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3 Best Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense

When it comes to protecting your home and loved ones, having the right tools at your disposal is paramount. While handguns are often a popular choice for self-defense, the effectiveness of a shotgun for home defense cannot be overstated. Its formidable power, wider spread, and greater stopping potential make it an ideal companion to your best handgun. However, the success of any firearm ultimately depends on the ammunition you use. 

In this article, we will explore the top three shotgun ammunitions that offer the perfect combination of reliability, stopping power, and safety for home defense scenarios. Whether you’re a seasoned gun owner or a first-time buyer looking to secure your household, read on to discover the best shotgun ammunition options that will complement your best handgun, ensuring your home defense strategy is both effective and reliable.

Key Takeaways

  • Choosing the right shotgun ammo for home defense is crucial and depends on factors such as gauge, projectile weight and material, penetration and stopping power, and recoil.
  • The three best options for home defense are Buckshot (00 Buckshot or 4 Buckshot), Slug (Hollow Point or Sabot Slug), and low recoil Birdshot.
  • It’s important to do thorough research before making any purchases, consult with a professional or experienced shooter if possible, and consider ballistics gel testing results and expert recommendations.
  • Always handle your shotgun ammo safely by storing it properly out of reach from children or unauthorized access, practice caution when handling firearms, and ensure that you understand how they function before using them for self-defense purposes.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense 

When choosing shotgun ammo for home defense, several factors must be taken into account, including the gauge and caliber of the rounds, projectile weight and material, penetration and stopping power, and recoil.

Gauge and Caliber 

Gauge and pistol caliber comparisons are crucial factors to consider when choosing the best shotgun ammunition for home defense. These terms refer to the bore’s size, which is a shotgun barrel’s interior diameter.

A smaller gauge number generally indicates a larger bore diameter and more significant firepower.

The 12 gauge is often considered an all-around choice due to its versatility for home defense and hunting applications. However, some homeowners may prefer the lighter recoil offered by 20-gauge shotguns, which can still deliver effective stopping power while being easier to maneuver during high-stress situations.

Ultimately, it’s essential to factor in your own level of comfort with firearm handling and your specific needs when determining the ideal shotgun gauge for you.

Projectile Weight and Material 

Projectile weight and material are key factors you should consider when selecting the perfect shotgun ammunition for home defense.

For example, heavier projectiles may have better stopping power but could also cause over-penetration through walls, posing a risk to other people in your home or neighboring properties.

On the other hand, lighter projectiles like birdshot pellets may not penetrate as deeply but will produce less recoil and provide a wider spread – making it easier to hit your target under duress.

Understanding how projectile weight and material affect your shotgun ammunition’s performance is crucial as you weigh options that balance safety, accuracy, and stopping power for effective home defense purposes.

Penetration and Stopping Power 

Penetration and stopping power are crucial factors to evaluate when selecting the ideal shotgun ammunition for home defense. Effective stopping power is essential in quickly neutralizing a threat, while penetration refers to the ability of a projectile to pass through barriers or obstacles such as interior walls.

For instance, Number 1 buckshot has been found to reliably provide adequate stopping power with controlled penetration levels for home defense scenarios. The 12 and 20-gauge options offer higher stopping power than lighter choices like the .410 bore, making them better suited for protecting your home.

Recoil 

Recoil is an important factor to consider when choosing shotgun ammo for home defense. Recoil is the force that pushes back against the shooter when firing a gun, and it can be a significant issue if not managed properly.

High recoil can cause shooters to miss their target or make follow-up shots difficult, which could be disastrous in a self-defense situation. To reduce recoil, many manufacturers offer low-recoil shotgun rounds specifically designed for home defense.

These specialized ammunition options are engineered to minimize felt recoil by incorporating reduced powder charges compared to traditional hunting rounds. By pairing the best handgun with these low-recoil shotgun rounds, you can optimize your ability to handle your firearms effectively, ensuring greater accuracy and faster target acquisition during critical moments.

The Top 3 Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense 

These three shotgun ammo types have proven to be the most effective for home defense: 00 Buckshot, Hollow Point Slug, and 4 Buckshot.

Buckshot (00 Buckshot, 4 Buckshot) 

Buckshot is a popular choice for home defense shotgun ammunition. The most common sizes are #00 bucks and #4 bucks. #00 buckshot consists of nine large pellets, while #4 buckshot has 27 smaller pellets, making it an excellent option for those who want to reduce the risk of over-penetration in their homes.

Another factor to consider when choosing between different types of buckshot is pellet count and projectile size. While 9 large pellets provide better penetration than 27 small ones, it may be too much if you’re looking to avoid damage beyond your intended target.

Slug (Hollow Point, Sabot Slug) 

Another effective type of shotgun ammunition for home defense is the slug shell, which is a single projectile that can deliver significant stopping power. Hollow point slugs are designed to expand upon impact, creating a wider wound channel and increasing their effectiveness.

One advantage of using slugs for home defense is their high accuracy and long-range capabilities. This makes them ideal for situations where you may need to defend yourself from a distance.

However, it’s important to note that slugs have greater penetration than birdshot or buckshot shells and can potentially go through walls or other objects in your home.

Birdshot 

Birdshot is a type of shotgun ammo that contains small pellets, typically used for hunting birds or other small game. However, experts advise against using birdshot for home defense purposes.

The small size of the pellets means they lack stopping power and may not penetrate deeply enough to stop an intruder. In contrast, buckshot and slug rounds are larger and heavier projectiles designed for self-defense situations.

While birdshot may seem like an appealing choice due to its lower recoil and potential to cause less damage to walls in your home compared to other rounds, it lacks the necessary penetration required for effective self-defense.

Instead, if looking at ammo options for home defense weapons, consider buckshot or slug rounds, as these have proven effective in stopping threats quickly.

Other Options Based on Factors Above 

In addition to the top three shotgun ammo options for home defense, there are other factors to consider when choosing the best ammunition for your specific needs. For example, if overpenetration is a concern, consider frangible or reduced-lead buckshot rounds that break apart on impact and reduce the risk of collateral damage.

