to offer three brand-new reticles with the VX-Freedom. Alongside the standard Duplex and Pig-Plex offerings, the Freedom is available with a Tri-MOA, Rimfire MOA, or UltimateSlam reticle.


The Tri-MOA reticle is designed to fill tags – hash marks in 1-MOA increments give you precise reference points for quick, accurate shots, and the upper portion is clear, making it easy to keep an eye on the game animal in your sights. The Rimfire MOA reticle stretches your favorite plinking rifle’s legs out to 200 yards and beyond. The vertical hash marks are set for rimfire rifle ballistics at 1-MOA increments. The UltimateSlam, meanwhile, offers hold points from 50 to 300 yards for muzzleloaders and shotguns.

Built to Last
The VX-Freedom series is everything you’ve come to expect from a Leupold optic. It’s tested to the very same ruggedness standards as the company’s top-tier riflescopes. It’s also backed by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee – you’ll be able to put it through its paces and not have to worry about it holding up.


“We’re relentless because we know our consumers are relentless,” Lesser said. “At the end of the day, you don’t quit, and you don’t back down. Our products won’t, either.”

Click Here to check out the new Leupold VX-Freedom at Midsouth Shooters Supply!

New for 2018: Hornady Adds Nine New Calibers to Precision Hunter Line


Following its great success with its exclusive Precision Hunter ammo, Hornady is offering even more calibers and loadings. Read more!

Hornady Precision Hunter

SOURCE: NRA Publications, by Philip Massaro

Making a gigantic splash with the ELD-X bullet, Hornady followed suit with the Precision Hunter line, offering that sleek hunting bullet in their loaded ammunition line. Based upon the success of the initial developments, Hornady has expanded that line for 2018.

With a very high Ballistic Coefficient, and bullets that run on the heavier side of average for a given caliber, the ELD-X bullet will get the job done in a multitude of different hunting situations, from near to far.

This year’s new offerings include nine new calibers. Included are 6mm Creedmoor (103-grain), .25-06 Remington (110-grain), .257 Weatherby Magnum (110-grain), 6.5 PRC (143-grain), .270 WSM (145-grain), .280 Ackley Improved (162-grain), 7mm WSM (162-grain), .338 Winchester Magnum (230-grain) and .338 Lapua (270-grain).

As it usually is with Hornady, they’re thinking about not just those newer, long-range cartridges, but of the hunter with a rifle that he or she has loved for some time, and wants to extend the capabilities of that rifle by feeding it modern bullets. I especially like that they’ve decided to give the .270 and 7mm WSM cartridges a breath of life — I know many owners of rifles in those calibers who’ve complained (and rightfully so) about ammunition availability. The Precision Hunter line has been very accurate in my own rifles, as well as those of friends and colleagues, and I’m excited to see how the new offerings will perform.

Hornady Precision Hunter

Check it out HERE at Midsouth!



The biggest event in the industry is coming up soon! Read all about it…


The Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT Show) is the largest and most comprehensive trade show for all professionals involved with the shooting sports, hunting and law enforcement industries. It is the world’s premier exposition of combined firearms, ammunition, law enforcement, cutlery, outdoor apparel, optics, and related products and services. The SHOT Show attracts buyers from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.

At the 2017 SHOT Show, industry professionals packed the aisles from the opening bell, and attendance totaled nearly 65,000, to make it the second most attended SHOT Show ever.

2018 will see the 40th Anniversary event and is not to be missed!




Great idea! Here are some important reminders to consider from NSSF. Read more!

gun gift

SOURCE: National Shooting Sports Foundation

The holidays are HERE. As hunters, shooters, collectors, or just plain plinkers, it’s a natural instinct to want to share our enjoyment of firearms with others. What better way to do that than to make a gift of a firearm to a family member, close friend, or relative?

