Category Archives: Product review

Products and equipment

Western Rivers Mantis Pro-400 Electronic Call

Electronic calls have become very popular over the last decade or so, hunters of all types have found value in the ease and convenience of simply pressing a button. Of course there are die-hard’s that must use mouth calls or something more natural, and there is certainly some additional skill and finesse with that approach. But for those of us who live fast and hunt hard, there is something to be said for the modern convenience of an e-call.

I have a somewhat perplexing past when it comes to hunting coyotes, I’ve tried my hand a calling them, ambushing them, and even downright chasing them. There seems to be a kryptonite like shield between me and coyotes, I usually miss ten for every one I do shoot. So I was intrigued with the opportunity to try out a new tool in my efforts to land another.

The ability to drum up any animal call you want on demand has obvious advantages when hunting. But would a device that claims to do just that for hunters actually work in the field? Or is it just a fancy gimmick? I decided to give it a try with the compact, remote-controlled Mantis Pro 400, which I recently tested in the field on some actual hunts.

The Western Rivers MP-400
The Mantis Pro is a compact remote controlled call. The remote controller fits easily into the palm of your hand, when it is not snapped into the main housing of the call. The Mantis Pro boasts quite few features that I hadn’t expected to see, but the more I found out about it the more I liked it. It can be powered by AA batteries, or plugged into an alternate 12v power source, And it can also be plugged into other call units or external speakers to give multiple sound emittance. In addition to the sounds that come pre-installed on the MP-400, you can add your favorite sounds using an SD memory card. The sounds on the card can be arranged and edited via a micro USB port, and if that wasn’t enough, you can also bluetooth connect the MP-400 to your phone and play whatever sounds you might have stored there. The MP-400 also has a port for a decoy (sold separately). Continue reading here…

Browning X-Bolt 6 Creedmoor

Even though I’m a bit of a rifle junkie, the Browning X-Bolt is a bit of a stranger to me. I’ve shot a few of them over the years, and even had good luck loading ammo for them for friends. That said, I’ve never owned one myself. Browning is a common name down our way, the man himself was born just a few miles north of where I sit as I write this.
The X-Bolt rifle has plenty of clout in the rifle world, so I knew not to underestimate it as I prepared myself for this project. I was giddy with excitement to get my hands on this one.

The Browning X-bolt Target

The Target model of the Browning X-bolt comes in a McMillan A3-5 stock with an adjustable comb, as well a a match grade heavy profile fluted barrel. The muzzle is threaded 5/8-24 to attach any muzzle devices. In addition to those add-ons, the X-bolt receiver has an extended bolt handle, and a 20 MOA pic rail mounted on top. There are a few other little extras as well, such as QD sling swivel studs, and a bipod pic rail mount. I pulled the rifle from the black Browning box, and was instantly in love. The fit and finish of this rifle were superb, and as soon as I put the Pachmayr Decelerator recoil pad to my shoulder I knew it was going to be a good match. I adjusted the cheek piece to fit my hold, and ran the bolt and trigger a few times. I love the 60-degree bolt throw, it is shorter and faster than the alternative. And the smooth bolt stroke on the X-bolt feels much like a nice custom. The Trigger in this rifle is as good as any factory trigger I’ve felt, The Feather Trigger as Browning calls it, is adjustable from three to five pounds, and has a tang mounted safety. The detachable box magazine is Browning’s own design, it is an all polymer rotary magazine that holds four rounds. It fits flush with the bottom of the McMillan stock. Continue Reading Here…

Marlin 1894 357 Magnum

What seems like forever ago, my little brother snagged a Model 94 Winchester from the local gun shop. It was chambered in .44 Magnum, and lets just say we all fell in love with that short and sassy little lever-gun. Ever since then I have been dying to get something similar for myself, but life has a way of dictating your gun purchases doesn’t it?
So when the opportunity to get a Marlin 1894 in .357 Magnum came my way, I was not going to let my dream go unlived. But would it be everything I had hoped for?

The Marlin 1894
Since the late nineteenth century, Marlin has been manufacturing leverguns and other firearms for the American public. It has seen several ownership transfers over the past decade or two, and the latest one will hopefully be a good and final one. The 1894 is perhaps one of Marlin’s most popular models over the years, but there are many others that have also graced the shooting public. The 1894 is like many of Marlin’s firearms, a lever action repeater. Probably the most distinguishing feature of the model is it’s side ejecting receiver. This has made Marlin leverguns very popular with users of riflescopes, as it allows a more generous mounting area. The rifle has an eight round tube magazine that loads from the side of the receiver through a loading chute. Continue Reading Here…

Yankee Hill Machine R9 :A great first or fifth suppressor

One of the biggest questions when buying a suppressor, is selecting one out of the hundreds of options. I’ve been through a bunch at this point in my life, so let me shed some light on the subject for you. What caliber? what configuration? And so many other questions you’ll be asking yourself. With so many options how can you pick one that is best for your purposes? The right answer is that there are always too many good choices to pick only one, but today we are going to look at the subject as a first time suppressor buyer, and a suppressor that might just cover all your bases.