Alternatively, low-recoil birdshot may be a more suitable option if you live in an apartment complex or densely populated area where noise pollution concerns you.

Ultimately, choosing the right shotgun ammo depends on your circumstances and preferences. It’s important to do thorough research before making any purchases and consult with a professional or experienced shooter if possible.

Ammo Testing and Reviews 

To determine the most effective shotgun ammo for home defense, ballistics gel testing and expert reviews are crucial in ensuring you make an informed decision.

Ballistics Gel Testing 

Ballistics gel testing is a standard method for testing ammunition and measuring its terminal ballistics, bullet penetration, and damage assessment. Clear ballistics gel is the most commonly used medium for this type of testing as it closely mimics the density of human tissue, providing an accurate representation of how bullets would behave when fired into someone’s body.

The FBI also requires gelatin medium in their ammo testing protocol to ensure consistency across different products.

Expert Reviews and Recommendations 

Expert reviews and recommendations can be invaluable when choosing the right shotgun ammo for home defense. Ballistics experts have tested and evaluated various types of ammunition to determine their reliability, stopping power, penetration, and accuracy.

Some popular sources for expert reviews include websites like Gun Digest, The Loadout Room, and Shooting Illustrated.

One example of an expert recommendation is number 1 buckshot, the smallest diameter shot that reliably serves as self-defense ammo. Slug rounds are also highly recommended due to their accuracy at longer distances and ability to penetrate through barriers.

How to Safely Store and Handle Shotgun Ammo for Home Defense 

Proper storage and handling of shotgun ammunition is crucial for the safety of yourself and those around you. The first step in safe storage involves keeping your ammunition in a dry, cool place away from heat, moisture, or direct sunlight that can damage the shells’ integrity.

When handling shotgun ammo, always keep safety as your top priority. Ensure that your firearm is unloaded before you handle any ammunition, and wear appropriate eye and ear protection while shooting to prevent accidents.

Also, remember never to mix different types of shotshells because they may have different velocities and patterns that could affect their accuracy when fired.

Following these simple steps for proper storage and handling of shotgun ammo for home defense or hunting purposes helps ensure years of safe utilization without incident!

Conclusion 

Ultimately, the safety and security of your household should always be a top priority. By pairing the best handgun with the right shotgun ammunition, you can create a robust home defense strategy that maximizes your chances of protecting yourself and your loved ones in times of crisis. 

The three best options for home defense are Buckshot (00 Buckshot or 4 Buckshot), Slug (Hollow Point or Sabot Slug), and low recoil Birdshot. Federal Premium offers some of the best tactical shotgun ammunition for home defense.

Remember to handle your shotgun ammo safely by storing it properly and keeping them out of reach from children or unauthorized access.

Choosing the Best Scopes for Hunting: Crossbows and Rifles

If you’re looking to do any form of hunting, having the right equipment and tools for the job is one of the most important things to get in order first.

The central piece of equipment in any hunting outing is the weapons system you’ll be using to hunt down game. And everyone in the know knows that one of the most critical parts of that weapon is the optic mounted on it.

Whether you’re using a hunting rifle or a crossbow, you should use the appropriate optic to help you take more accurate shots. Allow us to help you find the right one for your needs by giving you the factors to consider when choosing.

Can You Use Optics on Crossbows?

Crossbows generally have a shorter range than hunting rifles. This is because they shoot a spring-loaded projectile rather than gas-propelled bullets.

This range limitation will have an effect on which optics are appropriate to use on crossbows. Any scope you use will generally need lower magnifications than most rifle scopes.

However, it is possible to mount rifle optics on crossbows because most crossbows use the same mounting systems that are on most modern rifles, such as Picatinny rails.

The only issue you’ll face is that some features on the rifle optic might be useless on your crossbow. Examples of this are windage and bullet drop turrets.

These turrets are calibrated to specific rounds and bullet speeds, so using them on a crossbow will be useless and may make you more inaccurate at your ideal engagement distances.

However, zeroing in rifle scopes at 40 yards and using them within that range is fine. Your bolts will be deadly-accurate at the range you’ve zeroed your crossbow to.

How Are Rifle Optics Special?

Rifle optics are a little different than the ones used on crossbows. For accuracy, rifle optic magnification is directly tied to their more extended range compared to crossbows.

This means that the farther a hunting rifle can shoot, the more zoom you’ll need to deliver shots at that range. After all, what use is a long-range rifle when it’s paired with only a reflex sight? Not much.

Most rifle scopes that can zoom in from a lower magnification, like 1x or 2x, to a higher magnification, like 6, 8, or 10x, are called LPVOs or Low Power Variable Optics

These use specially coated lenses that are magnified for different power levels. LPVOs can seamlessly switch from one magnification to the next for a better shooting experience.

What to Look for When Choosing a Scope or Optic for Hunting

There are a few things you should look out for when picking out an optic for hunting.

The main features you’ll want your scope to have are appropriate zoom, low-light performance, glass quality, and a clear reticle.

Magnification

You should pick a scope that has a zoom level appropriate to the range you’ll mostly be hunting at. It should also be based on the capability of your weapon.

If you’re using a crossbow, try not to get an optic that zooms out to 10x or more. This just adds more weight and cost to the scope that you won’t be able to use.

Low Light Performance

Shooting in low light is a lot easier with an optic glass that can handle it. Whether you’re shooting at dusk or dawn, you’ll want a scope that can let you see well in darker conditions.

Most hunting grounds, like forests, can already be hard to navigate through and aim in during ideal lighting conditions, so you’ll appreciate scopes that have good low-light performance.

Optical Glass Quality

An expectation you should have from all scopes is that they’re clear and easy to see through. Why get an optic that is blurry, fogs up easily, and is annoying to look through?

There are many scopes that have multi-coated lenses with features like anti-glare, fog-proofing, waterproofing, and scratch-resistance.

While getting higher quality optical quality usually corresponds to higher costs, it’s an investment you won’t regret.

