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Not irons, optics, red-dot, nor holosight; just what is the See All Open Sight?

If you want to shoot at a target with repeatable accuracy you need some form of sighting system. Thankfully every type of firearm has a sighting system already installed on them or comes with the ability to mount them in some fashion. Even most short barreled handguns use a have a form of sighting system on them. So then the question for some is what type of sighting device do they want to use on a specific firearm. Is it to be used for self defense, plinking, hunting legged or flying game, competition? What range or ranges will targets be engaged at? How much? How heavy? How well does it work? That’s a lot of options and unfortunately unlike the storyline of The Lord of the Rings, there is no one single sighting device that rules them all.

So first TPF will break down the basic types of sights for firearms:
Iron Sights:

Iron sights are simple sights. That means that they are mechanically a simple in design. A notched rear blade sight with a post-style front sight are the most common iron sights used on firearms with rifled barrels. Aperture, or “peep” sights use a ring instead of an open notch. In general, iron sights are very simple and cost effective while being lightweight.

Telescopic Sights:

These optical sights use lenses encased in tubular mounts, in order to place an superimposed reticle on the target. The aiming pattern appears to be at the same focal point as the target which allows for a single required focus. The construction of these sights is far more complex than iron sights, but allows for magnification effects which make the target appear closer. This obviously allows for longer target engagement ranges and greater accuracy.

Reflector Sights:

Reflector sights are a version of optical sights that are more commonly known as reflex sights. The most common versions currently in use are red-dot scopes which use a light emitting diode (LED) to project a single dot image on a mirror surface of the objective lenses that reflects the reticle image back towards the user. A closed style reflex sight is mounted in a tube akin to a telescopic sight and can use filters and shades to prevent glare and such. The open style reflex sight is simply the objective lens mounted in a simple encompassing ring and are lightweight compared to tube versions. These LED powered sights can operate for extended durations due to the minimal power requirements.

Holographic Sights:

The most advanced optical sight commonly available are holographic sights. Holographic sights use a laser to project an aiming reticle onto the surface of an objective lens which is then observed by the shooter’s eye. While they are similarly to open style reflex sights as they have a single objective lens mounted, there are more electronics contained inside. Usually have a slightly a finer aiming reticle than reflex sights.

Unfortunately we are all growing older. In the case of the author of today’s TPF installment, wearing corrective lenses has been the norm for over twenty years. The usage of fibre-optic enhanced or tritium embedded iron sights has allowed for faster target acquisition and better sight alignment, but sometimes an upgrade in sighting systems is desired. For many that means magnification optics for greater target resolution at range, or electronic sights that have a red-dot or holographic aiming reticles. So now enter the See All Open Sight, to be referred to as SAOS subsequently.

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A new style of target acquisition systems. The See All Open Sight is designed as a rugged, fast, simple and in-expensive alternative

The SAOS is an attempt to create a lightweight, cost effective, accurate sighting device which is accurate at short and longer ranges. Built into a compact package the SAOS masses in at just a hair over 55 grams (1.8 oz) which is a fraction of most optical and electronic sight masses. Measuring 57.5mm long, 25.7mm wide and 25.4mm height (2.26″ x 1.01″ x 1.00″), the SAOS has an incorporated weaver/picatinny mounting profile. Unlike many such mounts however, the SAOS needs to be slide overtop of the rail into it’s desired position. Instead of the common bolt clamping though a groove of the rail, the SAOS uses a pair of set screws to secure its position via tension. This means that the SAOS can be mounted regardless of number and positioning of slots in the rail.

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The sighting mechanisms and components which are situated inside the black anodized aluminum body are as follows:

  • An optical lens
  • An aiming reticle mounted on a light gathering polymer block
  • Elevation and windage adjustment screws
  • Set screws for mounting

The fixed optical lens is plano-convex in shape and by looking through it, magnifies the reticle image on the polymer block. The reticle itself consists of a horizontal line with a triangle, which is less than 1.0 mm (0.04″) wide. These are scaled up depending on the user’s eye proximity to the lens itself. The contrast of the triangular reticle and the green polymer block was very easy to distinguish and very easy and fast to acquire. The design in itself lends itself to the claim of being parallax-free in that you do not need perfect eye/sight alignment.

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Even in the shade, the contrast allows for very easy target acquisition. Line up the tip of the triangle…

Usage of the SAOS is akin to using a holographic sight, but with the size of an open reflex sight and the contrast of fiber-optic enhanced iron sights. Various other individuals have mounted and tested the SAOS through a variety of firearms including hard recoiling Mosin-Nagants, AR platforms, shotguns, in addition to centre-fire handguns as well as the plethora of rim-fire firearms out there. TPF, used a tried and true Ruger 10-22 to be the basis of this evaluation. The SAOS was mounted on a dovetail to picatinny adapter and torqued down by hand. Initial shot impacts centered roughly 50 mm (2.0″) up and to the left at 23 m (25y). Very acceptable starting accuracy out of the box. This could be attributed to the length of the mounting rail which runs the whole length of the sight in aiding initial sighting alignment. Approximately 250 rounds later, the SAOS was still holding it’s point of impact, and underlined its ease of use and the bright, easy method of acquiring your target and also establishing your sight picture.