The first thing to remember if you’re thinking about giving someone a gun is that . . . it’s a gun! You already know that ownership of a firearm brings with it some serious legal and ethical obligations that other consumer products don’t. So let’s look at some questions you may have about giving a firearm as a gift.

Buying a Gun as a Gift
Consider using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives.

The first question you have to ask is whether the intended recipient can legally own the firearm where he or she lives. With more than 20,000 different gun laws on the books, even the kinds of firearms that law-abiding citizens can own vary from place to place; for example, juveniles (under age 18), generally speaking, are precluded by law from possessing a handgun. Check out the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) website for an overview of local laws and, whatever you do, don’t forget that you can never under any circumstances transfer a firearm to someone you know — or have reasonable cause to believe — who legally can’t own one. That’s a federal felony, so be careful.

There’s no federal law that prohibits a gift of a firearm to a relative or friend that lives in your home state. Abramski v. United States, a recent Supreme Court decision involving a “straw purchase” of a firearm did not change the law regarding firearms as gifts. The following states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington State) and the District of Columbia require you to transfer a firearm through a local firearms retailer so an instant background check will be performed to make sure the recipient is not legally prohibited from owning the gun. Maryland and Pennsylvania require a background check for private party transfer of a handgun. There are exceptions, so it’s important to carefully check the law of your state or ask your local firearms retailer.

Consider a Gift Card
The BATFE recommends that if you want to give someone a new firearm, rather than going to a gun store, buying it on your own, and giving it to, say your father, consider instead purchasing a gift certificate from that retailer and giving it to Dad as his present. That way he’ll get the exact gun he wants, and there’s no question about who is “the actual buyer of the firearm,” which is a question any purchaser must certify on the Federal Form 4473 at the time of purchase.

gift card

Shipping a Firearm
You can only ship a handgun by common carrier (but not U.S. Mail) and a long gun by U.S. Mail or common carrier to a federally licensed retailer, but not to a non-licensed individual in another state. With all carriers, federal law requires you to declare that your package contains an unloaded firearm. To be safe, always consult your carrier in advance about its regulations for shipping firearms.

Giving a Gun as a Gift
What if you want to give “Old Betsy,” your favorite deer rifle, to your son or daughter as a college graduation gift? Again, in most states, there’s no law that says you can’t, but some states require even inter-family transfers to go through a licensed retailer. Remember, you can never transfer a firearm directly to another person who is a resident of a different state. In that case, you must transfer the firearm through a licensed retailer in the state where the person receiving the gift resides. Using a gift certificate from a firearms retailer near where the recipient lives might be a good solution. Pre-1898 antique firearms are generally exempt from the retailer requirement. Be safe and check with your retailer or local law enforcement before you hand over your prized possession.

It’s often an emotional moment when a treasured family heirloom is passed down to the next generation. These moments are part of what our cherished enjoyment of firearms is all about and represent that unique bond that sportsmen have with their fellow enthusiasts.

So enjoy the holidays and do it right!

EDITOR’S NOTE: If someone on your list is a firearms enthusiast don’t forget that there are a mountain of accessories and supplies anyone would be happy to find wrapped under the tree, and consider also giving what I think is one of the best gun-gifts: a daily pass or two for a local range, or even a membership. Oh, and of course a gift certificate to Midsouth Shooter Supply! (Reallly, I’d love that one myself…)

REVIEW: Mech Tech Carbine Conversion Unit


With the fast-growing interest in Pistol Caliber Carbines driving new options onto the market, here’s an idea that’s easy, efficient, and effective. Read more!

Mech Tech CCU
The CCU is compatible with most single- and double-stack frames, however, the bolt does not lock back on an empty magazine.

SOURCE: NRA, American Rifleman Staff

Installing without tools onto a full-size M1911 frame (not included), the Mech Tech Carbine Conversion Unit (CCU) legally coverts John Browning’s venerated pistol into a 16.25-inch-barreled carbine.