The YHM R9 mounted direct on a Browning X-bolt 6 Creedmoor

Why the YHM R9?
What makes the YHM R9 a perfect can for an NFA Greenhorn? I’ll get right into it. Todays gun owners come from every walk of life, our modern world has given them overwhelming opportunities for firearms and accessories. That said, there’s a good chance that most firearm enthusiasts looking into a suppressor probably have an Modern Sporting Rifle (MSR) of one kind or another. That rifle is probably chambered in the extremely popular 5.56, or one of the other calibers that are growing in popularity like 300blk, 6.5G, 6 ARC, etc.
The R9 from YHM is ideal for using with any of these calibers, it can suppress large frame cartridges too, like the 6.5 Creedmoor and 308 Winchester. It is rated to suppress pretty much anything under 308 Winchester really, even with limited amounts of full auto. But Wait! There’s more! The R9 is also a perfect fit for a 9mm pistol or carbine, it’s stainless construction is more than enough to retain pressures generated by the cartridge, and other 9mm rifle cartridges like the 350 Legend.

The way I see it, it is pretty damn likely that your apprentice level prospective suppressor purchaser would benefit greatly with an R9. One could swap it back and forth from various rifles, and install a booster and run it on their Glock as well.

The R9 is ideal for the Desert Tech MDRX and its assorted calibers

Adaptation
YHM is one of many manufacturers that has embraced the uniformity of threads. The threaded rear end of the R9 can be fitted with a direct thread cap (1/2-28 or 5/8-24), or it can fit a Nielsen booster assembly and run with one of various piston manufacturers. It doesn’t end there, it can also use YHM’s Phantom QD system, which allows rapid swapping of the suppressor from various YHM muzzle devices. Further still, the can uses the same threads as other major manufacturers like Dead Air and SilencerCo, so you could also install those devices. I have all three options for my R9, I have both thread caps that I use when shooting the R9 on my precision guns, and I also have the QD mount so I can swap it back and forth on my carbines as well. I run a Rugged suppressors piston inside my Nielson Booster assembly, which makes my Canik TP9 quiet and smooth as ever I could ask.
The R9 is only threaded on the breach end, the rest of it’s construction is solid baffles welded together making it simple and no non-sense. The provided tools allow the user to tighten down the various assorted mounting options, and perhaps more importantly disassemble them after being used.

Shooting with the YHM R9
The very first shots I fired through the R9 were with my pistol. It was the first mounting adaptor in my possession so I went straight to the range to try it out.
The R9 tamed all the sounds produced by my pistol, adding of course its due weight and a bit of added backpressure. But the heavier muzzle sure made the pistol smooth and even more controllable. Shooting the pistol in closed quarters was very tolerable, the sound reduction was everything I’d hoped for, and the function was flawless.

The R9 seen mounted direct on my SRS M2 6mm GT

Shortly thereafter I received the 5/8-24 direct thread adaptor, and the R9 went straight to my SRS M2 chambered in 6mm GT. It stayed there for quite some time, hundreds of rounds sent through the R9 from fifty to seventeen-hundred yards. The accuracy of the rifle was if anything enhanced by the presence of the R9, this is typical in my experience. Cartridges like the 6mm GT were easily suppressed by the R9, making precision even more pleasant.

The QD mount for the R9 is perfect for running the suppressor back and forth between rifles. I ran the Phantom flash hider on my 308 carbine threaded 5/8-24. and on my 5.56 chambered carbine I use the Phantom Turbo 556 muzzle brake. This made it easy to swap the R9 back and forth between the two rifles, both of which sounded great when suppressed with the R9. With the gas turned down a notch on both rifles, they functioned perfectly without gassing me out at the breach.

Carbines like this 350 Legend are a perfect host

First or Fifth?
Ya, I said first or fifth. The reason I put it that way is because even though I have a dozen or so cans at any given time, the R9 is still an excellent addition to my collection. It is very useful on better than half of my gun collection, and with an MSRP of only $494.00 it is pretty economical compared to many other cans.
I’m at a point in life where I seldom go places without a rifle, and much of the time I have two or three rifles. Having an additional suppressor that will fit most of my rifles makes it an easy choice for me.