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Mounted on an old favourite, the See All Open Sight is very simple and easy to use.

Are there smaller reflex sights out there? Yes. If the user is willing to spend several hundred dollars for an electronic sight. Which brings up another feature that may get overlooked; the SAOS doesn’t use any electronics at all. It’s rugged aluminum body has large protective sides and protects the sight from most handling abuse. The light gathering block allows for lower light conditions. The result? A very capable, short range, sighting system.  It is an excellent accessory for use by those who want a simple, high contrast, fast targeting sight, and the ease of use  makes this an especially valuable accessory for firearms used to introduce children and other people new to shooting.

The positives are pretty substantial for the SAOS:

  • Small and lightweight, yet rugged
  • Fast and easy to acquire a sight picture
  • Excellent contrast
  • No electronics/batteries and good low-light ability
  • Adjustment is 2.3m (90″) vertically and 3.8m (150″) horizontally at 91m (100 yds)

The SAOS does have a couple things which may be a detractor for some who read this.

  • Tension mounting system. In some applications, use of a thread locking method may be a mandatory addition, and over-torquing is a real possibility
  • No adjustment clicks, may make re-zeroing the sight difficult (centering)
  • No field of view through the sight itself. The large block the reticle is mounted on cannot be seen through

The See All Open Sight, as manufactured by Oversight Shooting Technologies has an MSRP of $98.99USD and Canadians can purchase this sight directly from their website SeeAllOpenSight. As is commonplace here at TPF, it is up to you, the reader, to determine if the SAOS is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical!

Author’s note: The newer generations of the See All Open Sight have since removed the “See All” logo from beneath the triangle reticle to minimize any distractions while trying to acquire target alignment.

Designed over 125 years ago, this bit of history made modern once again…

While beat out in the origins of lever actions by nearly 20 years, one of the grandfathers of lever actions, the Winchester 1886, was designed by the legendary John Moses Browning. Seeing a trend towards bigger and heavier ammunition trends, Winchester commissioned for a newer design and in 1884, the conceptual action for the “future” 1886 was adopted and put into reality. The rifle was built to handle the larger cartridges available in that time period, which included the venerable Government 45-70. For nearly half a century the Winchester 1886 was produced in numbers that exceeded 150,000 units. By the end of it’s run in 1935, this workhorse of a rifle had been chambered in several different calibres and had proven its worth to firearms owners across North America.

Chiappa's Model 1886 Rifle

The Venerable Winchester 1886. Still suggested by many to be the best lever action design to this day.

U.S. Patent 306,577, was granted October 14th, 1884. The design in very simple terms added a set of moving locking lugs which ensured the solid lock-up of the breech block, and thereby allowed higher pressure cartridges to be utilized in a lever action design. Previous actions were locked up via toggle links which were insufficient to withstand the more powerful cartridges that were appearing and desired by the firearms enthusiasts of that era.  When the first production of the 1886 rifle was started there were only three calibres available for it. These were the .45-70 Government (1873), .40-82 WCF (1885), and .45-90 WCF (1886).

A lesser known fact is that in 1886, the first smokeless powder cartridge was created for military use by the French in the form of the 8mm Lebel, but this would take time to filter over into the North American market.

In 1887 several more cartridges were introduced specifically due to the 1886′s popularity, and those were the .38-55 WCF, .40-65 WCF and the .38-70 WCF. The large .50-110 Winchester was added in 1899, and a few short years later, after the turn of the century, the first cartridge without a black powder history, the .33 WCF, was added into the lineup of calibres.

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Created in 1958, Chiappa manufactures everything from Cowboy Western Shooting, Hunting, and Reproductions/replicas of classic firearms

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Made in Italy by Armi Sport, a branch of Chiappa

So now that TPF has gone down a but of history of the classic Winchester 1886 lever action rifle, it is time to fast forward nearly one and a quarter centuries later and Italian gun manufacturer, Chiappa Firearms, has endeavoured to produce a reproduction of the venerable Winchester 1886 with modern craftsmanship and quality materials. That means that parts will be 100% interchangeable between the original 1886′s which were all hand fitted for each firearm manufactured. What fit perfectly in one 1886, could just as likely be too loose, or very tight on another 1886 which meant a lot of labour and “fiddling” was required to ensure a perfectly smooth action and precise lock up. The rifle being looked at is a full length 1886 reproduction with a full octagonal barrel chambered in .45-70 Government.

