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JP Sauer 101



One way to spot a junkie is they can never say no, I myself, am a rifle-junkie. I know I am because despite my extremely picky preferences and exotic taste in rifles, its rare that I pick one up and don’t want to rationalize a reason why I need to take it home with me. But my addiction and preference notwithstanding, this one struck me as well worth my time.

JP Sauer is a manufacturer of fine firearms, with a history that goes back to pre-war Europe. Their firearms are imported to the US market through Blaser, and there is a great assortment of rifles to choose from. Today we will focus on the model 100 Classic, chambered in a classic cartridge the 30-06.

The Model 100 Classic

The Sauer 100 Classic as tested

When I first opened the box, I was unsure what to expect. The Model 100 classic is a traditional style detachable box-fed sixty-degree bolt-action rifle. The beautiful wood grain first caught my eye as I dug it from the packaging, my attention quickly turned to the elegant looking action bedded in the walnut. The satin finish and the satisfying cuts and angles of the action seemed very European to me, sort of reminiscent of a Sako TRG or something similar. It’s a classy look for sure, I wasted no time in feeling the action and trigger to see if they matched the looks of this rifle.

Bolt detail on the Sauer 100

The Sauer 100 features a three lug design, but its double-stacked making it actually a six lug bolt. The two layers of three bolt lugs make the throw of the bolt shorter, it only needs to be lifted sixty degrees vs. the ninety degrees that two lug bolts require. This makes the bolt operation faster and easier. The bolt uses a sliding extractor mounted in the bolt-face, as well as double ejectors to firmly throw the spent cartridge cases clear of the action. It also features a bolt-mounted safety that is slightly different than most. The three-position safety is engaged by using your thumb to pull the selector down, where it is locked in place by a button detent. Removing the safety is accomplished by pushing in on the button in the center of the selector, and rolling your thumb out as it pushes the selector forward.
The bolt is easily removed by pushing a small button on one side of the bolt handle while pulling the bolt to the rear. The button must be depressed to reinstall the bolt as well.

Magazine and floor-plate detail, note magazine release at front.

The Sauer features a detachable box magazine that in 30-06 holds five rounds. The magazine is made of polymer, as is the follower. The magazine fits snugly to the bottom of the rifle, with almost no room for wobbling around. The release button is just in front of the magazine, and was very easy to release. So easy in fact that I thought it might be an issue with unintentional magazine releases, but I found that even trying to accidentally hit the button would not release it. I was also impressed with how little force was required to seat the magazine, loaded or not. Just a gentle press would seat the magazine, with a soft clicking sound.

The trigger on this rifle was just outstanding, a single stage adjustable trigger with a smooth shoe. My first impression was how light and short it was, I love good triggers whether they be single or two stage. This single stage is immaculate, with no creep at all, the only thing you notice is when it breaks. I tested the pull weight, and it averaged just over a pound and a half. Some may consider it a bit light for a hunting rifle, I do not.

Mounting a scope on the rifle seemed a bit sketchy at first, as I feared I would have to use some strange mounting system. But after a little research I was happy to find that the Sauer 100 action uses the same pattern scope mounts as the extremely popular Remington 700, so it was as simple as going to my local shop and picking up a Leupold long action 700 base. I mounted a Nikon Black 4-16X50 scope that I had kicking around, in some Warne rings. It turned out to be a good fit, and near perfect height for me.

Shop JP Sauer rifles at Euro Optic

On The Range

First things first, only accurate rifles are interesting to me. If a rifle can’t repeatedly shoot sub MOA or preferably sub 1/2 MOA, then its not one I’d care to keep around. I couldn’t wait to see what kind of accuracy this rifle could deliver with it’s great trigger and some good ammo.

The safety selector did take a bit of getting used to. The positioning of it is perfect if your the type of shooter that removes the safety as you bring it up from a carrying hold. If you are already in the shooting position it can be a bit awkward to try and remove the safety, one of the reasons I don’t care for bolt or bolt shroud-mounted safeties. This is a minor detail, as I rarely use safeties much anyways, I prefer to keep an empty chamber until its go time.

The rifle performed what I believe most would consider to be average as far as accuracy, shot groups averaged under an inch. I certainly wouldn’t consider this the best the rifle is capable of, perhaps if ammo wasn’t quite as scarce I could of found something that shot better.

The ejection pattern of the Sauer is very predictable, throwing spent cases well clear of the action with its double ejectors. And regardless of the speed at which you stroke the bolt.

Perhaps the only sincere complaint I could come up with is that the stroke of the bolt is not quite as smooth as I expected it to be. Everything about this rifle is slick and effortless, so I just expected it to be the same. I also have a couple similar rifles like a Sako 85 and a Tikka T3 which both have a smoother feeling bolt stroke, perhaps it is the longer 30-06 cases and the friction they create. But regardless of what the cause is, it is not even close to a dealbreaker to me. I’ve certainly felt worse on more expensive rifles than this.