Reticle Clarity

The most popular reticles for hunting are those that aren’t too busy or complicated to use. Hunting grounds can look congested as is without obstructive reticles.

This is especially true if you’re hunting at shorter ranges in dense foliage. If you’re shooting in clearer areas at longer distances, you can choose reticles with longer-range features like mil-dots or hash marks.

You don’t want to be aiming at your target through a thick brush and then miss because you aimed at it through the wrong holdover.

PRO TIP: You’ll also want to bring other must-have accessories for precision hunting other than your scope.

Frequently Asked Questions

After reading about the best scopes for hunters, you might have some more questions about hunting optics.

What Lens Magnification Is Best for Hunting?

A variable zoom scope is the best option because you’ll need it to adjust for close and longer-range hunting. However, most hunters will be satisfied with an 8x or 10x max magnification.

If you’re hunting at even farther ranges, then you can consider higher zoom scopes. Just remember that your weapon should be capable of hitting that far, too.

What Is the Most Popular Reticle for Hunting?

The most popular reticle most hunters use is the Duplex reticle. This is because of the thick lines on the edges that narrow down towards the middle.

This makes it easier for a hunter to distinguish a target from the background and acquire the target quicker.

How far can you shoot with a 3-9×40 scope?

The ideal range to shoot with a 3-9×40 scope is between 50 and 300 yards. Shooting at distances closer might be difficult because it’s too zoomed in.

On the flip side, shooting at farther distances can be tricky because you’ll have a hard time seeing the target correctly.

Conclusion

Whether you’re looking to spend a lot of money on a hunting scope or a budget one to start out, there are many options for both crossbows and rifles.

When picking one, remember that you’ll need one with excellent optic quality, low light performance, a clear reticle, and appropriate zoom levels to where you’re shooting.

5 Must-Have Accessories for Precision Hunting

Hunting is an enjoyable sport in the USA. Many people hold legal licenses for hunting. According to Statista, 38.59 million Americans hold hunting licenses, tags, permits, etc. Moreover, the US government promotes hunting as a sport. This is because the decline in hunting can threaten conservation funding. After all, it depends primarily on the sales of hunting licenses.

Hunting is a sport that requires the utmost attention to detail. One wrong move and you could miss your target, causing you to lose an entire day of hunting. To help you succeed at their craft, you will need some essential accessories for precision hunting, including rifle scopes and optical sights, shooting sticks, bipods, etc.

Rifle Scopes

Scope magnification is one of the essential features to consider when buying a rifle scope. The higher the magnification, the more expensive and heavier the scope. You should choose your magnification based on how far away you plan to shoot. 

For example, if you’re hunting from 100 yards away or less, then a 3-9x40mm would be adequate. But if you plan on shooting from long distances, like 300+ yards, it’s best to go with something like 10x42mm.

Several other factors can affect your rifle’s performance with a certain scope mount. These can include the following:

  • Eye relief
  • Field of view
  • Weight
  • Durability
  • Price point
  • Mounting options like rings and adapters, etc.

Rifle scopes are almost an integral part of rifles. Rifles are usually used for long-distance shooting. On the other hand, having scopes can help with a clear view of the target. Hence, they go well with each other. Due to this very reason, the global rifle scope market is expected to grow exponentially. It is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% from 2020 to 2027.

Shooting Sticks

Shooting sticks are a basic yet essential gear for the precision hunter. Shooting sticks can be used to steady your shot, improve your position and angle on the target, and minimize detection by prey.

Shooting sticks are generally lightweight, collapsible wooden handholds that attach with a small metal pin or rubber band. Some versions have an adjustable height feature that allows you to get into a better position at different ranges. You can also use shooting sticks to increase the distance between you and your target by using them as poles to prevent yourself from being seen while hunting in an area with limited visibility.

Optical Sights

Optical sights are incredibly useful for increasing accuracy in the field. They can be used on rifles or handguns and help you see past obstacles in low light conditions, which means you won’t miss a shot when it matters most.

You may wonder why this accessory is necessary for hunting rather than target practice. The truth is that when it comes to long-range shooting, optical sights are one of the best ways to improve your aim and hit moving targets with ease, and there’s no better way to accomplish that than with an optic sight.

There are different types of sights, each with some benefits and disadvantages. For instance, night optics, red dot sights, holographic sights, etc., are some options you can choose to mount on your rifle. When deciding between sights, it is best to compare each. 

You can do a red dot vs. holographic sights comparison to choose between the two types of sights. Red dots are easier to use, while holographic sights are a little complicated. However, holographic sights offer better precision than the former. Hence, you should compare and see which provides better benefits to your hunting style.

Rifle Bipods

The ability to quickly deploy a bipod is one of the most essential features you will look for when choosing a bipod. You want to be able to set up your rifle and be ready to shoot within seconds. 

The best way to do this is by having a quick-release lever on the side of your bipod, allowing you to drop it quickly if necessary or even remove it entirely if you are transporting your rifle by hand or storing it away in an overhead compartment or gun safe.

The next step is deciding what type of bipod is right for you, swivel leg or fixed leg. Swivel leg models can pivot freely at any point on their legs and are ideal for terrain where uneven ground makes using one fixed position impossible. However, they also have some drawbacks.

Fixed leg designs tend to provide more stability and allow greater customization because the shooter can choose exactly where he wants his feet planted on the ground based on his body height and shooting style.

Rifle bipods are extremely useful in mountain hunting. This is because stability and precision are of utmost importance for mountain hunting. You can even use your backpack and still hit the target, but they are usually unreliable. But when you use bipods, you can rest assured that they will offer the best rest.

Rangefinders

Rangefinders are the most important accessory for hunting, and they’re also the most interesting. They can measure the distance between you and your target, which helps track the game and calculate the best shot. However, rangefinders have a lot of other features that make them useful for precision hunting.

For example, if you’re hunting with friends or family members who don’t have a rangefinder yet, consider buying one as an accessory so everyone can share in this great experience. You can train yourself to use it together before heading out into the field. Having multiple people equipped with one will increase your chances of success.

