You are trapped in your home and you are not alone. You can hear the intruder moving around as though they own the place. This time however you will be defending your self and taking the life from the defiler of your castle. You load up with the salt because you have heard it hurts more. You rack the slide and roughly aim down the sights. Holding your breath, you await the perfect moment to squeeze the trigger. Seconds later you are standing over the carcass of the intruder, grinning from ear to ear, knowing that there is one less piece of vermin to harass other innocents. Hearing more from others in the other room, you rack the slide again and become the hunter in your home, With the yellow and black gun in hand, you go forth to give the scum of the universe a lesson in Castle Law. Now before all of you readers start to A) Scream YES to self-defence, or B) Chastise the author for such fear mongering; please note that there are perhaps millions of these god-forsaken pests that deserve to be eradicated and that could just be those in your own backyard.
You read that correctly, TPF-Online has gotten to review one of the most sought after guns in the last couple years. You may have seen the videos online and you might have dreamed about owning one to complete your arsenal of weapons for removing unwanted guests from your home; but this gun is all about filling the target full of holes. Holes made by salt. Huh?!? That is correct, TPF-Online is pleased to be able to bring our readers a review on the Bug-A-Salt.
Conceived in 2010 by the mind of artist (and surfer) Lorenzo Maggiore, the Bug-A-Salt took several years of conceptual work and testing until it was locked into it’s current design form. It was in late 2012 that Bug-A-Salt became reality, starting with a pre-sale effort on Indiegogo, a crowd-funding website, Mr. Maggiore created a conceptual video and created a goal of a $15,000 to be able to ship the first container of Bug-A-Salt guns from China to California. The response was staggering. Sixty six (66) days after launch, with a viral video, his fund-raising efforts caught the wallets of over ten thousand people across seventy countries, and raised in excess of a half million dollars when the fundraiser closed on September 11th, 2012.
Now it is the author’s belief that nearly everyone has at some point become seriously annoyed with house flies or other insects and bugs in their home. The Bug-A-Salt is a modern version of the fly-swatter. It does cost more and is far heavier, but it very rarely misses the target if used properly, unlike the swinging hands/papers/books/etc… The fact that it is in effect a miniaturized, air powered shotgun, is just an added bonus. Moulded in black and yellow plastic with numerous fly images embossed in the surface, the Bug-A-Salt measures approximately 550mm (21.6″) in length and masses 635.0 grams (22.40 oz) unloaded.
Loading the Bug-A-Salt is very simple. Open the flip-up cap, allowing the “Ammo Hopper” to be accessed. Fill the hopper with ordinary table salt. Close the hopper’s lid. Done! The Bug-A-Salt is now ready for assaulting the forces of the evil empire of insects. Racking the charging handle like a pump action shotgun actually performs multiple internal actions. Not only does it set-up the spring-powered air-piston for the blast of salt, it engages the manual trigger safety and extends the rear sights. The visibility of the orange plastic rear sights is the indicator that the Bug-A-Salt is charged and ready to shoot. With a theoretical bug-lethal range of just under 0.9m (3 ft), the wielder of this weapon does not even need to come near the offensive multi-legged pests as previously required by fly-swatters and flip-flops.
Actual mechanics of the Bug-A-Salt are quite interesting. Upon racking the slide back, a small tower with a cross-drilled hole in it extends inside the salt hopper. This hole is in the same direction as the barrel axis. Gravity causes the salt in the hopper to fill the cavity in this tower. Due to this, it is likely that insufficient salt may be used if held on angles and with lower levels of “ammunition” in the hopper. The racking of the slide backwards is against a spring which powers the pneumatic system, and it also engages the safety level and the rear pop-up sights. In order to fire, the rack must first be pulled back forwards as it is not a spring returned system; then the manual safety must be disengaged. Pull the trigger and the aforementioned tower springs back down in line with the steel barrel tube and the spring loaded piston is released. This causes literally a pinch worth of salt to be expelled from the barrel at sufficient velocities to perforate the targets with at several dozen grains of salt at least.