I think that JP Sauer has made a fantastic rifle here. While my style of rifle may be completely opposite to this one I found so much about it to be intriguing. Its a handsome rifle that most anyone would be pleased to show, and its function is just as clean as its looks. And it shoots as good as it looks, making nearly everything about it perfect for your next hunting trip.


Putting Together a Battle Belt

Who needs a gun-belt?

Depending on your profession, you might call it a battle belt, gun belt, or some other belt variation. Today we are going into the detail of putting a gun belt together, something I recently finished.
As I navigated through all the different options, I figured this might be something others would do, so I documented the process in the hopes of saving you time and money.

Shooting has become part of my profession. While you may or may not need a gun belt for your daily work, I hope that by the time I’m done sharing my experience, you will have a good idea of how you would do it yourself.
Unless you do any professional soldiering, law enforcement, or security, a gun belt will likely be recreational for the most part. It will likely be another part of your equipment when shooting at the range or in competitive events like two or three-gun matches.

I am by no means a competition pistol shooter, but I do enjoy practicing the skill. A proper gun belt is extremely useful for becoming proficient in shooting pistols and any kind of tactical discipline.


Battle belts are designed to help carry the weight and force of waist-bound shooting equipment. Not only do they carry the weight, but they also help distribute it with a degree of comfort.
A good belt also helps keep vital and life-saving equipment where you want it to be. Besides just your pistol, battle belts also have room for extra ammunition, knives, and other tools you may need depending on the task before you.
A good belt is customizable to fit the accessories and tools you need in the places that best fit your practice. With practice and time, you will likely change and adjust it until it perfectly fits your needs.


Find a quality holster that properly fits your pistol. There are many good options from companies like Safariland or Blackhawk.

Remember, these are not CCW holsters; they are for retaining your pistol under heavy movement and activity.
Good retention holsters are not exactly cheap, nor are they particularly compact. But they are well worth their cost and come in various styles and retention designs to keep your pistol safely at your side.


There are a great many good choices to be had for a gun belt. Safariland and Blackhawk make belts for their holsters, but there are plenty of others like Blue Force Gear or Crye Precision.

With so many options, you may want to handle a couple before choosing one. After looking around, I decided to go with a 1.75-inch belt from the guys at Lead Devil.

There are two-layered and single-layered belts. I went with a two layered belt. They work by using a velcro under the belt that goes through your belt loops on your pants. The outer belt then attaches outside your belt loops by velcro to the inner belt and buckle in the front. It is a very robust system.

The outer belt has molle loops around the circumference to install whatever accessories or gear to the belt and the inner belt keeps your pants up and serves as a foundation for the load-bearing outer belt.

When selecting a belt, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on measuring yourself. A proper fit is vital to both function and comfort. Remember the size of your belt when selecting accessories. You can’t put 1.5-inch accessories on a 1.75-inch belt. The belt should fit fairly snug to keep your pistol and other gear from flopping around as you move.

Note: wearing a gun belt properly may be all the inspiration you need to get in better shape. They fit and work better when your “middle area” is trimmed.

Continue reading here


battle belt setup belt position


Obviously, the first priority should be your holster. Find a comfortable position on your belt that fits your draw location and attach the holster, either threading the belt through it or using the molle attachments.

I found it took some time to ensure I had my holster placed properly.

My pistol is a Sig Sauer P320 X5 Legion, and I bought the Safariland 7304RDS holster for it. The holster accepts both the pistol and the Surefire X300 weapon light in front, but after using the holster for a few days, I realized I needed a lower ride height.

I added a Safariland Cantable belt loop that added a few inches of drop, and I also added to it the Safariland Quick Locking System that allows the holster to detach from its base. I’ve come to find this very convenient.

The whole pistol and holster are easily removed from the belt. This also allows you to swap multiple holsters for different firearms to and from your belt. I adjusted the thigh strap that came with my holster for a better fit and to keep the holster as secure as possible.

Believe it or not, I actually wore the belt like this eight hours a day for over a month, making little adjustments here and there until I felt I had a perfect fit. I was constantly drawing my pistol to see what would make a smoother draw and holstering.


battle belt setup belt magazine storage

A good battle belt will surely carry extra magazines for your pistol. I bought a couple of different options to try. The first was a pair of Tacos from High Speed Gear. I liked them, but I ended up swapping them out for a one-piece double mag pouch from Esstac. The HSG Tacos seemed to have more catch points and were easier to snag on things during movement. The Esstac pouches were smoother and had a nice exterior.

Position your mag pouches where they best fit your draw. This is another reason I like the Lead Devil belt. The molle allowed robust attachment of my accessories without sacrificing velcro engagement with the inner belt. Reducing the velcro engagement between the belt layers reduces the rigidity of the whole system and induces flopping.