Essentially functioning as an AR-style upper receiver once mounted in place, the non-serialized CCU (which is deemed by the ATF to be an accessory until installed atop an autoloading pistol frame) replaces the host gun’s slide and barrel assembly. The new configuration allows the carbine to retain the pistol’s superb single-action trigger and comfortable grip angle, as well as to utilize some of the host handgun’s operating controls — which will be seen as real boons to fans of old Slabsides — while increasing the firearm’s ballistic performance and accuracy potential.

Made of rolled steel with a powder-coated finish and a corrosion-resistant interior coating, the CCU’s cylindrical housing encases a simple blowback operating system that uses the energy exerted by expanding propellant gases on the cartridge case to cycle the action. An extractor located on the bolt draws the spent case from the chamber where it can be expelled from the upper by the lower’s ejector. The bolt’s rearward motion is then stopped upon contact with a thick rubber block, and the gun’s recoil springs (located along the top of the bolt assembly) drive the action closed again, stripping a fresh cartridge from the detachable box magazine and chambering it along the way. The CCU does not lock back on an empty magazine.

A reciprocating charging handle is found on the left side of the unit, and the bolt can be locked in the open position by retracting the handle and then pushing in on it until it engages a notch in the wall of the housing. Even after conversion to a rifle, the CCU still utilizes the host M1911’s grip and frame-mounted thumb safeties, as well as its magazine release button, which should make the carbine’s manual of arms familiar to handgunners.

Mech Tech offers the CCU with four different buttstock options. The unit reviewed here includes an adjustable M4-style stock that can be replaced in typical AR fashion; however, fixed and telescoping versions are also available. Base models all come with a 6-inch segment of Picatinny rail along the top of the receiver and a molded foregrip. Many optional accessories — such as additional rails, sights, lights and vertical foregrips — can either be factory-installed at the time of purchase or bought separately. While federally permissible, state and local laws in certain areas may prohibit some configurations of the CCU, so care should be exercised to ensure legality.

No permanent modification needs to be made to the host M1911 in order to install the CCU, and the process is easily reversible. First, separate the slide and barrel from the pistol’s frame, leaving the hammer cocked. Next, retract the unit’s bolt and lock it in the open position. Now, mate the rails inside the CCU with those located on the frame, pushing the frame forward as far as it will go. Finally, reinstall the M1911’s slide release to lock the components together.

Mech Tech assembly

Mech Tech CCU assembly
Once the host gun’s barrel assembly and slide have been removed, installation of the CCU requires only aligning the rails inside the unit with those on the frame (1.) and then sliding the frame forward as far as it will go (2.). Re-installing the M1911’s slide release (3.) secures the components together.

Our evaluation CCU was chambered in .45 ACP, with a 16.25-inch stainless steel barrel and 1:16-inch right-hand twist rifling. Mech Tech also offers 1911-compatible uppers in 10mm Auto and .460 Rowland — with 9mm Luger models likely coming in the future. According to Mech Tech, the CCU should be compatible with nearly all single- and double-stack 1911 frames, however, it would be prudent to check with Mech Tech regarding suitability with a specific model.

In addition to the M1911 unit tested here, Mech Tech produces CCUs that are compatible with both compact and full-size Glock models and most Springfield XD/XD(M) platforms. The Glock conversion kit is offered chambered in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, 10mm Auto, and .45 ACP, while the Springfield uppers are being produced in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.

In order to function- and accuracy-test the Mech Tech CCU, we installed it atop a Colt Competition, same one that we tested previously. Through approximately 400 rounds, the CCU did not have a single function failure. We elected to conduct accuracy testing using a load that had previously been shot through the gun during its prior evaluation — SIG’s V-Crown 230-gr. jacketed hollow point.