Specifications of the Chiappa 1886 Lever Action Rifle

  • Calibre: .45-70 Government (Modern loads)
  • Barrel: 26″ (66cm) Full Octagon, 1-18″ twist rate
  • Receiver: Case coloured frame
  • Capacity: 8+1 (Shipped with internal plug to 5 as per Italian law)
  • Mass: Approximately 9lbs (4.1kg)
  • Overall Length: 45″ (115cm)

What is case colouring? In the past when firearms were manufactured from softer iron, they needed to harden the outer surfaces of receivers to improve the wear and toughness of the components. Hardness of a metal is usually determined by the amount of carbon that makes up the metallurgy of the metal. In the distant past, to surface harden iron products, was accomplished by packing the iron in a mixture of ground bone and charcoal or a combination of leather, hooves, salt and urine, all inside a well-sealed box. This package is heated to a high temperature, below the iron’s melting point, for a sufficient time to have the carbon infuse/permeate the iron surface. The longer this carbonizing process, the harder the surface becomes due to greater levels of carbon penetrating into the surface.  The resulting case hardened part, due to the impurities in the packing mixtures, created an oxide surface which had patterns of colours and hues ranging from orange to dark blue. This surface was harder and showed better wear and corrosion resistance which was usually the sign of a higher quality firearm in that bygone era. That was known as “Case Hardened Colouration”, yet in modern manufacturing steel, an iron and carbon alloy, is used which has inherent hardness levels and much better resistive properties than the old school materials utilized. What this means is that while the components are no longer case hardened the old fashioned way, the colouration, as if the parts had been produced as such, creates a very attractive decoration.

Alsmost everything is case coloured

Even the butt-stock plate is case coloured

The modern day 1886 manufactured by Chiappa obviously falls into the latter category and has applied case colouration to nearly every major external metal component except for the barrel, magazine tube, breech block and feed gate. That is correct; the butt-stock plate, the lever arm, trigger, hammer, and even the fore-stock cap are all case coloured. The nearly black bluing on the barrel and magazine tube and the wonderfully vibrant walnut wood stock and forearm make for a wonderful visual piece of eye candy. Necessary? No. Beautiful? Yes.

It is a nice looking rifle

Sandwiched between the nice walnut wood, the case coloured receiver and action parts are very distinct and attractive

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The .45-70 Government. At over It is still a big cartridge

The firearms itself is pleasant to shoot, TPF took the 1886 to a local range and proceeded to lob small ashtrays down range. In all seriousness, many thanks to The Gun Centre, located in Kitchener, Ontario; for providing TPF-Online some ammunition to perform actual field tests on this rifle. Winchester Ballistic Silvertip 300gr, Remington Express Rifle 405gr SP, and Hornady Leverevolution 325gr FTX were all used, sixty (60) rounds were fired with no issues and acceptable out of the box accuracy. Using 15cm (6″) steel targets at 45m (50yd), the author was able to hit several runs of five consecutive shots, at least until a flinch started to develop. While quite enjoyable to shoot offhand, the author of this piece will likely not shoot 405gr rounds. or anything similar, from the bench ever again.

Chiappa’s Model 1886 lever action rifle, is a modern day reproduction of the classic Winchester 1886 design chambered in .45-70 Government. With an MSRP of about $1,500.00 USD it is not for the cheap and frugal, nor those who penny pinch on ammunition. Chiappa firearms are distributed through Canada by North Sylva, so if you are interested, retailers akin to Barton’s Big Country Outdoors, located in Grande Prairie, Alberta, should be able to order them for you.

It is a serious rifle in a beautiful package. However if you were looking at this rifle and debating to purchase it or even look at one; ask yourself this, is it Practical, Tactical, or Fantastical! Then go buy one anyways, because more guns = more fun!

The best design?

A close up view showing the beautiful case colouring and the locking bars

NOTE: The basic 1886 rifle featured in this installment of TPF is scarcely available nowadays. The trend has been the Chiappa Kodiak which has a synthetic stock, and a stainless steel constructions, with a shorter barrel.

 

Banning guns – Abuse and idiocy….

For anyone in Canada who is remotely interested in both firearms and politics, the actions of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have not been stellar, and their image of fair, and honourable representatives of Canada’s national law enforcement has been drawn and quartered.

One needs only look at recent firearm seizures during the 2013 High River crisis to know that legal firearms owners were targeted specifically by the RCMP upper echelons. Seizing firearms in the name of public safety, by breaking down the locked doors of homes of the victims of this natural disaster. Tracks of mud from the front door, straight to closets, all under the guise of looking for survivors.  Videos with audio which mentions firearms at the location, no rescue equipment present in the boats going to addresses. Gun owners are targets, and unfortunately it appears that the RCMP has declared open season on us all.

http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/3272438235001

The Rolex of rifles

The Swiss PE90, called the Rolex of rifles

So for those who are not caring about politics in general, well have a timeline and breakdown for you regarding the Two primary re-classifications which impact legal firearms owners across Canada.