If you incorporate a rifle mag pouch or two on your belt, you can attach it the same way via molle in whatever position you see fit. I run my rifle mags on my plate carrier, so I didn’t add any to my gun belt.


battle belt setup belt pocket knife storage

Many guys put knives on their gun belts, whether for cutting tasks or when they run outta magazines. I actually run two knives on my belt; the main one is a Cold Steel Mini Tac.

The second one is just a cheap Gerber folder hooked into the molle behind my holster for things like digging sardines out of the can. I like the idea of having both options, one blade is kept in pristine razor sharp condition while the other is a day to day cutter.

Both are kept in convenient locations on the belt for quick and easy access, they also attach to the molle of the Lead Devil outer belt.


Besides the X300 on my pistol, I also keep a good flashlight on my belt. The Cloud Defensive MCH 2.0 Micro goes in a small 5.11 carry pouch behind my right kidney. I don’t often shoot in the dark, but if I need to, I sure want to have the tools to see what I’m shooting.


battle belt setup tourniquet

A tourniquet is a must-have if you do any shooting. We’ve all seen how fast things can get ugly. Plate carriers and battle belts are often kitted out with tourniquets; the main reason is that they are typically used by folks who shoot and may get shot at.

Having a tourniquet immediately available can be the difference between life and death. Many professional soldiers getting shot at have multiple TQs on their kit, and they have them close.

I have one in my IFAK (Individual First Aid Kit) on my plate carrier, and I keep another one attached to my gun belt just in front of my holster. This way, it is very close should I need to use it on myself or some other unfortunate person.

It’s kept neat and tucked away by a 5.11 TQ pouch.


Drop pouches are also a common accessory to run on gun belts. They are typically used as a catch-all for things you need out of your hands quickly but don’t want to lose. Empty magazines, batteries, or Twinkie wrappers can all get tossed in to be policed later.

I personally don’t run a drop pouch on my belt because I have one on my plate carrier. The one I have is a roll-up velcro type to stay out of the way until you need it.


Lastly, I have a 550 cord braided tether on my left side. It has a snap hook convenient for gloves, keys, or anything else you want to keep handy. It also can be unwoven and used as cordage in an emergency.

battle belt cord braided tether



Some battle belts go through belt loops, and others go outside the belt loops. I prefer the two-layered outside-the-belt loop type with an inner strap that goes through the belt loops.


A belt should be tight enough to keep your equipment secure and close without being uncomfortably tight. The better shape you are in, the more comfortable they seem to fit. I do find that the wider belt seems more comfortable for guys like me who are a little round in the middle.


That can depend on how you set it up. Some belts come wide, and with padded load-bearing surfaces, a good belt is undoubtedly strong enough that you could be picked up by it.


If you’re a gear queer like me, you will likely enjoy the process of putting all this together. I hope what I have done has shed some light or given you ideas for your own belt build.

I would strongly recommend doing what I did if you can; for the better part of two months, I wore my gun belt every day to work. This allowed me to make adjustments for comfort and practical use, adjusting the angle of my holster, and so on. The familiarity I gained from wearing the belt for such a long time made me very comfortable using the system at the range.

Don’t be afraid to try different belt accessories to find the one that fits your needs best, and if you have any questions about the subject, feel free to drop them in the comment section.

Make sure you share your battle belt build with us when you finish it, and share this with your gun buddies!


Century’s WASR 10: an AK-47 for the streets…

The Kalashnikov

Few firearms are more recognizable than the Kalashnikov family; in this article will be looking at a descendant of that family, the WASR 10. It is a Romanian-made AK-47 imported by Century Arms for the American market.
The formidable AK-47 design is the blueprint for the WASR 10; Century Arms manufactures them from Romanian parts kits. The post-Warsaw Pact production of rifles in Romania created a vast number of highly sought-after imports that are still coming into the US distribution circuit.

The WASR 10

Much like its Kalashnikov cousin, the WASR 10 uses an extremely simple and robust construction. The receiver is made from stamped steel, folded neatly into the proper shape, and fitted with the barrel and trunnion. The bolt carrier and piston assembly ride on two rails fit into the receiver, with a captured operating spring assembly fit into the rear of the bolt carrier and secured into a blind slot at the rear of the receiver. The gas tube is secured between the gas block and the trunnion with a cam pin.

The barrel is chambered in the 7.62Ă—39 Soviet cartridge, the hitherto low cost and proliferate supply of this ammunition is also an attractive aspect of the rifle.
Wooden furniture is used in both the foregrip area and buttstock, though the pistol grip is a polymer blend. To be honest, the whole thing gives the feeling of an infantry weapon in post cold war Soviet states, which makes a lot of sense…

The finish is almost non-existent, particularly on the wood, and you can tell that the original manufacture of these guns wasn’t exactly focused on luxurious looks. I’ve seen a great many of these types of rifles, and there is quite a variation in the grading of quality, at least from an aesthetic perspective.