Rangefinders aren’t just useful when using a gun, either. They’re equally helpful when using a bow or crossbow. If you’re unsure whether or not it’s legal where you live, check out some informational resources on the internet for help.

Conclusion

You need accessories such as rifle scopes and rifle bipods to help you succeed at hunting. The right accessories can help you be more accurate and effective when hunting. While it might not seem like much, their small size can significantly affect your success rate. So what are you waiting for? Start shopping today.

Best Scope for Hog Hunting: Digital vs.Thermal

Hog hunting is one of the hardest tests for any hunter. Thousands of hunters go hog hunting every year. Hog’s adaptation to the environment and their extraordinary dodging skills make hunting them a hard task. The right scope would be your best partner during it.

Image : Hog hunting 

Attribution of image: Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels

There are two main types of scopes that you should consider before going hunting hogs. Let’s get deeply into them and see which one should be your preference.

Thermal Scopes

Thermal scopes provide excellent clarity in all lighting conditions and allow you to see your target even when it is hidden in thick vegetation. Professionals also prefer Thermal scopes for hog hunting because they have a built-in rangefinder, which makes it easy to determine the distance to your target.

Another advantage of thermal scopes is that they can be used to hunt other game animals as well. So if you are looking for a scope that can be used for a variety of purposes, then a thermal scope is the best option.

Image : Thermal scope on a gun.

Attribution of image: Alex Surd on Pexels

Pros 

Thermal scopes are a great option for hog hunting because of these advantages:

  • Allow you to see in complete darkness. 
  • Work by picking up the heat of nearby animals. 
  • Ideal for hunting hogs, which are active at night.
  • Could be used for hunting various animals.

Cons

There are a few cons of using thermal scopes for hog hunting:

  •  More expensive than digital scopes. 
  • Heavier and bulkier than digital scopes, which can make them difficult to carry around.
  • Not as versatile as digital scopes and can only be used in certain lighting conditions.

Overall, thermal scopes are a great choice for hog hunting, but these are some things to consider before making a purchase.

Digital Scopes

The second type of scope is digital scope. Although they’re not widely used, they’re getting more popular day by day. 

Digital scopes are not as good as thermal scopes for hog hunting, but they still make sense to be bought. They are way cheaper and provide the best sight during daylight. Their lightweight and compactness make carrying them super easy for hunters.

Image: Digital scope on a rifle.

Attribution of image: Alex Andrew from Pexels

Pros 

Due to these reasons, they’re frequently attracting hunters:

  • Digital scopes are typically cheaper than thermal scopes.
  • They are also more lightweight and compact. 
  • Easier to use, as they do not require the user to adjust the focus.

Cons 

Though digital scopes are becoming more popular by the day, they have a few disadvantages:

  • Difficult to use in low-light conditions.
  • They can be easily damaged.
  • Dropping a digital scope or getting it wet can damage the internal components and render it useless.

Conclusion

When it comes to hunting hogs, you have two main options. Choosing any of them clearly depends on your own personal preferences and needs. If you want to be able to see your targets clearly in all lighting conditions, then a digital scope is the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a scope that can help you hunt hogs even in complete darkness, then a thermal scope is the better option.

No matter which option you choose, make sure you do your research to find the best scope for hog hunting possible. That way, you can be confident that you’re taking home dinner this hunting season.

Author Bio

After doing her BA from ASU, Marcie Young held various jobs in different industries. She is now passionate about growing her blog where she writes about various topics related to gun safety, firearms ownership, and self-defense. She is a strong advocate of the 2nd amendment after a horrible experience she has had on the streets.

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Protecting Your Hunting Rifle from The Elements

It’s important to understand that not all hunters prefer making the long-shot with an AR rifle and still use bolt action or low magazine capacity high-caliber rifles with various choices of wood or polymer buttstock and forend, optic systems rifled barrels. You’ll want to consider the finish on your rifle, the material of the barrel and parts, as well as your maintenance practices.

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Types of Finishes 

Anodized Type III Hard Coating

For most who typically use an AR15 platform rifle on their hunting trips protecting an upper receiver or lower receiver and barrel means providing the gun a thorough cleaning before and after a hunt. The main reason for this is that most of the AR15 rifles, parts, and accessories come from the factories with Type III Anodized coatings. To a DIY AR15 builder, this means the finished product will be as tough as nails, resistant to most atmospheric conditions, and compatible with most adhesives.

Cerakote Finish

While a Cerakote Finish is relatively simple to apply, it does require a few additional steps other than just applying it yourself. You’ll need to completely disassemble your rifle, sandblast each piece, or use liquid sandblast products such as Eastwood Dustless Liquid Media Blaster to ensure your rifle parts have the correct mechanical profile to ensure proper bonding. 

Then you’ll need to bake each piece for several hours to ensure the Cerakote finish bonds properly. Although the process is simple, it requires patience and the right equipment and skill to get it right.

Lamination

Most laminated stocks and forend handle the elements easily and are as solid and hard as rocks. In the early days of laminated wood, most companies glued large slabs together, and the stock and forend were then shaped, sanded, and polished to give the rifle a very appealing finish. 

These days, the laminations are extremely thin and soaked in epoxy solutions to create the same appealing finish and protect the stock and forend from even the harshest elements.

Types of Materials 

Polymer

Another option that works exceptionally well and withstands most degrees of harsh elements is replacing the stock and forend with a synthetic polymer. You will not only up the life span of the rifle, but you’ll also lessen the weight considerably. 

Suppose you’re a die-hard fan of wood stocks and forend and are looking for a middle ground solution that allows you to keep the historical legacy of the rifle. If that’s the case, consider laminated stocks and forend.

Wood

While wood stocks and forend make an attractive rifle for the die-hard traditional hunter, even the best-made stocks and forend on the market can succumb to harsh weather conditions if you don’t routinely maintain them. 

There are differing views on the best way to preserve rifles with wood stocks and forend, such as coating all the exposed wood with a sealant, including any instances of end grain. 

The problem with wood is that the buttstock or forend may degrade over time, even with a healthy sealant coating.

