What Is The Difference In Shooting Hearing Protection

Shooting Hearing Protection ranges from simple foam ear plugs that are very inexpensive to high end electronic ear muffs. The price varies considerably, and this is one type of product that you definitely get what you pay for.

Shooting Hearing Protection is rated by a NRR variable. Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) is the measurement, in decibels, of how well a hearing protector reduces noise as specified by the Environmental Protection Agency. The higher the NRR number the greater the noise reduction. While wearing hearing protection, your exposure to noise is equal to the total noise level minus the NRR of the hearing protectors that you are wearing. As an example, if you were exposed to 80db of noise but were wearing earplugs with an NRR of 29, your actual noise exposure would only be 51dB. Higher end shooting ear muffs typically have a higher NRR rating.

Starting on the low end of shooting hearing protectors is the foam ear plug. These are very inexpensive, and typically are a one time use. These are made by brands such as Champion Shooting Sports, Allen Company and Pyramex. You simply place the foam plugs in your ear, and throw them away when you are finished shooting. These typically offer the least amount of hearing protection. Allen Company makes foam ear plugs with an NRR of 31, while Champion Shooting Sports makes some with an NRR of 32. Variations of foam ear plugs may include a neck cord to keep the ear plugs from getting lost.

The next step up is shooting ear muffs. These typically offer protection from 19dB to 26 dB, and have foam ear pads that are typically adjustable, and have a center strap or brace that goes over the top of your head. Champion Shooting Sports has several varieties, as well as Caldwell Shooting Sports. Some of the newer varieties are low profile, which is not as thick in the ear muff area, which is less restrictive when shooting a rifle or shotgun.

The final variety of Shooting Ear Muffs are the self clipping electronic versions. These operate by amplifying normal conversation, but immediately turn off or “clip” the instant there is a loud noise such as gun fire. These are also available in a low profile design, and are sold under Champion, Caldwell and Howard Leight brands. This style of shooting protection is typically the most expensive, with some models ranging up to $149.

In deciding which style of shooting protection is best for you, take into account how often you will need hearing protection, how long you will wear it a one time, and what price do you feel comfortable spending, and you will find a variety that fits your shooting supply needs.

Deck Out Your UTV For Hunting

UTV’s have become extremely popular for hunting. Most UTVs come stock with a bed and two seats, but there are many after market UTV Accessories that help change your utility vehicle into the ultimate hunting machine.

Great Day makes a Deluxe Rumble Seat that adds room for two more passengers in the bed of the UTV. Some States even allow hunting from the back bed, so this seat makes a great mobile hunting platform. The Great Day Deluxe UTV Rumble Seat is made in the USA, and features a 350pound weight capacity, as well as a padded seat, and heavy-duty 1 1/2″ frame. The Deluxe Rumble Seat fits all popular brands of UTV’s – Polaris, Kawasaki, Yamaha, Kubota, Club Car, Arctic Cat, Cub Cadet, Etc.

Also from Great Day is the Quick Draw UTV Overhead Gun Rack. The Quick Draw Overhead Gun Rack holds two guns securely in the inside roof area of the UTV, keeping them within easy reach for fast access. There are models available in different lengths to fit most brands of UTVs on the market today.

All Rite makes several popular UTV accessories including the All Rite UTV UNO Gun Rack. This holds one gun securely on the back of the UTV cab. It only needs one mounting spot, and can fit any tubular bar up to 1 3/4″.

ATV Tek features the Arch Bag UTV Cargo Bag. These bags feature an internal steel frame to keep the bags shape, even when empty. A Zipperless, fully removable lid allows you to access the bag from the front, back, left or right side and it can be taken completely off for unobstructed access. The UTV Arch Bags are available in black and Mossy Oak Break-Up camo.

These are just several handy products to help accessorize your UTV. Be sure to check out the full selection at Explore Products.



Soft Gun Cases That Are Not The Average Size

When it comes to soft gun cases, there are “standard” sizes that most manufacturers offer. An example is most shotgun soft cases are 52″ and most rifle cases are 47″. However, there are many different sized guns that would find these case sizes to be either too long or too short causing the gun to either rip through the zipper or slide around too much in the case.