All that aside, these rifles and their extended family are famous for being incredibly reliable, like a lead pump that knows no defeat. All over the world, they can be found in terrible conditions and disrepair yet still functioning.

The availability, low cost, and that incredibly seasoned service record make these rifles very popular and favorable to American gun owners. For all the pitiful parlance I’ve mentioned regarding the WASR 10 so far, this is the part I love the most about gun reviews. The WASR 10 is exactly what I expected it to be, a lightweight, fast-moving mag siphon.

And just like every other similar AK variant I have shot, this one is an absolute blast to shoot. Low recoil, easily aimed, and way too easy to use up all your ammunition.

The 16.5-inch barrel makes the overall length of the gun quite short and easy to maneuver. The iron sights are straight out of Moscow with no frills, just the traditional adjustable ramp sight hilariously incremented out to a thousand meters. That said, while I have always found it relatively easy to get hits on target with these sights, I really wish I had an optics mount to try using a small scope on the rifle.

Reloads are not as simple as AR-type rifles; perhaps the only flaw in Mikhail’s design was the lack of a lock-back mag catch. This requires you to remove the magazine and insert the new one, followed by drawing back the bolt to chamber the first round of the new magazine. It’s not a huge deal to me, and if you look on Instagram you can see a whole bunch of tier-zero dudes running the drill faster than I can spill my coffee.

The magazines themselves are another great part of the design. Seated properly in the rifle, they feel almost like a solid piece of the receiver; you can hold the gun by the mag and shake it violently with no concern for failures of any kind. The WASR 10 now comes with polymer magazines, nothing wrong with that, but I do prefer the old steel stamped ones that I used to be able to buy for $7.00 each back in the 90s. Continue Reading Here…

WASR-10 Pros And Cons

  • Reliability – Unbeatable reliability with zero malfunctions.
  • Compatibility – Aftermarket accessories fit without issue.
  • Fun – I mean, c’mon, it’s an AK.
  • Maneuverable – Lightweight and easily manipulated.
  • Inaccurate – Not a particularly accurate platform.
  • No bolt lock-back – This in my view is a design failure.
  • Wood finish- Roll the dice, see what you get.
  • Controls- Could use some modernization.

Either way, you probably ought to get a bunch of ammo if you purchase one of these rifles, as they are just too fun to shoot. For the most part, I run the lacquered steel case ammo through my rifle; some say it’s not optimal, but…you do you.

The 122-grain FMJ and the 122 hollow point ammunition I fired through the gun functioned flawlessly, and the accuracy of both loads was very comparable. The platform isn’t known for its accuracy, so I wasn’t surprised to see groups averaging in the 2-3 MOA. I am quite confident I could shoot it much better with a good scope adequately mounted, but I would be surprised if it shot much better than 2 MOA. I also shot some American Eagle 124-grain FMJ ammunition with great results.

After another afternoon of shooting, I was just as happy as ever with this rifle. It is comfortable and a joy to shoot; its lightweight and easy handling make it a walk in the park. You can definitely feel the Soviet roots from this rifle. This is not a Gucci AR.

Close-up of the WASR-10. But it still feels like a fantastic shooting tool, despite not having many of the newer style controls we have become so used to. Some nostalgia perhaps influences my feelings for the gun; the slow cyclic motion of the bolt feels like something from an old ’80s action film.

Happily, I happened to have a thread adaptor from 14X1 LH to a standard â…ť-24 which allows the use of muzzle devices with a more common thread pitch. That made it possible to install my Yankee Hill Machine R9 suppressor and a Lantac Dragon muzzle brake. Both worked great on the rifle using that adaptor.

Without an adjustable gas system, the AK family can be slightly finicky with suppressors, but this configuration worked out pretty well.


The AK design is a very hard one to beat, and the WASR 10 variant seems like a perfectly useful version of the venerable design. Its reliable, and fairly inexpensive compared to some other options. And it still brings that famous AK-47 looks with it as well.  Get yourself a WASR 10, its an AK for the streets.


Twice the Experience: Pronghorn Antelope Hunting with the Next Generation

Perhaps one of the greatest experiences I’ve been able to accomplish in my life has been to introduce new hunters to the adventure of the hunting lifestyle. Taking a person on their first hunt is not something I take lightly, everything from ethics to shooting skills are things that I enjoy teaching to anyone willing to learn. My oldest son’s first hunt was quite a milestone for me, as was introducing my wife to deer hunting. Her very first successful hunt was everything I could have hoped for, and ended up giving her a bit of her own excitement for fall. And good friends alike have come along with me for their first hunt. Would the persistent experience of taking new hunters continue to enrich my own experience? Or would every new hunt be a little less rewarding, and more repetitious than the past?

