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SHOT Show 2012 Media Day with Winchester Ammunition…and a ‘few’ others!

Posted on 18 January 2012 by Cork Graham

First covering Shotshow in 1997, perhaps it was about time to attend Media Day: I prefer to trial and evaluate new products in the field, so shooting at the public relations range event is more often just a redundancy…except when patterning shot and performing ballistics tests. It was also an opportunity connect up with a classmate of mine from my childhood days attending the Phoenix Study Group in Saigon.

Bill Skinner, a freelance cameraman for CNN, CBS and a number of other media organizations, had finished his latest contract shooting for the US State Department in Afghanistan. So, getting away to enjoy one of his passions, tactical-style firearms, was a nice respite. There were the Armalites, Colts, Springfield Amory, Browning offerings—I ran through a nice .308 offering from Armalite that I’ll look forward to trying in the field for wild boar in Texas. After a few well-placed shots into the metal targets at Springfield Armory’s range with what is a sweet-shooting version of the 1911, the Range Officer, we walked up the hill to Winchester’s display of the new Razorback XT, in .223 Remington and .308 Winchester.

Because of how the proliferation of AR-15 style rifles have inundated the market, and been effectively used in the battle against the overpopulation of ole Mr. Razorback in states like Texas, what better decision than to release a powder and projectile match as these rounds with a proper bullet to rip through hog hide and gristle and reach the vitals in a large pig?

The Armalite offering for wild boar?

The Razorback XT .223 round was released in a 64-grain bullet, while the .308 version is delivered in a 150-grain. Some might think that a .223 round is a little too light for feral pig hunting, but up to 200 yards, this round does it job. For someone who hunts most of his feral hogs in California, and often in the lead-free zone of Central California, the non-lead attributes of the Razorback XT is a God send! It is specially designed to not start deforming until after having pierced the hog’s armor. Now, all we have to do is get around the legal restrictions of the AR-10 and AR-15 design in California, which is laughable.

…Right after putting a number of Razorbacks down range, Skinner and I nwent over to the shotgun range to check out the latest release of Winchester’s wildly successful Blind Side.

An impressive, light load that patterns well!

This year they’re releasing a #5-shot load in 2-3/4-inch shell, along with a #2-shot load. From the way it patterns it looks like a great round to get those ducks in the 25 to 40-yard range…my favorite for shooting over decoys. Check out the latest episode of Cork’s Outdoors TV below:

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Next Great Canoe, Camp, and Snake Gun

Posted on 15 July 2011 by Cork Graham

 

It’s two in the morning. It’s dark. Your dog, sleeping peacefully at the foot of your bed when you turned out your side lamp, rustles you awake with a shake of its head and a flapping of its ears. He’s not barking, but he’s sniffing at the closed door of your bedroom.

You grab your pistol from the side table, make sure it’s loaded, and creep to the door. You open the door and follow right behind your dog, who peels off in the dark.

You hear scuffling and barking. There’s yelling at the dog. You respond with, “I’ve got a gun and I’ve called  the police. You better get out of here!”

…But, the intruder doesn’t leave. Matter of fact you can hear your dog’s yelp as the intruder tries to grab your dog.

Any sane burglar would have been running for an escape the moment he realized his cover had been blown. This intruder is up to more than theft. This guy is nuts. This could likely turn into a worse nightmare than it already has been.

What to do?

Turning on the living room lights is a good start: bad guys seek the dark for their business.  But, be sure that when everything’s lit up you’re ready, because it’ll force whoever is hiding to show themselves, and if they’re either seeking suicide or murder, or both, they’ll rush you.

For this very reason, a pump shotgun is the preferred choice for home and cabin defense. It makes an easily recognized sound when the action is worked, that would send any normal thinking person out the window. For those not so sane, a full load of buckshot to the chest would be the appropriate response.

The thing is that whichever piece of buckshot doesn’t plunge into the perp’s body, will likely drive right on into the nearest wall. If the consistency of that wall isn’t able to stop that buckshot, it’ll likely go through those walls, and might even have enough energy to make it next door.  We’re not even going to talk about the potential of something like a full slug going through you walls, and possibly hitting an innocent bystander.

Need a wrench? DMPS Panther Arms
 

With the advent of the Taurus Judge, a remedy seemed available. Though multi-cartridge firearms have been around for years, this was the first viable multi-cartridge offering in a while. It shoots .45 Long Colt and .410 cartridges. We got our hands on Smith and Wesson own multi-cartridge offering and found it to be that much better: with moon clips that permit the user to also load .45 ACP.