With help from a Bushnell AR Optics 1-4X 24 mm scope, we followed our protocol of firing five consecutive, 5-shot groups through the unit. Taking advantage of the host gun’s 4-lb., 4-oz. trigger pull, the CCU managed a solid average group size of 2.35 inches at 100 yds — not much worse than the Colt Competition had managed with that load at 25 yds. (1.91-inches) while still configured as a handgun. We also chronographed SIG’s load through the CCU and found that the longer barrel of the rifle did manage to squeeze extra velocity out of the .45 ACP cartridge. Through the 16.25 barrel, the 230-gr. V-Crowns produced 968 fps and 479 ft.-lbs. of energy, up from the 839 fps and 360 ft.-lbs. exhibited by the same load from a 5-inch pistol barrel. The ballistic gains achieved through the CCU could be expected to be even more pronounced when chambered in higher-pressure cartridges.

For fans of the M1911, Mech Tech’s CCU represents a paperwork-free accessory that grants improved terminal ballistics in a platform that is familiar to, yet easier to shoot well, than their favorite pistol. Given the level of accuracy and reliability that we encountered during our testing of the CCU, it is easy to see why someone already in possession of a compatible host handgun would find such a product appealing.

Mech Tech CCU testMech Tech CCU specifications


New Hornady Products for 2018


Hornady has just announced their new products for 2018, from the much anticipated new reloading tools, to innovations in ammo and projectiles, Midsouth is eager to fill our shelves with their new offerings! Read on for a brief breakdown of what’s coming soon!

New in Reloading:

Cordless Vibratory Powder Trickler:

Some cool tools are on their way from Hornady MFG., like this Vibratory Trickler, which makes “quick work of various reloading chores!”

The Vibratory Trickler, powered by two AAA batteries, features variable settings to trickle all kinds of powders, ensuring the precise amount for each charge. Its modular design means you can use it with or without the base and also makes cleanup quick and easy.


  • Trickles all powders
  • Light-up LED screen
  • High, low, and variable trickle settings
  • Use in base or outside of base
  • Weighted for stability
  • No-slip base

Hornady Rotary Case Tumbler:

hornady rotary case tumbler

Clean and polish brass cartridge cases to a brilliant shine with the rotary action of this tumbler, coupled with its steel pin tumbling media (included). Use in conjunction with Hornady® One Shot® Sonic Clean Solution.

Six-liter drum holds 5 pounds of brass cases. Set tumbler to run for up to eight hours in half-hour increments using the digital timer.

Check out all the new items coming to our reloading category by clicking here!

New Projectiles:

Speaking of reloading, lets take a look at some of the new projectiles being developed by Hornady!

hornady dgx bonded bullets

DGX Bonded®

The DGX® Bonded (Dangerous Game™ eXpanding) bullet features a copper-clad steel jacket bonded to a lead core to provide limited, controlled expansion with deep penetration and high weight retention. Bonding the jacket to the core prevents separation from high-energy impact on tough material like bone, ensuring the bullet stays together for deep expansion.

DGX® Bonded bullets are built to the same profile as the corresponding DGS® (Dangerous Game™ Solid) bullets but expand to 1½ to 2 times their bullet diameter.

Thicker Jacket

The thicker 0.098” copper-clad steel jacket of DGX Bonded sets it apart from other dangerous game bullets, allowing it to tear through tough material like hide, muscle and bone.

Controlled Expansion

DGX Bonded features a flat nose with serrated sections to deliver a uniform expansion from 100 to 150 yards and straight penetration, reducing possible deflections.

Bonded Jacket and Core

The bonding process locks the jacket and lead core together, improving the retained weight of the expanded bullet.

ELD-X and ELD Match Bullets:

eld-x hornady bullets

There’s also a few new calibers coming to the ELD-X line of projectiles. The Extremely Low Drag – eXpanding bullets are a technologically advanced, match accurate, ALL-RANGE hunting bullet featuring highest-in-class ballistic coefficients and consistent, controlled expansion at ALL practical hunting distances. You can find them right here at Midsouth!