This year again I was given the opportunity to take a special young man on his very first hunt. My wife’s oldest son Leo had expressed a great deal of interest in coming along with us hunting this year. Perhaps due to listening to his mother’s experience from last season. Leo had recently enlisted in the Army when the time was drawing near to apply for hunts in our state, but in the very short holiday break while he was home, he pushed through the hunter safety program online and managed to squeeze into the only class available before he had to report back for a few more months.
With his hunter safety completed and armed with his information, I added him to the same list of hunts that we all apply for every year. One of the many applications was for two doe antelope tags in the great state of Wyoming. This hunt in particular is one of my favorites for new hunters, not because it is easy, but because of many opportunities. New hunters frequently make mistakes, even seasoned hunters do it often. The rolling rugged mountains of southwestern Wyoming are filled with antelope, so many in fact that a guy could screw up over and over and still find another opportunity for a stalk.

Alpha Munitions 6GT brass loaded with 100 gr. Cayuga solid copper bullets make a wicked combo

Leo was excited to go, I’m not sure if he was as excited as I was though. But as the time drew near for the hunt, we prepared for the task I was sure we would be successful in. Plenty of practice was in order before we actually pointed a gun at an Antelope, several guns in fact. We were unsure which rifle was the best fit for him, as he unfortunately identifies as left-handed, and yet preferred to shoot a right-handed gun. We practiced with several rifles, but in the end we decided to go with the SRS M2 chambered in 6 GT. I feel no guilt about spoiling my apprentices with exceptional equipment, and the SRS M2 is certainly that. The 6MM GT cartridges were loaded with Cayuga 100 grain copper solid bullets from Patriot Valley Arms. I have used these bullets in several rifles including this one with excellent results, so I was quite confident it would work well for Leo as well.

Day One
As the sun began to rise that first morning, we were already in place. Overlooking an incredible view of brush-colored valleys and flats, the occasional trail cutting through the brush as well as prairie dog mounds scattered about. Antelope could be seen meandering through different shallow drainages, everything felt right.
We decided to move into some slightly rougher terrain, as the barren flats would offer fewer options to stalk into a shooting position. We searched instead for something with a little more topography and brush, giving us a better opportunity to sneak in.
We passed a large herd of animals, mainly because I knew they had already seen us, and with that many eyes on us we never stood a chance. So we continued searching for a smaller more secluded group, which we found about a half hour later. We sat behind a cedar tree, hiding in its shade while we devised a plan to work down a ridge where we could get a closer shot.
With our best plans made, we grabbed our gear and snuck quietly down the tree line. As we closed the distance we kept checking in with the small group of six or so animals, several of them still lay bedded confirming that they were unaware of our approach. As we reached the point we had planned on shooting from, we made one of the classic hunting blunders. Passing into the open between two trees regardless of how slow and quiet was not the move to make, and before we could get setup to shoot, the antelope leapt from their beds and ran for better than half a mile before looking back.
As we watched them off in the distance, I did the old guy thing where you remind the new guy that it cant be that easy. You gotta work for it, and put in your time and learn your lessons before you win. As we hiked back towards the truck, we discussed our next plan. But before we had gotten to the area we had planned on hunting next, we spotted a couple small groups of animals out grazing on a wide flat near a rainwater accumulation. We talked it over, and decided it was certainly worth a try. So we made our way around a rise that lie between us and the herd. We knew that we were going to be crawling for quite a ways, as the ground was too flat to even duck-walk without presenting a significant profile. We grabbed only the essential gear we would need, and began crawling across the dry dirt and prickly ground. Every few yards I’d pop up just enough to see if they were still there.

When we finally reached a spot where Leo could lay proned out behind the rifle and see the herd, we did some preparation. It turned out there was two groups of antelope, a close group of about five animals and a larger group of seven or so further out. There wasn’t enough brush to conceal us if we moved any closer, so the call was made to shoot from right there. After we’d both given the group a thorough good looking, we determined that there was only one mature doe in the group. Keeping our eyes on her to avoid any mistakes, we watched them move along waiting for the right shot.

Leo loaded the rifle, and dialed the elevation correction. We had practiced shooting this far with no issues, so we both had confidence in his ability to make the shot. But for several minutes they moved along a distant brush line, stopping only with her white rump pointed directly at us. They were working away, after checking the distance again we corrected the elevation. It was shortly thereafter that she stopped, Leo whispered that the next time she stops he would dispatch the chambered round. I watched through my own optic as she slowed to a stop and looked around the arid country beyond. Just as anticipated the suppressed gasp from the rifle came, and I watched the trace travel across the six-hundred yard gap between us. The hundred grain Cayuga found its mark, pushing its way through the unsuspecting doe sending her straight to the ground.