As everyone who’s been in an ambush knows, those who make the most noise and get the most lead down range has the likelihood of gaining the upper-hand, even if you’re starting on the receiving end  of that ambush. In a home invasion, those who draw first blood will likely take the night. This can be the stun of the blast of the shot. It can also be a glancing hit. At close range, under five to ten feet, the first shot, though perhaps not perfectly accurate, can easily be the determiner. If there’s more than just one projectile, so much the better.

Weighing in a 30 ounces, the Governor can be trying for some to use effectively, especially for those who don’t practice enough to have proper form. With a 2-3/4-inch barrel, on tpo of the extended cylinder, it shoots like a five-inch revolver.

Made of scandium metal alloy, the pistol holds six rounds.  All rounds, the .45 ACP with moon clip, can be placed anywhere, but I like to load the shotshells as the first two or three as I’m seeing the pistol being used for surprise shots under five to ten feet away.

The trigger was a little over four-pounds and crisp. Cycling the cylinders on double-action is easy, as evidenced by the segment we shot for GCT TV. And even made it easy to keep the Crimson Trace sights on the target.

Most often the complaint has been that the pistol is “torque happy”. You need to practice with this weapon, like any weapon, to use it properly. Weak and limp wrists need not apply. This is also not a target shooting firearms. This is a killing weapon. You’re in a combat station, directing the energy of the weapon into the target. You’re not just holding up the firearm and trying to get a tight group on the paper during a weekend jaunt to the range. Good combat form during practice and you’ll have good form during a firefight.

PDX1 .410/.45 Defender Combo Pack

A good firearm is worth nothing if the ammo that’s driven out of its barrel isn’t up to snuff. When the Taurus Judge came onto the scene, many scrambled for a variety for birdshot options: 9, 8, 7, 4, 2 and BB were at the top of the list. A .410 just doesn’t have the capacity. So, many thought of the shotshell capability as viable only for snakes. Yes, birdshot isn’t just for snakes and vermin, at close range it is perfect for inside a house or apartment so that you don’t have projectiles flying through walls and knocking off some neighbor watching TV or eating a meal next door.

Winchester’s PDX1 combo pack offering is the perfect paring to the Governor. With it, you’re not only able to run with .45LC, but a .410 load that is more than efficient to take an intruder  with three copper disks and 12 copper-plated BBs in the dark than with a single project coming  out of the barrel at once. The smiley faces the three disks makes cutting paper, as recorded in the latest episode of GCT TV, is very impressive. Makes it easy to see what they’ll do punching into flesh.

Check out the New Versa Harness at BLACKHAWK! in January 2013!
 

I’d easily expect good enough energy out to ten feet with the disk, but not with the BBs. They really start spreading out at five feet.  And while the BBs and disks would be flying at 1100 feet out of a long gun, they’re going at 750 out of a Governor. Still, they have been recorded as passing ten-inches into ballistic gel at 15 feet.

The other half of the twenty-round box is 225 grain hollow point .45 Long Colt. These are flying at 850fps and can take a big chunk out of your adversary. For home and camp defense, I’d easily give this combination an enthusiastic, HOOYAH!

WATCH the corresponding episode at our sister station–GCT TV:

Cork Graham is the publisher of GCT Magazine and Cork’s Outdoors, and author of the international best-selling Vietnam prison/treasure hunt memoir The Bamboo Chest. For his latest books, writings, and appearances, follow him at www.corkgraham.com, Facebook and Twitter. He is a co-instructor with ETS, for more information visit: www.emergencytacticalskills.com

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Waterfowl Season Starts Now

Posted on 16 June 2010 by Cork Graham

It’s amazing how the screech of a poorly blown duck call can sound like a teacher drawing her nails across a blackboard. Such is the sound of waterfowl hunters who start much too late in their preparation for the season.

Being prepared isn’t just about calling, either: there’s making sure your shotgun’s shooting as well as last year; checking your duck jacket to see if you need to patch some holes, or just get a new one. Is your ammo shooting the way you think it is?

Every year it behooves the hunter to make sure everything is working as they want, and to find out long before it’s time to head out into the field. All too often the first chance at putting wild duck on the table turns dismal—leaky waders, missed shots—or, more dangerously so, duckboats sinking!

A great waterfowl season begins months before that opener in October.

Take out your waterfowl hunting clothing now. If it’s your duckhunting coat, hopefully you didn’t pack it away in a footlocker or drawer for the off-season. This compresses the insulating materials and such repeated season storage depletes their ability to keep you warm the next season. Check it for those holes, and perhaps take it to the tailor to have those shell loops replaced if they’re all stretched out.

Get Callin’

Spring is also the best time to start your calling practice. As master duck caller—and the one who taught me how to call ducks as a thirteen-year-old newbie duck hunter—Billy Gianquinto recommends, every duck hunter should purchase their calls in spring, get a good instruction tape or CD and practice everyday. It’s during this time, that I carry my duck and goose calls in my truck so that I can practice during a day’s commute.