Fully loaded, the Bug-A-Salt has approximately a 50 shot capacity. If you need to use up the whole hopper on bugs and flies indoors, you may have a more serious problem. TPF-Online asked about the “ammunition” for the Bug-A-Salt and inquired about alternative load-outs. Pepper? Sugar? Flour? The answers a resounding no… Pepper is too thin and gets caught in seams and edges of the internals, sugar is actually too large and has sharp corners which quickly wear down the internals. Flour just gums up everything. So while the Bug-A-Salt is multi-munition capable, the consequences are reduced reliability and a voided warranty. Another helpful tip was to prevent issues with moisture causing issues with function; unloading the Bug-A-Salt between warfare sessions will remove possibilities of clumping salt and failure to feed and fire. Obviously with this product being evaluated during the height of the Winter season, valid targets are scarce for exterminating, but supposedly the corpses of Bug-A-Salt’d flies and insects are pretty much desiccated, meaning dried up therefore an easy cleanup.
FEATURES (As per product description)
- No batteries
- Extremely inexpensive to use
- Excellent for flies on windows
- Excellent for bugs on ceilings and in corners
- Fun—Say goodbye to insect intruders
Of course the whole idea of this product is to eliminate flies and other insects, arachnids, and arthropods. For the reader’s information, arthropods in this context are basically millipedes and centipedes. Being wintertime, TPF was unable to target live specimens to determine actual kinetic effects on actual bugs, and resorted to alternative impact measuring methods. To use a quote from anti-gun Joe Biden; TPF unleashed two “Blasts” from this plastic, salt-loaded, pump-action, miniature shotgun at a sheet of aluminum foil from both 30 cm & 60 cm (11.8″ & 23.6″) distance. At 30cm the salt pattern measured roughly 43mm (1.7″) in diameter, with a few pieces of salt penetrating the aluminum foil target. At the longer range of 60cm away, the salt pattern opened up to roughly 71mm (2.8″) in diameter. While none of the salt particles went through the foil target, there was sufficient cratering to make TPF believe that the odds of an insect’s survival at that distance are non-existent.
Colourful and satisfying to use, the Bug-A-Salt has an MSRP of $34.95 USD. It is available directly from Bug-A-Salt or from Canada’s online source, Fly Shooter, which is the Canadian distributor for the Bug-A-Salt gun. As always, it truly is your opinion if you, the reader, believe this product to be Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.
The authors of Tactical, Practical, and Fantastical have to thank Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame for this review of one of the few Canadian designed rifle scopes available on the market. Scorpion Optics was kind enough to provide TPF-Online with one of their scopes for reviewing and Mr. Craig gladly provided us with his expertise on optics. We hope the readers of TPF-Online enjoy this review:
Scorpion Optics Venom Hi-Grade 6-24 x 50mm Rifle Scope
Scorpion Optics has a complete line of hunting and sporting optics with a full range of magnification options. The model provided for review was a Scorpion Venom Hi-Grade 6-24x50mm long range rifle-scope with a one-piece 30mm tube.
Statistics indicated for this particular optic:
6-24 Power range
50mm Objective lens
Side focus adjustable from 15 yards to infinity
One-piece aluminum tube construction
30mm One-Piece Main Tube
Fully-Multi coated lenses
Trajectory Compensating Reticle
1/8 MOA windage & elevation adjustments
>50 MOA adjustment range
For this review, the rifle-scope was mounted to a Robinson Armament XCR-M, a semi-automatic, non-restricted, rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. This particular rifle has a picatinny rail running the full length of the monolithic upper which allows for a wide range of mounting positions and optic styles and designs. A set of extra high Weaver Tactical rings were required due to the space requirements of the optic’s 50mm objective lens. With these rings there was just enough room for the scope’s objective bell to clear the rail.