Maintenance 

Oil

Back in the day, the rule of thumb about gun oil was to use just enough to do the job but not too much because the oil was sure to gum up in cold weather operations and turn into sludge. Nowadays, most of the best gun oil products are synthetic, eliminating the need to apply oil sparingly.

One of the best products and approaches is to break your rifle down where all metal parts are exposed, then give each a heavy treatment of BreakFree LP Gun Oil. 

Be sure to apply liberal amounts of BreakFree LP to every aspect of all metal parts, including every crease, and work the oil into even the smallest nook and crevice. 

Let all the metal parts of your rifle sit overnight, wipe off the excess the next day, and then reassemble your rifle. Not only should this type of cleaning be added to your maintenance routine, but at the end of hunting season, it’s an essential step to take before returning your rifle to the gun case.

Using gun oil on bolt action rifles, pump-action shotguns, and even lever-operated guns has taken a paradigm shift in application since the arrival of the AR15. Most AR15 rifles thrive on ample supplies of gun lubrication and grease. 

For example, the trigger systems of most conventional firearms have very little tolerance to oil, especially when subjected to extreme cold situations. The firing systems and triggers on most AR15 rifles, in contradiction, require copious amounts of oil and grease lubrication to function well.

A person holding an objectDescription automatically generated with medium confidence

Regardless of whether you consistently apply the right kind of synthetic oil and gun grease, cold weather and moisture-laden atmospheres will create significant amounts of sludge that could foul the action portions of your rifle. 

Before you clean and lubricate your rifle, consider de-sludging all the moving parts with a can of Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber and give them all a good bath.  

While you will want to keep your hunting rifles free of sludge, dirt, and grime with routine cleanings, you’ll also need to consider a few more steps to keep your hunting rifles protected. 

Harsh marine saltwater atmospheric conditions or when hunting in near-freezing conditions and snow can wreak havoc not only with the external finish of your rifle but can degrade the internal operating parts to the degree your rifle becomes unusable.

Ammunition

This one may be a little challenging as market prices for ammunition have been on an escalator trip to the top floor, but it’s worth mentioning. Any round and any caliber of ballistic that uses potassium chlorate, or sodium chloride primers will pepper the internal operation of your rifle clog up your barrel with highly caustic material. 

The chemical salts produced from firing ammunition with these types of primers will coat your rifle’s insides and exterior and are solid magnets for attracting moisture and splotches of rust.

Conclusion 

It stands to reason that cosmetic blemish of rust can destroy any aesthetic appeal of your rifle, especially if you’re hoping to sell it and upgrade with another gun. Exterior blemishes may not look attractive, but splotches of exterior rust probably won’t keep your rifle from functioning as you expect.

However, once rust begins to accumulate on the interior moving parts of your rifle, such as a bolt carrier group or trigger system, be prepared for a complete operational shutdown. Again, there are a few opinions on how to keep your rifle protected. 

While some of your hunting friends may suggest having all the parts of your rifle blued to keep them safe, bluing will unfortunately not prevent rust from attacking both the exterior and interior of your rifle.

Protecting your rifles from the elements isn’t difficult, but it does require attention and a few bucks to apply Type III anodized or Cerakote finishes to your rifle. 

When money is your primary focus, there are still a few things you can do to guarantee years of dependable service from your favored hunting gun.

5 Tips For A Successful Hunting Season

Hunting season is a good reason to get up early, which doesn’t involve the stress of work. There’s nothing like the battle of wits against some cunning prey and bagging a huge buck filling you with pride and venison like nothing else.

Maximizing Your Hunting Sessions

However, hunting season also brings more than its fair share of missed shots as well as hunting-related injuries and accidents. So here are some of the best tips for going home with a big grin and not rushed to the hospital:

1. Know The Laws

Before planning a weekend of hunting, you need to know first your state’s laws. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has specific guidelines for hunters and hunting and provides links for comprehensive information on hunting laws of every state.

Specifically, you want to know these things:

  • Do you need a license?
  • Do you need to wear hunter orange?
  • Where can you hunt?
  • What weapon can you use?

Abiding by the law is important to ensure you’re hunting legally. In this way, you’d be able to conduct the activity without worrying about certain protocols.  

2. Maintain Your Gear

Find a successful hunter and you’ll find someone highly proficient and familiar with the equipment they use. You don’t want to spot a huge deer and let it escape just because of a minor malfunction. Any highly successful hunters don’t believe in luck as they work hard to prevent misfortunes. And it starts with the familiarity and proficiency in the hunting gears.

A highly effective and successful hunter knows the ins and outs of their gear and is highly proficient with everything they use. Most of the time, there are no missed shots just because their FN pistols and other equipment are off. They don’t miss a leaping opportunity just because they were a minute late getting on their stand since they couldn’t find their release.

3. Familiarize Yourself On The Hunting Location

If possible, you need to be familiar with the land where you’re hunting before conducting your session. Whether you’re hunting on public lands or get the opportunity to hunt a piece of private property, you need to take the time to understand and learn about the location where you’ll hunt.

Are you familiar with the water sources and feeding areas? Do you know where your prey typically beds down? By understanding the land, you’ll know where to wait and get the highest chance of a kill.

Another benefit is it also allows you to prepare. You can clear paths and remove impassable obstacles hindering your hunting adventure. There’s nothing worse than traveling to your preferred spot only to be stopped by a fallen tree.

Cruising the property you’ll be hunting on and ensuring the trails and roads are clear can create fewer headaches and problems when it’s time to hunt. In this way, you’d be able to maximize the limited time you have.

4. Scent Control

Never underestimate the importance of scent control when hunting deer. Their noses are highly sensitive defense systems, alerting them to predators which include you. And while you may practice good hygiene, for a deer like a whitetail, you’d stink and it’d spook them.

Fortunately, there are a variety of products allowing hunters to stay hygienic without scaring away their prey. Consider showering with a fragrance-free soap before your hunting trip. Also, keep your clothes sealed in a bag or plastic container with leaves. This helps your clothing to take on natural scents from your hunting location.