Fortunately some soft gun case manufacturers offer unique sizes to accommodate a wider range of guns. Allen Company makes their All Purpose series of soft gun cases in 40″, 43″ and 46″ for scoped rifles, and 40″, 44″, 48″ and 54″ for shotguns. The 40″ size is very unique for either shotguns or rifles and the 54″ shotgun length is also somewhat unusual. Allen also makes a 42″ scoped rifle case under the Marlin brand name, as well as a 42″ scoped rifle case with the Ruger brand on it. Allen also makes a 22″ Encore/Contender case which can be considered either a handgun or rifle depending on your caliber choices.

Outdoor Connection makes a 54″ scoped rifle case available in either black or pink. There is some demand for a 54″ scoped rifle case, though most gun case companies only make this length for shotguns without a scope. The case features a zippered exterior pocket, and carries Outdoor Connections “Guaranteed Forever” warranty.

If you have a gun that falls outside or the usual length for gun cases, be sure to shop around before making a purchase since not all gun case companies offer unique sizes.

Gun Cases For Women

We are glad to see more women entering into the shooting sports. And the Hunting Accessories manufacturers are stepping up to the plate and offering more products for the female shooter.

Some of our favorite gun cases for women include the Outdoor Connection Pink pistol soft Case. These are available in 8″ and 11″ sizes, and offer a pink exterior with brown top grain leather trim. A full length heavy-duty zipper and interior barrel pocket are nice quality touches as well.

Also on the market is the Allen Powder Horn Soft Shotgun and Rifle Case series. These full length cases feature the pink accented Allen Powder Horn pattern, and are available for shotguns and scoped rifles. These also make great youth cases for girls entering into the shooting sports.

And for Range Bags, Outdoor Connection makes their Deluxe Range Bag in both a pink color and a new purple version. These range bags have lots of pockets and zippered compartments to not only hold your handgun, but also other shooting accessories such as pink hearing protection and pink safety shooting glasses.

Has South Dakota Lost Its Title Of Pheasant Capital Of The World?

Ten years ago, you could take you gun out of your shotgun case, step out of your truck, and be shooting pheasants within minutes. However, the 2013 pheasant population in South Dakota is down over 76% from 10 years ago (stats from the South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks. In Chamberlain, for example, the 2012 pheasant survey had 10.81 birds per mile. The 2013 figure is only 2.66. That is a 75% reduction in one year, and 85% reduction over 10 years. Pierre has gone from 9.53 birds per mile in 2012, to only 2.15 in 2013, a 77% reduction.

Other 2013 pheasants per mile are as follows:

  • Winner                  2.00
  • Mobridge              2.12
  • Aberdeen             1.70
  • Huron                   2.04
  • Mitchell                 1.77
  • Yankton                0.68
  • Sioux Falls            0.88
  • Brookings             0.77
  • Watertown            0.77
  • Sisseton               0.47
  • Western SD         1.01

When a hunter looks at his investment in hunting gear, licenses, and the limited amount of time available to get off work to hunt, these drastic low pheasant numbers make a person think twice if its is worth the trip. South Dakota has historically offered large numbers of pheasants combined with ample public hunting land and walk-in land available to the hunter. It is our opinion, however, that the amount of cover and pheasant habitat have suffered greatly over the years. Large amounts of CRP land have been put into crop production with the elimination of the CRP program. Though this provides pheasants with a food source, these same areas are almost barren once the crops are harvested.

It appears that this lowering trend of the pheasant population is not going to reverse itself anytime in the near future. And with many businesses relying on the large amount of revenue brought into the state from hunters, we fear that dwindling pheasant numbers will have a negative financial impact on the State of South Dakota’s economy. For now we will put away our hunting clothing and hope for a better pheasant future.

Minnesota Ruffed Grouse Hunting

Minnesota is known as the best ruffed grouse hunting state in the US. Grouse can be hunted with a minimal amount of specialized Hunting Equipment. The average Minnesota grouse harvest varies from 250,000 to 1 million birds taken annually. The ruffed grouse population follows a 10 year cycle that fluctuates fairly consistently. Hunting does not seem to affect the grouse population levels, rather, the bird population cycle happens naturally due to speculative causes such as food changes.