New Ammunition:

There’s some interesting complete cartridges coming out this next year, and a few to really examine will be the subsonic line, the 6.5 PRC, and the new line of .223 ammo called Frontier®

New 6.5 PRC

The Ultimate Trophy Magnet

The name says it all! The 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge was designed to achieve the highest levels of accuracy, flat trajectory and extended range performance in a sensibly designed compact package.

The name says it all! The 6.5 Precision Rifle Cartridge was designed to achieve the highest levels of accuracy, flat trajectory and extended range performance in a sensibly designed compact package.

Utilizing moderate powder charges that result in repeatable accuracy, low recoil and reasonable barrel life, the 6.5 PRC produces high velocities for target shooting with performance well beyond 1000 yards.

Rifle makers currently chambering the 6.5 PRC include GA Precision, Gunwerks, PROOF Research, Stuteville Precision and Seekins Precision. Check back often as additional gun manufacturers confirm chambering the 6.5 PRC.

There’s a lot more to cover, and information is still coming in daily on the new products announced for next year. Stay tuned for a more in depth look at these items as we get a chance to demo them.

SKILLS: Riflescopes: Adjustments & Variable Power


There’s a lot to learn to really understand riflescopes and make the best choice. Here’s another valuable lesson. Keep reading…



Windage and elevation adjustments in riflescopes are made with either internal or external adjustment systems. Here’s what that means.

Internal: Most modern telescopic sights have internal adjustment systems using threaded, cylindrical knobs or screws in the turrets. The adjustment screws move the reticle assembly in the optical axis inside the main tube against spring pressure. The adjustment screws have clearly marked graduations around their circumference and many have a ball-detent system that clicks as the adjustment screws are turned. Each graduation or click represents a change in reticle position that moves the bullet strike at the target. This is expressed in minutes of angle (m.o.a.) and normally has a value of 1/2, 1/4 or 1/8 m.o.a. per click.

External: Many older scopes have an external-adjustment system built into the mounts and rings. Such scopes remain popular today for certain types of target competition. In this type of scope, the reticle remains stationary within the main tube and the point of the bullet strike is adjusted by mounts having micrometer windage and elevation mechanisms that move the entire scope laterally and/or vertically. These mounts often allow the scope to slide fore and aft to reduce recoil. An advantage of external-adjustment scopes is that the user is always sighting through the optical center of the tube.

As internal-adjustment systems became more reliable and more accurate, the popularity of external-adjustment scopes faded. Today, external-adjustment models are still offered, however the use of such scopes is now generally limited to a few specialized disciplines of rifle competition.

It is important to note that some scope-mounting systems designed for internal-adjustment scopes still incorporate the ability to accommodate some coarse external windage adjustment.

This leads us to the discussion of variable power. Variable-power riflescopes have an internal mechanism to change the amount of magnification within design limits. This consists of an additional set of lenses mounted in an internal tube that slides forward and rearward under the control of a cam attached to the magnification ring. The design of the lens system and its position in the tube controls the amount of magnification.

The popularity of variable-power riflescopes rests squarely on their flexibility. Variable magnification enables the shooter to adjsut the power to suit a wide variety of conditions ranging from lower power (with a wide field of view for fast shots at close range), to higher power (for greater precision at long range). Once considered expensive and unreliable, variable-power riflescopes have become the most popular type as their design has matured and prices have dropped. Todya, the single most popular riflescope is the 3-9X-40mm, which has become a kind of “jack of all trades.” Smaller variables such as 2-7X-32mm remain popular for smaller-caliber rifles, while 4.5-12X-50mm and bigger models are favored for long-range shooting. Despite their flexibility, no one variable fits all applications and that is why there are so many different models.

Despite their popularity, variable-power riflescopes may suffer from certain drawbacks:
ONE: The variable magnification system introduces another level of mechanical complexity and another source for optical error, potentially decreasing reliability.

TWO: The movement of the internal components of a variable-power scope can produce changes in zero as the scope power is increased or decreased.