We both erupted into a celebratory cheer as the rest of the antelope nearby slowly scattered. We continued watching to ensure that she had expired completely, but a curious development occurred as we watched. The other group of antelope that had been feeding further away seemed to have also been spooked by the excitement, and they moved closer to us as we lay waiting. After just a few minutes they had closed the distance over two hundred yards and they were now slightly closer than the first group had been when we started. Leo and I still laid in the low spot we had chosen for a hide, still concealed and in our shooting position. “Should we take another one?” he asked, and not being one for complicating things that don’t need complication I told him it was his hunt and his call to make. We both inspected this new group of antelope, and again found only a single mature doe mingling among a few juvenile bucks and this years fawn.
We kept track of her, and reset the elevation on the rifle for their location. Again we waited as she slowly walked through the brush, waiting for a shot opportunity where she stood still with her side to us and apart from the other animals. When the time came, we were ready. Again the GT released a burst of gas as the next bullet hastily made it across the five-hundred and fifty yards, and we watched the doe drop to the ground.
Our plan had put us in the right place for a perfect double. We again reveled in our success and shared a hug, no longer concerned with concealment or making noise. We gathered our gear up, and made our way down the drainage towards our prize, the two animals laid only a hundred yards or so from each other.

The 24″ ES-Tactical 6GT barrel pushes the 100 gr. Cayugas at just under 3,000 FPS and 1/4MOA groups are the norm

We gathered them up, and took some pictures. For Leo it was the first time handling a large animal that he killed himself, I watched as he curiously inspected them occasionally pointing out some of the puzzling characteristics of these unique animals.

It was time to give a lesson in gutting though, so with knives in hand we started whittling away. Dark storm clouds rumbled in the distance so I didn’t want to take too long. We made short work of the two animals, and into the truck they went where we had bags of ice waiting for them. We also brought along the hearts and livers to use as much as we could.

Incredibly heavy rain began to pour over the prairie as we rode out, washing blood and dirt from the bed of the truck. But as we rolled down the highway I thought about the fun we’d had and our shared experience that no amount of washing would rinse away. Our clothes on the other hand could use a good torrent and rinsing rain, but we still had work to do. Once home, we hung the two antelope in my skinning tree and skinned them out. A quick wash with cold water to get as much blood and other contaminants from the carcasses before putting them into the cooler on ice for a weeks worth of aging was all that remained.

Once again I was lucky to share the spoils of a new hunter’s prize, we had antelope for dinner the next day and it was good. Not just because of the flavor, but also because of the adventure and satisfaction we shared in getting it. I don’t think I’ll tire of helping new hunters anytime soon, and I cant wait for the next opportunity.

Perfectly rare antelope tenderloins were delicious

Browning X-Bolt Hells Canyon 6.5 Creedmoor


When I first saw the Browning X-bolt Hell’s Canyon at SHOT Show, I remember thinking to myself that many folks were going to eat it up. And as years have passed it surely has become one of the most talked about hunting rifles out there. So when I finally got a chance to check it out myself, I was eager to see if all the hype was well founded. I had already been playing with a different X-bolt model, so I was pretty familiar with it before I even opened the box. What I didn’t realize was just how deep into Hell’s Canyon I would descend.

First Impressions

My very first impression of the rifle was not unlike my feeling when I saw it at SHOT Show, it was just a plain handsome rifle. A bronze colored Cerakote job and similar A-TACS camo pattern clearly sets this rifle apart on the rifle rack. The fluted barrel and it’s inconspicuous muzzle brake flow seamlessly into the receiver, all of which is set nicely into the camouflaged composite stock. A nice soft recoil pad at the back was a welcome feature, as was the detachable box magazine. And like other X-bolts I’ve shot, it was just smooth. The sixty-degree bolt design makes shorter and faster operation, and the gold-plated trigger breaks as clean as most any hunting rifle I’ve ever pulled from a shelf. The X Bolt action features a bolt release button to unlock the bolt when the safety is on, a very cunning and intuitive design. If this rifle shot as good as it looked, I was going be hard pressed to let go of it.


I wanted to get straight to the range with this rifle, but first I had to get a scope mounted. I went with a one-piece scope base that uses eight screws to hold it down to the top of the receiver. I found this to be a superior mounting system than the traditional four screws that most manufacturers use to mount scope bases.

I tried a couple different mounting systems and riflescopes, first a Nikon 4-16 scope which worked great, but was too high. I ended up with the system that seemed to work the best, a Crimson Trace 3-12 mounted in Warne rings and bases.
I had a small amount of Hornady American Gunner 6.5CM ammo that I could test in the rifle, but I wanted to try more than one thing just in case the rifle didn’t care for it. So I sat at my loading bench to crank out another couple options hoping at least one of them would provide me with the exceptional accuracy I was hoping for. After that, I installed a Harris bipod so I could get this rifle into the field and shooting.

Continue Reading Here…


A hunter shoots the Hell's Canyon X-Bolt
The Hell’s Canyon X-Bolt is a good-looking gun, and it did well in our range testing after some honing. 