Conclusion
If my positivity is hasn’t been obvious enough about my feelings about this little suppressor, let me make it clear; I think this is the perfect suppressor for a first time NFA victim. It has everything most people need, multi-caliber, adaptable, tough as nails, and all at a very reasonable price. If I had to say something about the R9 that I dislike, you’d really have to force it out of me. The only issue I’ve ever had was keeping the thread caps tight, this was almost certainly due to me not tightening them on using the supplied tools as I’m a lazy ass. But I wouldn’t put that at the feet of the boys over at YHM.

So there you have it, the R9 is nearly a flawless purchase in my opinion. Short from needing magnum capabilities or a bunch of machine guns you need to suppress, this is an excellent suppressor for your typical firearms consumer. Best get yourself one.

-CBM

Winchester Model 70 Target

As time passes, both our guns and our tastes evolve. Perhaps our shooting styles change a bit and a gun we were once giddy over has fallen to the back rack of the safe, perhaps never to come back out except to be sold. Or maybe that favorite rifle got tuned up with a new barrel and scope, maybe a dashing Cerakote paint job and a better trigger. Either way, the firearms of days past seem to lose their luster as new ones are brought to market. But a rare few seem to hold on to a charming and nostalgic following, today we are talking about one of those.

The Model 70
The Winchester Model 70 has been perhaps America’s most prolific bolt action rifle. Generations of hunters and other marksmen have put the various configurations of the Model 70 through countless trials.
The ninety-degree bolt action of the Model 70 has been used in too many configurations to mention here. Both long and short actions are made, featuring a bolt-shroud three position safety. And a simple and robust trigger that is well known for immaculate breaks.

The Target Model
The Model 70 Target was available in an assortment of calibers but they had the same features. A high quality heavy profile barrel, and a wide and flat-bottomed walnut stock. The rifle also came drilled and tapped for a variety of sighting options, you could either mount a scope like the Unertl scopes that were often seen on these rifles in the past, or aperture sights that were mounted to the receiver and muzzle. I believe the military version of the rifle as used by legendary shooters like Hathcock, was very similar in construction, using a more streamlined and less obtrusive stock. Continue Reading Here…


Two Legs to Stand On

Rifle-shooting has changed a bit over the years, many still use the same practices that generations have been using for years. One of the many things that has been born of the current precision rifle shooting craze has been a plethora of new support options and devices. Bipods are just one of the many front support options, today we hope to help you wade through the selection of all the legs and feet that make up the bipod market.

Why a Bipod?

Bipods are easily attached to the front of your rifle, and extend to give a solid front shooting support. Many have used backpacks, shooting sticks, and other things, but it is hard to beat the sturdy rigidity of a good bipod. Continue Reading Here…

Ruger M77 Hawkeye 308

My first real deer rifle was a Ruger M77, being a bit green and not overly wealthy at the time, I searched out what seemed to be a quality rifle for a good price. The fact that it was priced for clearance that day only helped solidify my decision. More than twenty years later, I still have and love that rifle. Having seen many M77’s come and go over the years I have become quite familiar with their operation and reliability. But today’s subject is a new one to me.

The Ruger M77 .308

The M77 has been around for quite sometime, taking what many consider to be the best features of a Mauser clone. There are quite a few models available now in long action and short, as well the Hawkeye variants such as the one we are discussing today. Continue Reading Here…

The 6mm GT

New cartridges are not so novel these days, it seems as though a new one comes out every few months. But how can devoted marksmen discern between a keeper, and something that is all hype? First thing, lets be honest with ourselves, most everything is hyped up to some degree or another. As consumers we’ve learned to wade through the hype, and find where metal meets the meat. Much of new cartridge marketing these days is just rebranding an older idea with a new twist, see what I did there Westerner?
In this article I’d like to discuss a relatively new cartridge, and separate the sales pitch from the hard facts.

Enter the Tiger

It would be a disservice to discuss the GT without mentioning one of if not the most entrenched parodies of the shooting world today. When the GT was initially released, many were inquisitive as to its ancestry. The GT being its own genesis led many to question what the G and the T stood for, and the internet took over from there. In typical fashion with our community, several actors on social media dug deep into the shadows of their closet for a comical answer to the question. The Gay Tiger was born of an internet meme, and its same-sex partner. The novelty only increased when embraced by the entire community, and even head-stamped brass reading 6mm Gay Tiger was produced by Alpha Munitions. There is no doubt that the satirical gag helped drive notoriety of the GT, and it spread like fire.

Continue Reading Here…