THREE: Variable-power scopes are harder to seal than fixed-power scopes by virtue of the magnification-adjustment ring.
As the magnification increases, the field of view and image brightness decrease, often substantially.

FOUR: Variable-magnification scopes are substantially heavier than fixed-power scopes.

FIVE: Variable-power scopes are more expensive than fixed-power scopes.

Optics Terms Defined: Magnification and Objective Lens


When it comes to optics for firearms, the specific terms that people use to describe them can be confusing. Here’s what all that argot actually means…

optics array

by NRA Staff

The magnification, or power, of a riflescope is expressed as a number corresponding to the size of an object viewed at a specified distance through the scope, relative to its size as seen with the naked eye. Put another way, an object 100 yards distant viewed through a 10X scope will appear to be the same size as if it were viewed with the naked eye from 10 yards away. Different scope magnifications are used for specific shooting activities.

High-magnification riflescopes from 15X to 50X with objective lens diameters of 40-50mm or more with adjustable objective-lens systems are popular for various types of centerfire rifle competitions such as benchrest and F-Class.

Varmint shooters normally prefer a scope with magnification levels of 12X to 24X and adjustable objective lens diameters of 44-50mm for their precision work.

Long-range big-game hunting demands a scope with an adjustable objective lens system of approximately 40mm diameter with power levels up to 15X that enable the hunter to judge game and wind conditions at extreme distances.

At dawn, dusk or during poor light conditions, scopes with large objective lenses of 50mm and above that gather all existing light are preferable, with powers between 6X and 12X. Illuminated reticles are a popular option on these scopes.

Low-power scopes of 1.1X to 4X with a wide field of view and fixed objective are well-suited for hunting in woods or brush at close range.

For general-purpose hunting, most sportsmen are well served by a 3-9X-40mm variable scope with fixed objective, which is a good compromise between a wide field of view for close shots (at 3X) and added magnification (at 9X) for distant shots.

As magnification levels increase, the field of view decreases, which makes target acquisition increasingly difficult. Increasing magnification also magnifies movement, making the reticle appear less steady and thus hampering the ability of many shooters to hold their point of aim. These factors conspire to make most scopes over 8X very difficult to use without a solid rest. When shooting from a rest on a bench, a narrow field of view and high magnification are less of a problem.

Objective Lens
The objective lens is the light-gathering lens at the front of the scope. The larger the diameter of the objective lens, the more light will be admitted into the scope. This results in a larger exit pupil with a brighter image.

Most riflescopes have objective lens diameters from 32mm to 44mm. These provide a good balance between light-gathering capability, cost and image quality. Such riflescopes are relatively lightweight and easy to mount on most rifles. For many hunting applications, such riflescopes are an excellent choice.

For hunting at dusk, dawn or in very low light conditions, the increased light-gathering capability of a larger objective lens may be a better choice. For such conditions, most scope manufacturers offer models with 50mm to 56mm objective lenses. However, there is a penalty to be paid for th is increased performance in the form of substantially increased weight, higher cost and difficulty in mounting a scope with such a large objective.

Varmint hunters and some target shooters prefer riflescopes with large 50mm or greater objective lenses for a different reason. They want a higher-power scope of 12X or more with a clear, crisp, flat image with excellent contrast and an adjustable objective to remove parallax. The image quality reduces eyestrain and enables them to clearly see small targets at long ranges and to judge wind and mirage precisely. They also spend considerable time looking through the scope with the rifle held on a solid rest, so unsteadiness from high magnification and a narrow field of view is less important.