I bore sighted the rifle before I left the house, so it was straight to the paper at 100 yards when I got to my range. It only took a few adjustments to get the rifle zeroed, and I was ready to start some serious shooting in earnest. My hopes for the Hornady American Gunner were not quite met. The groups averaged around an inch, which isn’t terrible, but not good enough for me.

Some of my reloads averaged around the same. I expected that the 1:7 twist of the Browning would stabilize them well, but perhaps it just didn’t like those loads either. Adding a suppressor to the rifle improved the shot pattern, closing most of the groups down to sub-MOA and even half-MOA accuracy with certain loads.

The four-round magazine of the Hells Canyon rifle is fantastic. The magazine is rotary, allowing for four 6.5 Creedmoor cartridges to be preloaded in the rifle. This is more than enough for your average big game hunt. If it’s not, I’m sure Browning will sell you additional magazines. The polymer magazine feeds flawlessly, probably in part due to its slippery surface. It fits snugly into the bottom of the rifle and is easily removed by pulling on a hinged catch at the front of the magazine.

Shop Browning rifles, that’s why you are here right?

Shooting the Hell’s Canyon rifle out in the mountains where it would be used was my next task. With the rifle zeroed and predictable accuracy, I decided to take it out a little further. We first started with a target at 440 yards, which is a very realistic shot in these steep canyons of the Rocky Mountains. With a spotter on the target and ballistic data estimated, I dialed the scope for my shot and put my finger on the golden trigger. Wind was coming from my left at about 4 mph, so I gave a slight favor to the wind and gave the trigger a gentle squeeze.

Browning Hell's Canyon X-Bolt and a dog in a field
The X-Bolt handled long-range shooting well, especially with a suppressor
A shooter with the Hell's Canyon X-Bolt on a hill
Even shooting from elevated positions, the gun was more than capable of claiming prey beyond 400 yards

Watching the bullet impact is a big part of shooting at these kinds of distances. The muzzle brake on the front of this rifle helps reduce the movement of the gun, so the shooter can spot those impacts. The recoil felt behind this rifle was quite modest, and spotting shots as close as 400 yards was doable. We fired several shots at that target before we moved to another, and we managed to hit it over and over with very predictable results. Hitting a deer or elk properly at that range would be very likely with this rifle, but I wanted to see how much further we could shoot and get the same results.

We took it further downrange just to see how it would do. Another target that would make a nice addition to the rifle’s envelope lay at 660 yards. I dialed the 3.6 MRAD indicated by my ballistic computer and again estimated the wind for the shot. The target I picked was about 10-inches wide, which is about right for a kill zone on a deer and exactly what this rifle was built for. The 800 milliseconds it took for the bullet to get there were easily viewed through the scope as the trajectory arched into the target. The bullet crashed hard in the middle, creating a puff of gray.

Over and over, we sent shots downrange. I imagined each one as a potential buck sneaking away, but the little Browning was just the right tool for preventing such a scenario.


Browning Hell's Canyon X-Bolt on a hill
My only complaint is the non-common threading, though I was able to find a custom adaptor for my suppressor

I was very excited to find the muzzle was threaded on this rifle. I was sure to mount a different brake or a suppressor for part of my testing. To my shock and horror, Browning had gone to all the work of threading the barrel, but it wasn’t threaded in one of the common thread patterns used for muzzles. This meant that I wouldn’t be able to use any of my muzzle trinkets unless I wanted to recut the threads. Luckily, I found a thread adaptor made by XCaliber Firearms designed specifically for the X-Bolt. This allowed me to install suppressors on the rifle, which made it even more fun and accurate to shoot.


After having spent some time with this rifle, I can see why so many have chosen it. Besides its good looks and construction, the X-Bolt has all the quality features that your American hunter would like. It has a great trigger, intuitive controls, an excellent magazine feeding system, a recoil-reducing muzzle brake, and more.

It doesn’t surprise me that I like this rifle. Browning has a long, distinguished history of producing great rifles. What did surprise me was how hard it was to let it go.


More Guns, or Multi-caliber Guns?

We can all agree that firearms are as addicting as any hobby, the only part we might argue with is how long it takes for the newness to wear off from our latest new toy. And as soon as it does, we find ourselves again seeking to justify reasons for another. I often draw a parallel to women’s shoes; sure, any pair of shoes will cover your feet, but ladies often have a different pair for jogging, walking, the gym, fancy walking or walking the dog. And those of us with a firearm addiction might have a similar situation with our guns, we might have three different rifles for deer hunting depending on how we plan to hunt any particular day.

One rifle chassis, untold options

This may be a luxury for some, and a dream for others. But today we are going to talk about how multi-caliber rifles can make that dream a luxurious reality.

Most of us could probably get by with a handful of firearms, for example; a deer rifle, a shotgun, a .22 and maybe a varmint rifle like an AR of some sort. But let’s be honest, none of us would be completely satisfied with a humble collection like that. Most firearm aficionados have many more than a few in similar categories, and others have piles of rifles of every kind.
But today we are talking about multi-caliber rifles, a rifle that can switch from one caliber to another. Multi-caliber rifles have been around for some time, but they have become extremely popular over the last decade or so.