Many animals hunt ruffed grouse, including birds of prey such as goshawk, great horned owl, and various mammals such as fox, fisher and bobcat. To hunt ruffed grouse in Minnesota, a hunter simply needs a Minnesota small game license, Hunting Clothing consisting of a blaze orange hat and hunting vest, and a shotgun. The daily limit is 5 grouse.

Turn Your Shotgun Into A Tactical Shotgun

It is easy to convert your hunting shotgun or standard shotgun into a tactical shotgun. The Phoenix Technology Kicklite Tactical Shotgun Kit has everything needed to do this simple gunsmithing project at home. The kit includes the Phoenix Technology Kicklite Shotgun Stock, which is engineered to greatly reduce the perceived felt impact of shotgun loads. It is extremely popular with female shooters, youth and smaller framed individuals and even the ‘big guys’ who could do with out the shoulder pain associated with a day in the field.

The Phoenix Technology Kicklite Tactical Shotgun Kit also includes a tactical forearm, and a stock mounted shotshell holder which can be mounted on either side for ambidextrous shooting. Also included is easy to follow instructions, as well as a tool for removing the shotguns forearm retaining nut. These kits are available for the Mossberg 500, Remington 870 and the Winchester 1200 series shotguns. In addition, there are kits available without the Kicklite recoil reduction system for approximately half the price. These and other shooting supplies are available at Explore Products.

Plano’s All Weather Tactical Gun Case

Plano Molding has an All Weather series of Gun Cases for your tactical rifle. The cases are water tight, air tight and dust proof, and features reinforced ribbing, continuous Dri-Loc® seal and a low-profile pressure release valve. The interior is egg carton and flat foam to protect firearms, and is customizable. The Plano All Weather Rifle Cases are also airline approved and have padlock receptacles for security. The case series includes a 36″ length and 43″ length tactical rifle size, as well as sizes for handguns and full length rifles or shotguns.

Why a high end shooting rest?

When it comes to shooting rests, there are many options. Some are free, example: rolling up your gun case and using it to support the forearm of your rifle. And some can run into several hundred dollars. So why buy an expensive rifle rest? It comes down to how often you shoot and how accurate you want your gun rest to be. If you target shoot frequently, or have a need to accurately sight in a rifle scope then it is probably worth the investment to get a higher end  shooting rest. A great example is the Caldwell Fire Control Full Length Rifle Rest.

The Caldwell Fire Control Rest completely holds your rifle – both forearm and stock – to give you full control over the gun while sighting in your rifle scope, or for complete accuracy in long range shooting. Higher end rifle rests like this have precision gears and micro adjustments, to make it easy to minutely adjust the crosshairs on the target. The controls are “fluid”, and not crud like trying to slide your gun on a sandbag to adjust the sight picture. The Fire Control Rest also cradles the gun stock which helps reduce recoil while shooting, which can be a big plus for higher caliber rifles, or for shooters with medical issues.

Soft Gun Case Options For Your AR Style Rifle

There are many soft gun cases on the market, but most will not fit an AR style rifle. AR guns tend to be wider and shorter than most hunting rifles. Your best option for a sift gun case is to buy one specifically designed for this type of weapon.

Allen Company makes several different Assault Rifle cases. One of their lowest priced options is the Allen Tactical Soft Gun Case. These are available in 32″, 37″, 42″ and 46″ lengths and are 12″ wide at the widest point. These cases feature a full length zipper, and also have 4 magazine pouches on the outside of the case, as well as a large zippered exterior pocket for accessories.

Allen Company has a new line of Smith & Wesson M&P cases new in 2013. Two of the models, the 38″ and 42″ length, hold 2 tactical weapons. These cases feature:

  • 1200D rugged polyester shell for durability.
  • External MOLLE web system for gear attachment.
  • External compression straps.

Outdoor Connection also has several AR soft gun cases including models 36″, 42″ and 46″ lengths and also feature external magazine pouches and zippered accessory pockets, as well as a built-in carry strap.

Explore Products carries a full line of tactical soft gun cases as well as shooting and hunting accessories.