7 Things to Do Before Rifle Season


Preparation is the key to virtually any successful venture, and deer hunting is no exception! Here are some valuable tips on how to best spend your time getting ready to go… Keep reading.

hunting trip
Image by Jim Bulger/Colorado Parks and Wildlife

by Steve Johnson, NRA Publications

Hunting season officially starts in September in most states…even earlier in others. Most states open with archery season and, as things progress and the rut draws nearer, they have a shorter season for folks who hunt with firearms. As a kid, firearm deer season in Nebraska was always the holy grail of hunting. We would get our rifles out and head to the range, usually on a cool October afternoon, staple a paper plate up on the 100-yard backstop and head back to the bench. Most of the guys I hunted with would take a shot or two, and if they hit the plate say, “meh, good enough,” then case their rifle back up and let the next guy shoot. Strictly speaking, you may only require a permit, rifle, ammo, and knife to go hunting, but there is more to it. A lot more.

ONE: First off: Boots
If you’ve never had a bad pair of boots, it can make it hard to appreciate a good pair. If you’ve only had good boots, you’re lucky or smart. Before you rush out and just buy a pair of “hunting boots” think about where you’ll be hunting and spend some time researching the correct boot for your environment. We grew up hunting in Sorel pack boots, which are great, as they’re waterproof and warm. If you go with a leather boot, Danner is worth a look, just make sure to protect them with the manufacturer’s recommended product for waterproofing.

TWO: Clothes
Both underwear and outer wear require thought beyond “what’s the coolest camo pattern”: Consider breathability, insulation properties (especially when wet), how well it layers, windproofing, etc. Will you be hunting in a tree stand-stationary and exposed-or still hunting, where you can find a warmer spot to sit? Think about where you’re hunting and which performance features will mean the most to you, then purchase accordingly. Check out companies like Icebreaker for out-of-this-world wool clothing. Synthetics have come a long way in the past 10 years, and one of the very best is Sitka.

THREE: Blades
There are a lot of good knives on the market, from the timeless Buck 119 to hunting knives that are bound to be classics like the KA-BAR Gamestalker. The one thing a knife needs to do is get sharp and hold an edge. Taking a dull knife into the field is dangerous. A sharp knife makes work quicker, easier and safer. Trying to cut tough materials, tendons, cartilage and hide with a dull and slippery knife is a good way to earn a trip to the emergency room. Keep your knife sharp. Sharpening a knife is a lost art, so take the time and learn how to sharpen your blade, get a good one and build a “relationship” with that piece of equipment. It will likely be one you can pass to a son or daughter along with your love of hunting.

Check out Midsouth offerings HERE

FOUR: Gather Intel
Trail cams have become a very important tool for the hunter, regardless of the species you hunt. They provide a lot of information about the type of critters passing through and their schedules. Trailcams can be found easily online. Spend some time researching features and talk to friends to get recommendations on the best camera for your hunting application.

Check out Midsouth offerings HERE

FIVE: Prepare Your Hunting Grounds
Prior to season, you’ll also want to head out for an afternoon and make sure your stands are in good repair, and that nothing has broken over the off-season. If you pull your stands after the season, this is the time to get them reinstalled. Cutting shooting lanes while branches still have foliage is not a bad idea either, as the foliage makes it easier to see all the little branches that might be missed if you cut a lane after the leaves have dropped.

SIX: Pack it Up
Make sure you’ve selected the correct pack for your hunt. There are many types of packs, frame packs, soft shell packs, hybrid packs…it’s almost limitless. The basic rule: “go in light, come out heavy.” This is the right idea. Take in only the essentials, and make sure and include spare batteries for any device that you will be using. Carrying a separate GPS is still a good idea, as cell phone battery life is normally very short when compared to a handheld GPS unit. Plus, there is a very good chance your cell phone GPS won’t work in a remote area. If you are hunting a large expanse of land on foot or horseback, it’s also wise to carry an old-fashioned paper map of the area, as paper maps are lightweight, and the batteries never go dead. At least one good flashlight is a must. LED flashlights have much longer battery life and generate more light with less energy. Basic firs- aid equipment is also a requirement. You’ll also want to make sure that you’ve got a back up knife, extra gloves and stocking cap so you can rotate them as they become sweaty or wet.