  • 13 March 2013 – A Swiss Arms PE90, “Classic Green” was submitted to the RCMP by a firearms dealer under the reasoning that it was manufactured as a converted automatic firearm which is prohibited. Other “Classic green” rifles were sent to show the differences.
  • 24 May 2013 – RCMP “discover” that some rifles have questionable characteristics
  • 16 July 2013 – A 38 page report originating from Swiss Arms itself regarding the design lineage and characteristics of the firearms are submitted to the RCMP
  • 26 February 2014 – RCMP reclassify ALL PE/90′s as a variant of the prohibited (SIG 550). Firearms which have been sold in Canada for nearly 13 years, with an average price of roughly $4000, and were all non-restricted. Total affected numbers? 1,800-2,000 firearms. Did we mention NO compensation was offered to owners of this firearm.
  • 27 February 2014 -The Firearms Reference Table (FRT) has all PE-90 classifications shifted to Prohibited status. Firearms owners across Canada complain loudly. Emotional outrage is fanned and given no direction.
  • 28 February 2014 – (first thing in the morning) Minister of Public Safety, Mr. Steven Blaney,  released this statement

    “I am upset by this unacceptable decision regarding Swiss Arms rifles. This decision was made by bureaucrats, not elected officials. I have therefore ordered an urgent review of this unfortunate situation. All options are on the table to ensure that no firearms owner who acted in good faith suffers any consequence as a result of this situation. All options are being explored on an urgent basis. We will continue to take steps to make our country one of the safest places in the world, without penalizing honest citizens.”

  • 28 February 2014 – (afternoon) The RCMP reclassify another firearm, the CZ-858, imported after 2006 as converted automatic, aka another rifle switched to prohibited class. Because these rifles were much cheaper to purchase and ammunition was also plentiful and relatively inexpensive, the decision effect roughly 10,000-12,000 rifles currently in the hands of Canadian firearms owners.
  • 03 March 2014 – Mr. Steven Blaney, initiates a 5 year amnesty from prosecution for owners of firearms that were reclassified. That is a good beginning, except that NO prohibited rifles owned by an individual has been allowed to be taken to a range to be actually used since mid-2005 (That is another story…).

So what we currently have is the following situation.

  1. Somewhere around 10,000-13,000 individuals who are instant criminals due to the RCMP’s inept classification abilities. They, the RCMP,  either are wrong now, or were inept a decade ago, both of which are unacceptable.
  2. An amnesty is a general pardon for offenses, especially political offenses, against a government, often granted before any trial or conviction. All these individuals effected by these re-classifications had followed all the required laws and regulations regarding firearms ownership and purchased these firearms legally! Literally they were legal firearms owners at 11:59 pm, and at 12:00 am (midnight) there were criminals. The amnesty prevents being charged with possession of illegal property for 5 years.
  3. These guns are now no longer usable for the most part. They can no longer be taken to the range or to hunt with as they were on February 25th 2014. They cannot be transferred legally. They are safe queens.

This is wholly unacceptable. Now some of TPF’s readers may be wondering what they can do. It is very simple and can be done in many ways.

  1. Do NOT Email. Email is worth the paper it is printed on, meaning nothing. It is like arguing on the internet, it may feel good, but does absolutely nothing.
  2. Call/meet with your local MP regardless of political affiliation (If you do not know who that is, click HERE)
  3. Write a letter/fax to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney and your MP. Thank them for showing some initiative at protecting responsible Canadian firearms owners regarding the reclassification and the abuse at the hands of the RCMP. The amnesty is a good first step, but more must be done to correct these attacks against those whose only crime is following all the rules set forth by the Firearms Act. Tell them that compensation is NOT an acceptable solution.
  4. Join the CSSA or another pro-firearm organization and bolster their numbers to work for change.

What to say or ask for is simple? Always use a multiple-step approach. Address the issue, praise the efforts, note that more must be done. Do not threaten. When you threaten something you force people to react defensively. Now people may say they need to force politicians to react defensively, but the secret is continuous pressure which guides the opinion/attitude of politicians. Demanding government action or issuing ultimatums without being civil has two major flaws. It usually comes over as being equivalent to a child having a temper tantrum, and secondly, if you don’t have the ability to significantly follow through with your ultimatum, it is worthless.

Now the authors of TPF do look at Facebook pages and web-forums and sees that many firearms owners are irate at the situation and are demanding the repeal of C-17/C-68. They proudly display “No Compromise” and state that anyone who is not suggesting the same level of commitment is compromising or acting like a sheep. This author has a question to those who continually spout “No Compromise” in this endeavour. We know that the collective efforts of firearms enthusiasts are impacting the current government to do something beneficial for firearms owners. So lets say they actually change only some portions of the act.

We’ll use Rob Anders’ petition as a basis and say they remove classifications & mag capacities, decriminalize (removing S91 & S92 from the CC), eliminate CFO’s (S 58.1), and remove safe storage and transport sections as well. However licensing will still exist….

It that a win? According to the basic statement of “No Compromise”, it is not. So will those people who spout “No Compromise” right now, later  say it was due to their efforts that changes were completed, despite not repealing the entirety of C-17/C-68? Time will tell.

Until we find out the outcome, which could be weeks or even months down the road; Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical urges you to continue to write/call/meet your MP’s and do so on an ongoing basis (reasonable, not daily) and continue to press for change which benefits the firearms owners of Canada.

The ultimate knife? TPF lets you know who thinks so!

Edward Michael Grylls.

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The Ultimate Knife

Many of our readers may not recognize that name, but if TPF were to mention “Bear” Grylls, you may recall that he is the United Kingdom’s version of Les Stroud, and a worldwide adventurer! In truth, if you are a long time reader of TPF, you would have known about this person from previously reviewed products. In this installment of TPF, yet another Gerber/Grylls collaboration was done on what is titled the “Ultimate Knife”. As always however, we here at TPF will give you the facts and details and leave the decisions to you, the readers.