5. Take An Ethical Shot

Whether with a gun or a bow, taking an ethical shot on your prey is a crucial part of being a successful and responsible hunter. The definition of ‘ethical shot’ has been hotly debated for years, but it stands for the quickest and cleanest kill possible. This requires patience, practice, and the ability to pass up a shot that’s not ideal. It’s part of being a highly disciplined hunter.

Will you always get a quick and clean kill? Probably not, particularly if you’re an amateur or bowhunting. Still, you can always learn from experience. Also, when you made your shot, make sure to watch your prey for as long as possible and quickly find it. Even if you’re bowhunting and using some lighting nocks, the arrow could break off before the prey expires.

Regardless, do your best to learn from your experience and from others to make the most ethical shot possible.

Conclusion

With hunting season now in full swing, the woods are full of overly excited yet anxious hunters stalking and waiting for an opportune moment to take a shot at their prey. Hunting season is truly an exhilarating time for the outdoor enthusiast. And with the tips mentioned, you’d be able to snap a photo wearing a prideful grin and a hard-earned kill on your hands.

5 Gun Maintenance Tips for Your Next Hunting Trip

Hunting is one of the main ways descendants do to gather food and clothing for their communities. But these days, most people look forward to hunting trips to test their skills and enjoy the outdoors. While some people going on a trip use bows and arrows, guns remain the most common tool.

Maintaining Your Gun

With each use, your gun needs thorough care and cleaning to maintain safety and performance. Being a responsible gun owner entails a proper checkup of the weapon. Although you don’t have a career in gunsmithing, keeping your gun in good condition can be learned.

Here are some tips to have a well-maintained gun: 

1. Wipe The Barrel

Disarming your gun and wiping the barrel is the primary thing you should do. To begin, have your bore brush break the larger pieces of grime. After that, apply a cloth or a microfiber in bore solve and put it on your brush. Apply thoroughly and set aside around 10-15 minutes for the fluid to dry. 

Run the brush back to your gun’s the barrel once more and have another dry patch. Make sure to do this until no area picks up dirt.

2. Clean The Bolt Or Slide

Aside from the barrel, you should also clean the action of your gun, whether it’s a bolt or a slide. You’ll need to use a copper or nylon brush to scrub different pieces. Coat every piece thoroughly using a solvent spray. After that, hold the slide or bolt in a manner that the fluid will drip down to the pan or mat. 

Similar to the barrel, you should also let the solvent dry for 10-15 minutes before drying it using clean patches. 

3. Lubricate

After cleaning your gun, it’s important to apply lubrication to prevent damage and corrosion of different parts. Often, it comes with a tube and an applicator, allowing you to easily put it in precise locations where it’s necessary. 

Areas requiring lubrication will depend on the model and kind of gun. But generally, it’s best to apply it in locations where friction usually takes place like the points in which bolt or slide meet the frame and other points in which movements occur in action. For specific instructions, it’s a good idea to check the manual of your gun. 

While it is crucial to lubricate your gun, excessive lubrication might do more harm than good. The gun can gather bits of dust, debris, carbon, and unburnt powder which can create a sticky and thick slime, making it hard for your gun to function properly. 

4. Use The Right Load 

To ensure you’re getting the knockdown power as well as accuracy you need to optimize your gun, use premium and right bullets. It’s also crucial to match your load depending on your hunting trip. Bullet options for bigger games such as elk and moose must have a bonded core and thicker jacket to help guarantee a clean kill and help with penetration. Try asking gun shops for the best bullets in every hunting trip.

Always keep in mind to load bullets safely and securely to avoid accidents. Keep your fingers away from the trigger and make sure to put enough ammunition. If you’re new to using a gun, always put the safety on while loading or seek guidance from others.

5. Weatherproof Your Gun 

Rust is one of the greatest enemies of a gun, so make sure yours is well-protected. Cover the barrel’s end with durable electrical tape to keep water from coming. Doing so will allow you to protect it from wear and tear while you’re on a hunting trip. 

Make sure not to use duct tape since adhesive tends to leave tacky residues that can affect the bullet path and attract more dirt. See to it that your gun is neither sticky nor slippery to prevent mishandling.

Final Say 

Ensuring safety when using a gun is important, so maintaining your hunting tool clean is a must. Over time, tiny bullet fragments, leaving unburnt powder and dirt to build up. Though they contribute much to cause a misfire or jam, these can create malfunctions and possibly cause harm to its owner in the long run.

Aside from safety concerns, guns not maintained properly can cause performance problems. Messy firing pins may result in a light striking which will prevent the primer from burning the power in the bullet. 

So if you want your gun to function to its maximum potential and ensure safety, consider following the tips mentioned.

How To Stay Safe When Using A Handgun

Did you know that some soldiers carry sidearms? Apart from being a tradition in the U.S. military, having another gun as a backup can save a soldier’s life in a firefight. Imagine your rifle or machine gun jamming at the worst possible time, when enemies come charging at your position. A handgun can make a big difference.

The great outdoors is no warzone; hunting big game doesn’t warrant using a service rifle. Having a sidearm in a place where danger lurks behind the trees can save your life. Bear attacks, although rare, are a thing, especially if you bring your dog along on your camping trip. A few warning shots, at best, will discourage the bear and leave you alone.

For the record, if you won’t be camping in bear country, it’s better not to bring a sidearm. It’s not the norm among campers and hikers. But if you will be, using a sidearm will require gun discipline. Getting shot at any part of your body by accident isn’t exactly a pleasant experience. Take note of these tips on safely using your handgun when needed.

Concealed Carry

Sometimes, a good gun is one that you never have to use, let alone draw out in broad daylight. The only safe place for a handgun is inside a holster like the best iwb kydex holster. It serves two chief purposes: preventing an accidental discharge and avoiding scaring everyone around you.

A handgun firing out of nowhere can be dangerous. You or someone can get shot, and the liability will all be on the owner, even if it’s unintentional. A properly-made holster contains safety features that prevent an accidental discharge, such as trigger guards. It also needs to allow the gun a proper fit, as the trigger getting caught in the edges is a recipe for disaster.