But how can a multi-caliber rifle make your life better? Continue Reading Here…

Beretta Silver Pigeon

If your lucky enough and work hard you can become one of those financially secure adults that we all imagined becoming as children. And its about that time in a firearm enthusiasts life that he or she decides to start buying up guns that they want more than they need. While that statement could describe nearly any firearm, today we are discussing one in particular. Beretta is well known for making excellent shotguns, many of which I’ve been lucky enough to play with on the range. The Beretta 686 Silver Pigeon is yet another fine example of Beretta’s prime production, but this one brought up some interesting reflection. Continue Reading Here…

What is a Revolver and why do some gun owners love them?

Many years ago the original Equalizer that Samuel Colt brought to market changed the way people lived their lives. As the saying goes, Sam made men equal. But more than a hundred-eighty years later, has the revolver lost its place in American defense?

Pistols of all kinds seem to be coming out of the woodwork, new manufacturers and old are constantly improving and modernizing their design. All this is great for us consumers, we are definitely spoiled for choice. The first proliferate repeating pistols were not incredibly different from revolvers we shoot today, but what makes a revolver a revolver?

What is a revolver?
A revolver is a firearm that uses a cylinder with multiple chambers. The mechanics of the revolver vary, but they all share the cylinder that is rotated to fire the chambers individually. Each chamber is aligned with the breach of the barrel, the hammer is cocked, readying the pistol for the next shot. Its a fairly simple cycle, but in the early nineteenth century, it revolutionized the way people could confront dangerous threats.
Some revolvers have a fixed cylinder with a loading door, this requires loading each chamber one at a time. Others have a cylinder that opens out to the side of the frame, allowing access to all chambers at once. Some designs even break open hinging the entire barrel /cylinder assembly forward and down to give loading access to the cylinder.
The trigger and/or hammer engages with the cylinder rotation mechanism, ensuring that all are in line when the trigger is pulled.

Single action or double
Most modern revolvers are double action, that means they can be fired by either cocking the hammer manually, and pulling the trigger, or by simply pulling the trigger. A double-action revolver will mechanically cock the hammer and release it, while at the same time rotating the cylinder to the next chamber.
Single action revolvers require that the hammer be cocked to the rear manually, the cylinder is mechanically rotated to a live chamber at the same time. The trigger set during this same action, and ready to pull.
Single action revolvers were the standard back in those early days, and many still use them today. Part of the revolver attraction and the single-action revolver attraction, in particular, is derived from that cowboy western enchantment that many of us suffer from. Hopefully, they never find a cure🙂.

What makes revolvers useful?
Despite what some would call ancient technology, gun enthusiasts still find the revolver design very useful today. Much like the very first Colts, they still provide equalizing power against threats, handy taking of game, or all-day fun engaging with targets.
Revolvers typically have more room for larger caliber cartridges, which makes them a great companion for situations that might require heavy-hitting shots.
They also have the length of the cylinder for those longer magnum cartridges and even some shotshells. This may give the revolver and edge for some shooters, when they need significant power in a small package they can easily carry.
A few other advantages to the revolver that some might find useful; revolvers operate by input from the shooter. That means it’s your finger that cycles the next round into the firing position. So should you be in a sticky situation and a round fails to fire, a simple press of the trigger finger brings the next round into the firing position without having to break your hold or aim.
The simplicity of a revolver’s design also makes them generally less likely to experience malfunctions.

Choosing the right revolver
As previously mentioned, we are spoiled with choices today. You can get revolvers in nearly any caliber, and frame size. You can get five, six or more rounds into the cylinders of many modern revolvers. There are lightweight options made from titanium or composite materials, as well as hammerless designs that won’t hang up on clothing when drawn. You can get extra cylinders to shoot different cartridges if you want to, so many options make it hard to not like at least one or two.
When choosing a revolver, buyers should evaluate several options, and see which best fits their hand, purpose, and their budget.
There are plenty of new production pistols that have the historical look of the original Colts, like the Cimarron Mod P in 45LC available here on GDC for very affordable prices. And a moderate caliber like 45LC won’t overwhelm you with recoil or sink you wallet either.

If a more modern revolver is what you’re looking for, the Ruger GP-100 is available in a great variety of calibers, and a stainless steel frame for less than ideal weather.

If affordable ammunition is on your radar, you’d love shooting a 22 caliber revolver like the Smith and Wesson Model 17 available here on GDC

In my opinion, the revolver has only increased its value to shooters today. Its time-proven design has been maximized to squeeze impressive performance from wheel guns that my Great Great Grandfather would still find familiar. As with all firearms, I’m excited to see what the future holds for the revolver since I don’t think they are going away anytime soon.