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Thes are the components of what the Ultimate Knife contains:
Knife, Sheath, Fire-starter, Survival guide

The Ultimate Knife is supposedly the only knife you would need in a survival/adventuring excursion. The knife and sheath come with a myriad of features and requirements that would provide many basic necessities for outdoor use. Gerber Legendary Blades has a whole realm of Grylls’ survival equipment available, but of course there is never enough space to describe everything.

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A signal whistle is attached to the knife’s “Hammer” via a lanyard

Contained within the 254mm (10.0″) overall length of the knife is a 122mm (4.8″) drop point blade. This half serrated, hollow ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17Mov Stainless Steel which allows for good edge retention and extreme ease of cutting rope when required. The blade’s serrations start from the choil of the blade and run approximately 47.5mm (1.875″) in length and with a spine thickness of 4.8mm (0.19″) this knife is fairly robust and meaty by massing 318 grams (11.2 oz).
The handle is manufactured from an orange coloured polymer and is embedded with TacHide™ rubber to ensure a secure and comfortable grip on the knife when in use. Add to that a hammer/pommel measuring 32.4mm x 21.5mm (1.28″ x 0.85″) to the hilt of the knife and it becomes easier to see why Gerber and Bear claim this is the ultimate outdoor knife.

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The TacHide grip is very comfortable

There are actually even more features of the knife which are included for additional survival requirements. On the back edge of the knife spine, is a 19mm (0.75″) section which is machined down as a striker for the fire-starter, to be mentioned later in this review. As well are three through holes measuring 4.9mm (0.195″) in diameter, two of which are at the front edge of the guard and one in the pommel. These three holes are present for if and when the user wishes to mount the knife on a shaft for a spear.  An emergency whistle is integrated into a lanyard cord which is threaded through the pommel’s hole, but it is the sheath and all it’s features which add to the collective exuberance of features in the whole package.

USF-08

Attached to the polymer sheath is a diamond grit sharpener

The sheath and secured knife mass a total of 418 grams (14.7 oz) and measure 278mm (10.9″) overall in length when worn. The knife retaining portion of the sheath is manufactured from a injection molded polymer which houses the fire-starter. This fire-starter is a Ferrocerium rod which is embedded into a small plastic handle that snaps into a specific area on the polymer sheath. By striking.scraping the fire-starter against the “striker” located on the knife’s spine, the user can generate high temperature sparks and ultimately fire which is always a great benefit to those who adventure outdoors. The remainder of the sheath is manufactured from ballistic black nylon and contains additional items of interest. The nylon sheath has two (2) Velcro straps on it. The first one is to secure the knife’s handle more fully when fully sheathed, and the second strap holds the plastic knife sheath portion against the nylon sheath backing. The first question to pop into your mind may be why bother? Mounted to the backside of the plastic sheath is a diamond grit sharpening insert of sufficient size to resharpen the knife’s plain edge.

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With vertical and horizontal belt mounting, the small slide-in pocket on the back also has signal instructions.

With survival in mind, the mildew resistant sheath has two more features to help the adventuring outdoorsman. The first is a sewn in pocket which depicts various land to air rescue instructions and signals. This pocket also contains a tightly folded, water resistant, basic survival guide which contains Bear Grylls’ survival essentials. The sheath can be worn two orientations, the tradition hanging belt loop orientation, plus the sheath has two additional loops which allow for a horizontal wearing. For the second method, it is likely that the handle Velcro strap would not be used for additional securing of the blade.

The “Ultimate Knife” as reviewed, was released in late 2010 by Gerber Legendary Blades under product number #31-000751, and is still available to this day at an MSRP of $62.00USD. It can be found all across Canada both online and at real storefront locations such as Wholesale Sports, located in Winnipeg, Manitoba. So depending on your requirements, how would you class this “Ultimate Knife”? Tactical? Practical? Or fantastical?

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Everything stowed away and ready for the next outdoor adventure!

Additional Notes: there are newer options  for the Ultimate Knife such as a pure fine edged blade instead of the partially serrated one, as well as a Pro version which uses a higher quality and denser steel for it’s plain edge.

SHOT Show 2014 – The first official CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering

Las Vegas

Canadians enjoyed good weather at the 2014 SHOT Show

Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada. Home of the 2014 Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor Trade Show; a.k.a. 2014 SHOT Show. This years show was held once again at the Sands Convention Center from January 14th to the 17th and would once again draw people from all over the world.
TPF Online arrived Saturday to an absolutely brisk 20°C with nary a cloud in the skies. This type of weather would continue for the entire duration of TPF-Online’s presence in Sin City.

Fast forward to Monday morning at Media Day, where TPF Online was on site and shooting suppressed .308 AR platforms by 8:05 in the morning, Kriss Super-V fully automatic suppressed SMG’s around lunchtime and followed in the afternoon by shooting trap with KSG’s and Beretta tactical shotguns… TPF also got to play once again with the IWI Tavor akin to the one being raffled off by Gun Owners of Canada; sign up and you can win!