Initial sight-in was done at 25 yards, with the point of impact being approximately 4 inches low and to the left. Windage was adjusted by simply looking through the optic and turning the adjustment dial until the cross-hair was inline with the initial shot. The adjustments dials are graduated in 1/8 MOA, which means one click moves the point of impact 1/8″ left or right at 100 yards. This allows for a very fine level of adjustment, which can be of benefit for a very accurate varmint rifle. Adjustment knobs are of the finger click type, and yield both a firm and audible click when being turned. The turrets indicate which direction they must be turned in order to adjust the point of impact, but, are not re-settable to zero once adjusted.
At 100 yards, the optic was dialed up to its maximum power of 24X. Power adjustment was very smooth and quick, made easy by an oversized tab on the adjustment ring. The Venom line of optics from Scorpion have fully multi-coated lens surfaces, which is a key feature in maximizing the amount of light gathered and transmitted to the eye. This, coupled with the 50mm objective lens results in a very bright image, with it darkening only slightly at the highest magnification setting. When fired at 100 yards, elevation only needed to be adjusted a minor amount, and it should be noted that windage remained spot-on from being set at 25 yards, and after making adjustments to the elevation at 100.
This optic includes a side focus dial for parallax correction at different distances. The Scorpion 6-24×50 is capable of being adjusted down to 15 yards. Most optics with this feature have a low-end limit of 50 yards, which usually limits their use to outdoor settings where there is more room to shoot. Having the ability to focus down to 15 yards means that this optic can be used at much shorter distances, such as an indoor range where one might wish to practice at a closer distance. The side focus adjustment is very firm, requiring a fair bit of effort to turn. This level of friction ensures that it wont turn if rubbed up against a shoulder while being carried with a sling. There was a slight bit of backlash noticeable when fine adjustments were being made to the focus, but, this did not take away from the rifle scope’s ability to be focused at any distance desired.
As a standard feature, the Scorpion Venom 6-24×50 includes an etched-glass “TCR” reticle. TCR stands for Trajectory Compensating Reticle, and includes hold-overs for distances out to 500 yards. When zeroed at 100 yards, and employed at 200 yards using just the TCR reticle, I had no difficulty hitting the 8 inch metal swinger shot after shot. When using the TCR for your rifle, be sure to verify where your rifle hits at the different distances, as, this type of reticle is of a one-size-fits-all variety. This is common, and you should find that your specific load will be within an inch or two of the hold overs at each distance.
Some final things to consider with this rifle-scope include a stated mass of 860 grams (30 oz), and an overall length of 400 mm (15 in). This is no small rifle scope, and will be ideally suited towards a long range varmint rifle where a bipod, shooting stick, or other stabilizing method is to be used. The model provided for review came in a smooth matte black finish, but on Scorpion Optic’s website, there are options that indicate it is also available in a silver finish. Eye relief is a short 75-81mm, however I found there to be plenty of room behind the eyepiece when shooting, and had no issues positioning my head for a clear image.
All said and done, the Scorpion 6-24x50mm Venom rifle scope provides the user with everything as promised. Features that stood out when using the optic included a very smooth, fast power adjustment, making it possible to change power on the fly without having to look up from the rifle scope. The TCR reticle makes it very versatile for a number of different ranges, and being capable of focusing down to 15 yards means that this optic can fill a larger variety of roles for the target or varmint shooter.
Scorpion Optics is based out of Manitoba and fields a variety of firearm and bow accessories such as the Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. Again, thanks to Andrew Craig for his submission on the Scorpion Optics Venom HG 6-24 x 50mm rifle scope. For the readers notes, the rifle scope as reviewed has an MSRP of $599.99 CDN which is an impressive price point for a high magnification, large objective lens rifle scope. Scorpion Optics can be found in a variety of brick and mortar shops across Canada as well as online venues such as Outfitter’s Supply Online. As always it is up to our readers to determine if this piece of equipment is Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical for themselves.