Also, concealed carry is an immutable law in every county and state. The sight of a handgun in the open is enough to put people on edge, even when you don’t intend to use it. Several states such as California, Florida, and Illinois prohibit open carry for any firearm, while others forbid open carry for specific ones. 

Keeping It Clean

If you’ve used your handgun for quite some time, you can expect a buildup of carbon and metallic particles inside the mechanism. These deposits can reduce the gun’s accuracy. Worse, they can even jam the entire thing and render it useless. In some cases, dirty guns tend to cause accidental discharges. 

Generally, it’s a good idea to learn how to field-strip a gun. Field stripping allows you to clean the entire firearm down to its nuts and bolts, making sure it works the next time you use it. Cloth rags are usually enough to remove the buildup from the parts.

An alternative to field stripping (albeit temporarily) is cleaning the barrel. You can use a boresnake or bore brush to remove the buildup inside the barrel. These tools have softer metals as brushes to prevent scraping the barrel surface and add to the problem.

Treating It as Live

Treat your gun as though it’s ready to fire at any time, whether or not the safety’s engaged. There’s no room for complacency in owning a deadly weapon, as complacency is how you get injuries and accidental deaths. And as mentioned before, it’ll all be on you.

The National Shooting Sports Foundation offers several tips on how to do this.

  • Unload the gun when not in use, including that one round in the chamber
  • Keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, away from people or pets
  • When about to shoot, make sure that nobody is behind the target
  • Never attempt to fire a dud; slowly open the action and dispose of the dud
  • Keep your finger away from the trigger unless you’ve decided to shoot

It’s Not a Game

Most importantly, remember that firing a gun in real life isn’t the same as doing the same in a first-person shooter. The people around you aren’t randomly-generated NPCs but ones with friends and families. You won’t magically heal back when you shoot yourself in any part of the body; the pain is real and can end you. And you’re not fighting in a war.

As a gun owner, you should be more responsible about its use, whether in a crowded area or away from civilization. Only use your gun when you and your companions are at risk of death.

Conclusion

Most of the time, a camping trip won’t warrant carrying a sidearm. But when going to a place with a record of wild animal attacks, it’s helpful not to get caught lacking. In responsible hands, a gun can deter danger when it rears its head. When it does, you’ll be happy in the fact that you get to go camping another day.

POISONOUS PLANTS IN THE US TO AVOID

While spending time in the great outdoors is considered good for our health there are also risks to be aware of and one of these risks is poisonous plants. If you’re packing up your AR-15 and heading out hunting, it is best to go prepared and know what to avoid.

There is no particular way to recognise a poisonous plant, it is, therefore, advisable to research toxic plants that are native to the area in which you plan to hike, and then learn to recognize these plants in the wild.

The general advice to help protect yourself is to know your plants, know which are harmful in order to avoid them. Never eat a plant or berry unless you can positively identify it as being unharmful. 

Dress properly by wearing long pants and shirts when possible, to minimize contact with your skin.  If you encounter an unknown plant which you think may be harmful, ensure you wash your hands and the clothing that you are wearing.

Don’t be tempted to burn unknown plants as the smoke could contain poisonous compounds and inhaling the fumes could be very hazardous to your health.

Some plants which affect your skin plants are known to cause rashes, itching and swelling when coming into contact with them are:

  • Poison Ivy – is widespread and can be found almost everywhere in the US except Hawaii, Alaska and parts of the southwestern deserts.
  • Poison Sumac – usually grows as a tree in swampy areas and can be anything from five to twenty ft in height. This can be found in the eastern and southern United States.
  • Wild Parsnip is found throughout North America and is a member of the parsley family. This can grow up to 5ft tall and can be found in many different habitats in fields, or by the roadside. The sap from this plant makes a person’s skin more sensitive to sunlight and they often don’t realize they have been in contact with the plant until breaking out in a blistering rash after spending a short time in the sun.
  • Giant Hogweed – as its name suggests can grow up to 14ft in height and 5ft in width and contact with the sap from this plant can cause blisters, burns and even scarring. The plant can be found in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Oregan, Washington, Michigan, Virginia, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.

Some poisonous plants will affect and irritate your digestive tract, cause vomiting, nausea, swelling of the gastrointestinal tract amongst other similar symptoms.

The Manchineel is regarded as the most dangerous tree in the world because of the strong toxin found in almost every part of the tree. The acidic sap can cause blisters on the skin and blindness if it gets in your eyes.

A bite of the small greenish-yellow fruit can be fatal, and the smoke from the burning branches and leaves can damage the eyes and lungs. This tropical tree is native to Florida and is called the beech apple as it resembles an apple, it is found along the

coast and in saltwater swamps.

The Castor Bean – has beans which contain ricin which is one of the most toxic naturally occurring substances known to man.  The oil is used medicinally but only because the ricin toxin is removed during processing.

If eaten raw even a single ounce of the castor bean seed can be fatal.  Native to Africa the plant was introduced to North America and can be found in eastern and southern parts of the US growing in disturbed areas along river beds or at the edge of a field.

Jack-in-the-pulpit – has a flower that is only 3-4 inches tall, with a tubular base.  It is found in moist woodland areas in North America and contains a calcium oxalate toxin that is found primarily in the roots.  It is safe to touch the plant, but don’t eat any part of it. 

There are a group of poisonous plants which are considered more severe as they can attack your nervous system causing hallucinations, seizure and even paralysis.  

Angel’s trumpet is one such plant and it is commonly used as an ornamental plant throughout the US and it is therefore unlikely that you would find it in the wild. Though beautiful to look at if ingested would prove fatal.

Deadly Nightshade – this plant produces a cherry-like fruit which turns a shiny black colour when ripened.  It is a rare plant but can be found in southern and eastern US.

Larkspur – belongs to the buttercup family but grows in tall spikes up to 5ft and has a raceme of flowers which start at the base of the stem and extend to the top.  After blooming the flowers turn into seed pods. The plant is found mostly in western and southern United States in moist soil and in both low and high elevation.