After the extreme joy of Media Day, the next four days are purely SHOT Show and many kilometres of aisles. Over 1600 exhibitors were present and displaying their wares and sales staff across 5.3 hectares (13 acres) of floor space and divided by 20.1 Km (12.5 miles) of aisles. As a tidbit of information, note that the SHOT Show is the 16th largest trade show in North America, and attracts exhibitors and attendees from every US state and over 100 countries. Canada’s hunting, shooting, and outdoor trade industry is valued at roughly one billion dollars annually, and at the SHOT Show the value of the products on the show floor is equal to that. Most people do not realize that Canada is a huge marketplace for firearms, especially for manufacturers from the USA. For every 1,000 guns that are manufactured in the USA, approximately 96% are for domestic usage; sold via retail in the USA. That leaves roughly 40 guns that are exported per 1,000 produced, and Canada imports 35-37 of those. So in 2010 there were 5.5 million firearms manufactured in the USA, which roughly translates into roughly 150,000 US manufactured firearms imported into Canada annually. When you add in all the remaining imports of firearms from other countries, plus the few remaining Canadian manufacturers, it becomes apparent that the Canadian firearms industry is alive and well.

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Borrowed from http://www.shotshowblog.com, this is a panoramic view of the chaos of SHOT Show.

Gunny

R. Lee Ermey, aka “Gunny” is almost a staple of these shows.

The Canadian Shooting Sports Association decided to host an event during the SHOT Show as most of the industry would be in Las Vegas that week to renew contracts and create new ones regarding firearms, ammunition, accessories and all things similarly related. TPF was present and from discussions with attendees and CSSA representatives, the event was beyond expectations. Hosted at the Flamingo Hotel in Las Vegas, the event was originally to be held in the Reno Room, but was shifted at the last moment to the Laughlin Room. There were representatives that reached across the gambit of the Canadian firearms industry. Manufacturers, Distributors, Retailers, and Media were present for the event which had 150 or more attendees at its peak. Both Gun Owners Of Canada and CanadianGunNutz, the two largest Canadian firearms web forums were there as was Calibre Magazine, the only firearm magazine published in Canada. Other media celebrities were there as well such as Scott Funk of YouTube famous Funker Tactical, and Brian Lovig of the Daily Split, among others. There was some nicely present food trays of meats, vegetables and fruits, and the CSSA was fairly liberal in giving out drink tickets that evening. Unfortunately a couple of people left a bit early, but most attendees were present for the 9pm prize draws. Given away at the draws were several shirts, a bottle of Champaign, a heavy-duty backpack, and the grand prize, a Bug-A-Salt. This event had come a long way from the informal resort/hotel room get together with a score of individuals. So many thanks should be given to the CSSA for their initiative in hosting such an event, to the sponsors for making the event possible, and for all the attendees who made this first Canadian Industry SHOT Show reception as smashing success.

The Sponsors of the event were the following:

Obviously many thanks should be given to the sponsors of the event so please feel free to click the links, buy their products or products offered by them and help our industry become even better. To those in the industry, TPF recommends you join the CSAAA if you have not already. Why? As the CSSA is roughly the Canadian equivalent to the American NRA, the CSAAA is the Canadian equivalent to the NSSF in America.

Survivorman

Canada’s Les Stroud draws a crowd at his sponsor’s Booth

Enough about the single greatest Canadian event at SHOT, let s get back to the SHOT Show itself! If you happened to be around and observant enough at the right times and locations, attendees of the 2014 SHOT Show could have seen all sorts of celebrities either at an exhibitor’s booth, or wandering around the show itself. As always nearly every top competitive shooter in the USA is there, nearly every hunting/outdoor channel personality, plus all sorts of celebrities including the following:

  • Acting: R. Lee Ermey, Steven Segal, Les Stroud, Joe Montegna
  • Racing: Bobby Labonte
  • Military: Kyle Lamb, Robert Brown, Chris Costa, Larry Vickers
  • Online: Colion Noir, FPS Russia, Hickok45, GunBlast, Funker Tactical
  • Other: Jeff Foxworthy, Ted Nugent, Craig Morgan, Governor Rick Perry

The lists of people of greater than average fame, whom are present at SHOT Show are in the several scores of numbers. The number of attendees increased by 5,000 above last year’s total, to an excess of 67,000 attendees. As always there are literally hundreds and hundreds of new product launches at the show as well as celebrity endorsements for them. Whether the items are existing, revised, revamped, resurrected or truly new, the SHOT Show is where dealers will see it for their respective customers. TPF Online is lucky in that this was the eighth (8th) SHOW Show that was attended, and not a year goes by that something new is not learned or brought back to Canada. Hopefully you will be able to attend a SHOT Show in the future if you have not already.

SHOT Show 2015 is once again held in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Sands Convention Centre once again from January 20th-23rd, 2015. We at TPF are looking forwards to it and the next CSSA Canadian Industry Gathering.