What’s nice about practicing your calling in the vehicle is that you need to have one hand free for driving, which forces you to learn how to use your call with one hand: much more appropriate for a duck hunter holding a shotgun in a blind with the non-call hand. This especially comes in handy when learning how to use a goose flute with one hand instead of the normal two.

Get a good collection of duck hunting videos, not just the slicing DVDs that just show the kill shots. Get the DVDs that take you from calling to learning how to set a decoy set, to best of all, how to call based on what the ducks are doing.  Gianquinto and Cajun Duck Commander Robertson Clan have some great calling instruction videos.

Hittin’ What You’re Shootin’ At

Cork Graham successfully testing the original Black Cloud through a Remington 11-87 and SP-10 on Sacramento Valley snows and specks

Now’s a great time to look at what your shotgun really does and with the ammo you choose to shoot out of it. So many duck hunters just purchase a shotgun and a box of shells and head straight out into the duck blind, not even knowing how their shotgun is shooting.

What sighting in at the range is to a deer hunter with a newly purchased rifle and scope, patterning a shotgun is to a duck and goose hunter.

The average hunter might be surprised at how many people who purchase a new shotgun think that it need only be pointed in the general direction, and you hit what you’re shooting for. Must have been all those cartoons and mythical descriptions of how the trench guns worked in battle, especially to infantrymen whose rifle skills were wanting—but there are many that think a shotgun has magical properties.

When I received my first pump shotgun I was surprised at how much I was missing. This was a shotgun built by a major manufacturer—what could be wrong? A trip to the range and aiming at a dot on a large piece of white butcher paper quickly offered an answer.

The shotgun was patterning up to the right. I could have taken it to a gunsmith and had the pump modified, but instead I just remembered to adjust my shot picture while shooting. Had I not taken the shotgun to the range to find out what was really happening, I’d probably have gone on with a hit and miss for years.

The decision to pattern a shotgun should be taken not when just getting a new shotgun, but also to see how a new shot load does out a specific firearm. It’s also wise to check into a new choke when purchasing a shotgun.

For years I only shot the different chokes that came packaged with my shotguns and never inquired into the multitude of chokes, until last year and a chat with George Trulock, owner of Trulock Chokes and a man with a vast firearms knowledge that started in law enforcement, and distilled through many years researching the effects of chokes on shot. I learned how 3-inch chokes are a prime length for patterning a shot load especially steel shot.

Unlike a rifle that is accurate because of the effect on a bullet by the rifling, a shotgun influences its shot effectiveness by forcing a load of shot into a column that will spread out in as uniform a pattern as possible. By having a choke that that forces the load in three inches instead of two, the pattern delivered is much more uniform: think shot hitting a wall, because it’s so steep and angle, as compared to sliding along the wall because the angle is lessened by the longer length of the 3-inch choke.

The importance of chokes appropriate to the load was made clear a couple years ago when I tried Federal Premium’s Black Cloud ammunition for the first time. What I consider the deadliest duck medicine out there, I noticed that not only did the unique collared barrel shot perform amazingly, with solidly killed ducks, but also that the Trulock Black Cloud choke I got for hunting with the new cartridge performed admirably. One of the main reasons it works so well is that it’s designed to let out the shot and wad in a staggered manner that permits the shot to pattern effectively without creating so many flyers that destroy a pattern.

New for this year, Federal Premium has the new Black Cloud Snow Goose load. While the first release of Black Cloud was flying at 1450 fps, the new Snow Goose is screaming at 1635 fps!

That means it really cuts the geese, but that also means its patterning is effected differently than the slower shot. According to Trulock, the higher the speed, the wilder the flyers as they bounce off the inside wall of the choke instead of slide along its sides.

As Trulock said, it’s a tug-of-war between killing speed and uniform patterns. Too many flyers and the loss of not only the uniformity of the pattern, but also more holes in that pattern that a duck or goose can escape through.

Now, all these are just guidelines. Like everyone’s personal preferences for hunting equipment, a shotgun has its own personality and by learning it’s personality, not just shooting it, but modifying it, do you make sure every shot counts…and the earlier you start preparing for the fall season, the more prepared you’ll be to make your fall waterfowl season that much more enjoyable and successful.

For your daily commute on your MP3 player – Download and Enjoy the latest news at Federal Premium on Cork’s Outdoors Radio:

TOPICS: Federal Premium PR Manager Tim Brandt talks about the history of Federal Ammunition’s merge with ATK, long line of excellent ammunition for big-game and waterfowl hunting, along with the new and upcoming offerings.

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