Plants which affect the heart are must-avoid plants due to the seriousness of their effects, such as cardiac arrest or other heart conditions that could affect you or threaten your life.

The White Baneberry (Doll’s Eye) is one such plant and once you learn what it is you will never forget.  The plant has a red stalk and its striking white berries are easy to identify in the wild.  The berries are considered creepy looking and eating them can cause cardiac arrest and death. This plant is located in eastern North America.

Monkshood – is a poisonous plant but as it has such an unpleasant taste accidental poisoning is rare.  The distinctive purple-blue or white flowers are arranged in spike- like clusters.  This plant can be found in gardens as well as in the wild in the mountainous regions of the United States.

Oleander – this is a small hardy shrub with long slender leathery leaves dark green in colour.  When it blooms oleander has a very showy funnel-shaped flower which is why it is often planted on roadsides.

The flowers grow single or pairs and are bright in colour, white, yellow, pink or red.  All parts of the plant are highly toxic and should not be ingested and can be found in the southern states and the west coast.

It is important to remember that if you come into contact with a poisonous plant you should immediately wash the skin. Rinse the area for at least 5 minutes if possible.  Use rubbing alcohol or detergent if you have them.

After cleansing the area watch for signs of poisoning such as a red rash or patches of blisters, itching and swelling. If these symptoms appear, use a wet compress, calamine lotion or hydrocortisone cream on unbroken skin.

If you are still experiencing problems seek immediate help or head to the nearest emergency medical centre.

Hikers should always keep a list of emergency contacts on their phones or in their backpacks.

Further Reading

How Airsoft Is A Great Gateway Into Hunting

Since its introduction in the 1970s, Airsoft has become a popular sport across the world. Similar to paintball, Airsoft is a recreational sports activity that equips players with airsoft guns to shoot at each other in various activities that may involve historical enactments of battles, short-term skirmishes and military simulation. 

The game features and celebrates concepts like strategy, teamwork, surprise tactics and instant gratification. This is perhaps one of the reasons lovers of hunting can relate well to the game. This article provides information on what are Airsoft guns and how playing Airsoft can provide a gateway for hunting enthusiasts. 

What Are Airsoft Guns?

Airsoft guns are a high-powered replica of real gun replicas used in airsoft games. They’re a unique kind of pellet or low-powered pump air guns that are designed for rapid firing of non-flammable, airsoft-grade pellets, which are often colloquially known as” BBs”. Airsoft guns have an open-bolt design, making them extremely fast-firing guns. They usually use spring-loaded bolts to operate, and their barrels are either plastic or metal. This type of guns was first manufactured and released to the public in Japan, but have now become wildly popular around the world. 

The game is played by assembling teams and attempting to eliminate other players using a variety of guns and tactics. In a game of Airsoft, one player is an airsoft gun operator and has a set number of rounds of ammunition in his or her gun. The airsoft gun is controlled through the trigger or cocking mechanism and can be discharged rapidly to send BB’s into opponents. When a round hits its target, the operator will “kill” the opponents by either shooting them or by hitting them with the gun.

The best airsoft guns come in various colors, sizes, and specifications. Some types of airsoft guns can be semi-automatic, while others are fully-automatic. Although the guns are small and light, they also can inflict serious injury upon opponents, if they’re accidentally discharged. Airsoft guns are fun to own and play, but do require proper safety and supervision to avoid injury.

How Airsoft Can Provide A Gateway Into Hunting

Airsoft is a unique type of game that teaches people teamwork and how to use different tactics and strategies to get to your opponents in no time. Here are some ways Airsoft can provide a gateway to hunting, especially for newbies:

  1. Airsoft provides a safe gateway where people can safely practice how to hunt and apply these tactics in real-life hunting. Most people feel safe when using airsoft guns, as these guns can simulate the real firearms, without causing real danger to lives and properties. Moreover, using the gun also feel safe because the bullets that are being shot are not the real ones. You can safely use them for training purposes.
  2. Unlike many hunting weapons, airsoft guns can easily be purchased online. There are many sites on the Internet where you can find the guns, and all you have to do is to find the perfect one for your needs. Besides, they’re also cheaper to buy than real firearms. They make the best tools for training until you get the hang of real-time hunting.
  3. Some lovers of hunting chose airsoft guns because they’re affordable. This way, they don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on buying real weapons, and they can still enjoy the thrill of hunting. 
  4. You can use Airsoft for practicing hunting in two different ways: 
  • The first option is to use them for hunting in a hunting range. There are many hunting ranges that you can go to where the guns are unloaded so that you can practice with them without worrying about injuring yourself. 
  • The second option would be to bring one of the rifles to a local park or a public hunting range. Here, you’ll also find that there are a lot of hunters who use these rifles to practice hunting, so you’ll find it easier to blend in. 

Safety Measures

If you’re looking to try your hand at airsoft guns for practice hunting, then there are some things that you need to do. 

  • Get Protective Gear: you need to make sure that you’re in good shape and ready to go. To do this, you need to get yourself a decent pair of pants, a nice shirt, and a comfortable jacket that will keep you warm. Also, ensure that your knees and elbows are taken care of by purchasing knee pads and elbow pads. After all, your airsoft guns aren’t going to do anything if you’re not prepared to take the shot.
  • Choose A Gun Type: The next thing that you need to do is to decide on the type of airsoft gun that you’ll be using. The first option that comes to mind would be the pistol, but it’s important to note that it won’t be so easy to use one of these. Therefore, you can opt for the more traditional rifle sniper airsoft guns. These guns are very popular for hunters because they have more range coverage.  

Conclusion

Airsoft is a unique game that can be channeled towards other rewarding activities like hunting. For lovers of hunting who want to enjoy the thrill of hunting without any real danger, Airsoft provides a way to train, have fun, learn some cool tactics, and practice target shooting. What’s more, it’s also less expensive. With airsoft guns, hunters can get to play their favorite sports and satisfy their need to hunt.