JoeG_at_Troy

The latest products, the newest gadgets and the most effective equipment, like that shown by Joe at Troy Industries

How to improve on success? Add powder and pour – Hornady L-N-L AutoCharge

The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of Hornady’s Lock-N-Load Auto Charge. Hornady and The Korth Group were kind enough to provide TPF-Online with this product for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his viewpoint and writing style for this dispenser. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:

When it comes to reloading there is only a single step that is as big and as important as getting the powder charge right.There are many ways to do this, but few that roll it all into one easy step. Hornady recognized there was a need for a more economical solution to weighing and dispensing powder, and introduced their own version of an automated powder dispenser a few years ago. I finally received the opportunity to sit down with one recently, and, the results were both interesting and impressive.

AutoCharge-01

Everything that you see in the image comes with the Hornady Auto-Charge

Out of the box the Auto Charge includes the integrated scale/dispenser, powder silo, universal power adapter, two check weights (10 & 50 grams), flash pan, and a long thin brush for dusting out powder. Included with the manual is a comprehensive quick-start guide that allows for getting the Auto Charge up and running in a matter of minutes. If you do choose to jump right in with the quick-start guide, be sure to read both sides completely, as, the instructions for calibrating the scale are quite specific, and need to be followed in order to get under way quickly.

AutoCharge-Masses

A pair of calibration masses

The Auto Charge has a powder silo large enough to hold 1lb of powder. The guide recommends at a minimum that the silo be filled to the top of the base of the unit, in order to ensure there is enough powder in the hopper to dispense accurately. I had a small amount of Varget that just managed to fill the hopper to the top of the base as indicated, and after following the calibration instructions, quickly began to dispense 42.0 grain powder charges.

Dispensing powder was as easy as entering the charge weight into the keypad, and pressing “enter” in order to set the machine to the desired charge. All that was necessary then was to press “dispense”, and the machine took care of the rest. The Hornady Auto Charge is essentially a digital scale combined with a powder trickler. The powder tube is internally threaded, and angled downwards slightly, so that as it turns, powder is scooped up and moved along the length of the tube, subsequently falling into the flash pan below. As the dispensed powder reaches the desired charge weight, the Auto Charge slows down and enters into “trickle mode”, where it pulses a fraction of a rotation at a time in order to drop the desired charge weight one or two kernels at a time.

AutoCharge-03

A pure touch screen control panel with an LCD display to control the dispensing rates, and user-entered or programmed dispensing masses

There are three different speed settings for dispensing powder, slow, normal, and fast. Depending on the type and quantity of powder being dispensed, there is an ideal setting. I found that the bulkier powders were able to be dispensed on the fastest setting, whereas your finer, ball type powders tended to prefer the normal. Really fine powders, such as those used for shotgun or handgun really didn’t dispense well, or, required the machine to be set on the slowest setting, which meant a significant increase in time between charges. This really has to do with how the machine operates. During dispensing, there are in fact two speeds. An initial, high volume rate of dispensing, which varies based on the selected speed, and then a final trickling speed, which is more of a pulse. Depending on which speed you choose, the trickling mode will kick in sooner or later, so as to allow for as much powder as possible to be dropped into the pan before the final trickle to the desired charge weight.

For testing purposes, I used both Varget, and Ramshot TAC. The Varget was able to be dispensed at the fastest rate, as, it is a bulkier extruded powder. It had a tendency to remain in the trickling tube and only drop one or two kernels at a time during the trickling mode, allowing for a very fast dispensing time, with minimal overcharge errors. The Ramshot TAC on the other hand is a much finer, ball type powder. It was far more likely to cascade out of the tube, resulting in the machine having to be run on the normal speed setting. I found on average that the dispensing time for 43 grains of both Varget and TAC to be 20-30 seconds. As I mentioned, the Auto Charge will result in an overcharge error if it’s run on too fast of a setting. I found that Varget only returned an overcharge error 1 in 10 times on the fastest setting, which meant having to re-dispense the charge. TAC resulted in an overcharge error almost every time on the fast setting, but had no issues when set to the normal speed setting.

Once you’ve settled on a desired charge weight, and dispensing speed, you have the option of running the Auto Charge in either a manual, or automatic mode. Manual simply means that you have to press dispense each time, whereas, on the automatic mode, all you need to do is press dispense, and start dumping powder charges into your waiting cases. Each time you place the empty flash pan onto the scale, the Auto Charge will dispense the next charge as soon as the weight reaches zero. I found that with the machine set to its fastest setting, in combination with Varget, I was able to keep up an almost constant pace of charging cases, with only a short wait between dumping powder into the case and waiting for the next charge to be dispensed.

AutoCharge-04

A very effective powder drain cap system

I was pleasantly surprised by how well the Auto Charge worked. It’s a nice clean, simple unit, and was very easy to operate. I found that its ideal use is for load development, where you might have a number of different charge weights that you want to try. It is equally suited to regular reloading duties as well, however, a standard powder measure is still faster, and capable of dispensing most powders within the same accuracy range. What’s nice about the Auto Charge however is that you know every single time just how much your charge weights, and that there’s no potential for a mix-up, or double charge. Additionally, the Auto Charge can dispense close to a pound of powder, and not need topping up in order to maintain its accuracy. Having a scale built right in ensures you get the exact same, consistent charge weight.