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SEVEN: Nom Nom Nom
Nothing will make you long to leave your tree stand like an empty stomach (not to mention how noisy it can get.) Some healthy, high-energy snacks are also a must. Nuts provide excellent energy and salt that you need to help replace minerals. Beef jerky is also an excellent, high protein, higher sodium snack that is very lightweight.

Exercising With Firearms


No matter how active you might be there’s no reason not to enjoy greater security while engaged in your favorite outdoor pastime. Here’s four ideas on how!

UnderTech Undercover
Belly bands, like this model from UnderTech Undercover, are great for carrying while exercising. They are light, help keep the firearm secure, and dry quickly.

Source: NRAFamily, Brad Fitzpatrick

Like many hunters, I love the great outdoors, but my passion extends far beyond hunting season. I like to ride bikes, run, hike, and fish, and these activities sometimes take me to remote areas. But even if you’re into the most extreme sports it doesn’t mean you have to leave your firearm behind. You can still carry concealed and still feel safe no matter if you’re hiking deep in a remote wilderness area or jogging down a city street at night. Some activities like bicycling and running don’t lend themselves to concealed carry — you’re probably going to be exerting a lot of energy and don’t want a firearm flopping on your side during the process. Unfortunately, exercise makes us vulnerable to attack, and if you have a concealed carry permit there’s no reason not to keep your firearm on-hand even when you’re involved in high-energy activities. You simply need to follow some basic guidelines on how to carry while breaking a sweat. Here are four key points to remember when carrying a concealed firearm while exercising.

One: Find a Compact Firearm That is Easy to Carry
For daily carry, I prefer a 1911 Commander .45. But when I’m out running or biking, that one can be a little bulky, so I had to find a gun that was compact and easy to carry even when I’m working hard. Small semiautos like the Colt Mustang .380, Ruger LCP, and Smith & Wesson Bodyguard are all great choices. Lightweight revolvers also work well, and they are easy to conceal under lightweight athletic clothing.

Ruger LCP
Compact semiautos, like the Ruger LCP, are light, slim, and easy to carry.

Two: Make Sure Your Firearm is Corrosion-Resistant
If you’re going to work out you’re probably going to sweat, and perspiration has a corrosive effect. This can damage your guns if they aren’t resistant to these corrosive elements, so find a gun that has a tough finish that won’t be damaged if it is exposed to perspiration on a daily basis. Tenifer, Cerakote, or Melonite finishes are very tough, and stainless-steel guns are less prone to rusting than blued firearms. Wooden grips are also prone to swelling when wet, but synthetic grips are light, tough, and resistant to the effects of moisture.

Three: Find a Carry Method That Works
Belly band holsters are a great choice, and the elastic will dry out quickly after you exercise. Other good options include fanny packs or holsters designed specifically for running like the Desantis Road Runner. Small inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters work well, too, but they must be comfortable and shouldn’t chafe while working out or expending a lot of energy. Synthetic fibers tend to hold up well and dry quickly; leather will sometimes absorb moisture, and excess perspiration may damage the holster over time. It is critically important that the gun is secured close to the body and can be carried safely, yet is quickly accessible.

Desantis Road Runner
The Desantis Road Runner holster keeps your pistol close at hand and it fit in with just about any outdoor activity.

Four: Perform Trial Runs
You need to break-in new shoes before a really long run to ensure that they fit and don’t hurt your feet, and the same is true for an exercise holster. You don’t want to be four or five miles into a 10-mile hike and suddenly realize that your holster is rubbing or chafing, so start with shorter workouts and make sure that the system you have chosen works for you. If you find out that your holster is uncomfortable you probably won’t wear it, and that defeats the purpose. You may have to wear something under your holster like triathlon shorts to prevent rubbing, and if the holster doesn’t fit and the gun flops while you’re moving, you need to either tighten it or find a different carry method.