Submitted by: Andrew Craig, Host of Canadian Reload Radio

Hornady is a very much renowned reloading manufacturer based out of Grand Island, Nebraska, and Korth Group are a Canadian importer and distributor of many manufacturers and brands such as Hornady. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Hornady Lock-N-Load Auto Charge powder dispenser. The product as reviewed has an MSRP of $317.21 USD. This and other Hornady products can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Grouse River (which has both!). TPF’s standard clause still applies to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.

The solution to the second most tedious thing about progressive reloading… YES!

The second most tedious thing?” That was surely the question of most readers when looking at the title of this installment of TPF-Online. Yes, the author did mean to say the second most. The number one most tedious job from the majority of reloaders is trimming brass to length and there are a multitude of methods to do exactly that. However this instalment is about the second most tedious thing for reloaders who utilize progressive presses from Dillon, Hornady, RCBS, etc… So what is the second most tedious thing in progressive reloading? Filling the priming system of the press.

There are currently three common methods used in primer feed devices. Tube, Strip, and Box fed priming systems. Lee progressive presses, like the Loadmaster, utilize the box feed systems for their progressive press designs and it is by far the fastest for reloading primers. RCBS progressives now routinely use a preloaded primer feeding strip system since it’s introduction over a decade ago. But for the rest, a primer fill tube is used for the reloading process to be have one hundred primers ready for reloading. This has, for many, been done via the old fashion method of using a primer flip tray and a primer collecting tube and manually forcing each individual primer into the fill tube. It can take several minutes for an experienced user to pick up a hundred primers, and so many people pre-load several of these fill tubes prior to reloading, which is hard on the hands.

Palvik-Italy!

Don’t let the originating country fool you. Italy has made some tremendous discoveries and engineering masterpieces.

Luckily however, the author occasionally peruses the internet for firearms related products and businesses at random, and it was not too long ago that TPF came across a Canadian IPSC shooter, Mr. Nik Papadhopulli, who decided to open up a small business to supply Canadian shooters with various items to help with reloading and equipment to help competitors with the shooting sports. One of these products offered is an accessory to help speed up primer tube filling. Now TPF knows about Dillon’s RF-100 primer filling station, which is a hands free filler. You put a box of one hundred primers in the top of the unit and press a button and couple minutes later you have a full tube. This option is quite costly with a price tag of nearly $400 including the option to be able to fill both large and small primer tubes. However, at roughly half the price of the RF-100, Red Tip Bullet offers an alternative to Canadians. The Pal-Filler, designed and manufactured in Italy by Palvik, is a hand held, battery operated, primer tube filler.

The kit!

Missing only the box and the simple instruction sheet, all of this comes with the Pal-Filler kit

The Tray

Precision machined flipping grooves and fill-tube area on both sides of the tray allow for small and large primers

Smaller, cheaper, and faster, this product already includes the ability to load both small and large primers. Now the Pal-Filler is not some complex, ergonomic and aesthetically beautiful product. It is in fact relatively plain and basic is shape and operation. Included is a double-usage primer tray, where one side is for small primers and the opposite side is for large primers. This tray is attached to the handle/grip and a primer tube is inserted in the appropriate opening. Operation of the Pal-Filler is a simple affair and assumes that the proper primer tube is already pre-inserted into the Pal Filler tool.

  1. A box of primers is dumped into the flipping tray, and shaken until all primers are anvil side up.
  2. Once primers are all oriented properly, the user inserts the retaining lid.
  3. With the unit tipped slightly towards the tube filling hole, the user flips the switch.
  4. The vibration caused by a rotating offset mass vibrates the Pal-Filler and the primers all fall in sequence into the open tube top.
  5. Did TPF mention it was fast? From the primer box to a tube filled with one hundred (100) primers in roughly thirty (30) seconds.
Size matters not!

The Pal-Filler is literally a pistol grip with a primer tray attached to it. It is small, easy to handle and use and it is FAST!

The concept for the Pal-Filler is very simple. Use proven, existing technology in a compact package. The small electric motor is wired in series with the simple on/off switch and the battery holder. The motor mounts an offset mass that creates the high frequency vibrations in the unit itself. It indeed is simple and one may think that should not equate into a high cost. Normally TPF would agree, except the Pal-Filler is completely manufactured on CNC machines. The aluminum grip halves are both machined from a billet of aluminum, inside and out. The tray is CNC machined from a block of high density plastic. The motor retaining bracket is machined aluminum as well. Even the battery holder is given a CNC machined base to be mounted on. The design features for ruggedness and longevity are apparent when looking at the Pal-Filler.

Impressive materials

Other than the typical battery holder, everything about the Pal-Filler is CNC machined and assembled with screws. No cheap plastic clips and glue here!

Made from quality materials, with quality craftsmanship, this is a fine tool for the reloader who does not want to load primers into tubes manually and is especially suited to volume usage as done by many progressive reloaders. The Pal Filler as reviewed has an MSRP of $189.00 CDN and is available from Red Tip Bullets (www.redtipbullet.com). The question posed to our readers is if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.

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