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Guns and tanks in the GTA – 2012 Toronto Sportsmen’s Show

How many readers can remember “March Break” as a time when one was glad to be out of the classroom for a week and enjoy what was supposedly the end of winter. It has been a long time for the author since school work and study dominated his daily routine, but “March Break still holds some semblance of freedom and desire, and that is the annual Toronto Sportsmen’s Show. As with each and every year, the city of Toronto becomes a focal point for tens of thousands of individuals who attend a multi-day event which is billed as “Canada’s Biggest Fishing &  Outdoor Show”. The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show, hereafter referred to as TSS, started six and a half decades ago and has growth to encompass hunting, fishing, outdoor adventuring and to the surprise of many Toronto natives… GUNS!

With the show located on numerous levels and across two buildings at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (MTCC) from Wednesday the 14th of March until Sunday the 18th, the show was host to several hundred exhibitors and multitudes of individuals. Please allow a bit of reflection however on the history of the TSS. For sixty two (62) years, the Toronto Sportsmen’s show had existed in one form or another as an annual event located at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds (CNE), but due to the unfathomable machinations of, the previous Toronto Mayor, David Miller; forced the show to relocate to the MTCC in 2010. Why Miller’s anti-gun zealotry deemed it necessary to destroy so many decades of history and pride is beyond comprehension. Now on its third year away from the CNE, the TSS is once again running what is now their 65th anniversary. It was estimated that the City of Toronto lost nearly $14 million of revenue when the show shifted locations, the reason being that all revenue from the MTCC flows to the province of Ontario, not the city. Fast forward to 2012 and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is opening the show which he has attended since he was a child and the hunting hall is growing.

TSS CRR CSSA

Canadian Reload Radio host, Andrew Craig, helps promote the CSSA while showing off a custom silhouette rifle

As always, the Canadian Shooting Sports Association was present at the TSS and with the help of many volunteers was able to once again have a successful show in terms of membership growth and engaging in discussion with probably thousands of individuals throughout the duration of the show. Many thanks to CSSA Regional Director Gus M. who volunteered far more than what was asked of him and to Mr. Andrew Craig of Canadian Reload Radio fame who brought in his custom centre-fire silhouette rifle and a small video which was a great draw and topic of discussion. The CSSA thanks all who helped them with another successful show and as always the main topic of discussion was the demise of the Long Gun Registry (which TPF is proud to state just passed clause by clause reading  in the senate as the author edits this entry).

Over the five (5) days of the TSS, several tens of thousands of attendees were able to experience a full gambit of outdoor pursuits as the show caters to the public and the newest wares and a “One stop shop” for nearly every outdoor need. In fact many attendees left the show in possession of products which were impulsive purchases in the first place. TPF however will concentrate this TSS review in the Hunting Hall aspect of the event. As always the primary focus of the Hunting Hall aspect was for Outdoor adventures such as hunting, hiking, boating, with additional luxury products as well as some interactive displays and pavilions being present.

TSS1

Outdoor gear was just one small portion of the hunting hall areas of the Toronto Sportsmen's Show

TSS2

Custom ATVs and Golf Carts were some of the higher end, luxury products on display as well.

TSS_TacImp

Displaying restricted firearms in the cabinets, Tactical Imports is the fire to have such firearms for sale at the TSS is several years...

This year was a slight departure from the norm, not only were there far more firearms on display for sale by retailers, this year represented the first time in many years which restricted firearms were for sale, let alone on display. Many thanks to Tactical Imports, whom took the first step, with the assistance of Mr. Tony Bernardo and the CSSA, were allowed to bring in some of there more “exotic” firearm products for the public to not only view  order from them. Initially the TSS was refusing to allow Tactical Imports into the venue as it did not fit in with the traditional “Hunting” definition. When pointed out that many of the exhibitors, such as that depicted in the previous luxury product image, had little if anything to do with “Hunting” and that a firearm is a firearm, the TSS removed their objections and Tactical Import set up their display. Showing both non-restricted and restricted firearms in their booth, Tactical Imports has started what may be a growing trend by other exhibitors/retailers at the show. At least that is the hope of TPF-Online and many attendees whom we talked to.

TSA-Airgun

The Toronto Sportsmen's Association has run the air-gun range for many years at the TSS. Encouraging our next generations into the joy and fun which can be had in our shooting sports.

As always some things never seem to change and that is a good thing in the case of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Association (TSA). The TSA crew has been coming to the TSS for many many years, and has always been the ones who have run the air-gun and archery ranges at the show. They are a truly exceptional group of individuals who continuously are to be thanked for exposing the future generations to the shear enjoyment that is available in shooting sport disciplines. Many thanks to Mr. Edwards and his volunteer crew for all his time and efforts over the past several years for continuing to provide exceptional public awareness and hands-on experiences like these for our youth.

The Canadian Military has been present as well in the last few years with an ever increasing display of equipment and public outreach. The author ensured that every one of our men and women in uniform whom was met at the show was thanked for their service and their efforts. TPF-Online will side step here briefly and state for the record that Support The Troops ribbons, pins, and decals are not being pro-war, but pro-survival. One does not have to believe in the circumstances which led to Canadian military involvement, but we should all wish our fellow brothers and sisters in uniform to come home safely and with as due speed. A full gambit of military hardware was present for display for TSS attendees to look at, ask questions about, and receive answers.

RCA-LAV

Just one of several vehicles brought in by the Canadian Army, which were opened up for the public to view and experience

The Toronto Sportsmen’s Show is an annual event and it looks as though it is starting to grow out of the “traditional” mold of what constitutes our hunting aspects of outdoor recreation. That being said, the TSS is a huge endeavour which caters to the outdoors-man in most people in the Toronto region. So if you do not mind paying for parking and what some claim are excessive admission fees, you too can experience “Canada’s Biggest Fishing &  Outdoor Show” every year. As TPF-Online looks forwards to next year’s show once again, we put forward the standard question: Is the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show; Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?


Getting into Action Shooting – Part 1

Video games such as Call Of Duty, Battlefield, and other first person shooters have greatly increased the appeal of firearms to the younger generations. For this TPF cannot apologize, as despite knowing that such video games turn violence into a hyped up and marketable commodity, it has done more to get the next generation of shooters into the sport than almost any other combination of approaches. That in itself shows how much farther all shooters need to reach to not only accept the newest members of our sport and hobby, but how much they need to get off their own derrieres and teach the unknowing masses what they are missing.

Unfortunately it seems that fewer people nowadays are hunting and the reason for that is because for the last couple decades, firearms have become publicly of crime and unlawful activities. Nothing can be further from the truth as 99.9% of firearms owners are caring, safety conscious individuals who, outside of hunting and wilderness survival, would find it very difficult to ever commit any form of violent act against another living creature. TPF authors personally know individuals who are firearms owners and refuse to even consider playing paintball or air-soft games for the simple reason that to play those games one would have to point a “gun” at another person. That being said the author has no issues with paintball, nor air-soft, as both are akin to the firearms community. They build teamwork, camaraderie, and just as actual firearms usage, safety is the number one responsibility of all those involved.

While hunting with firearms appears on the surface to be in decline, the reality is that more and more shooters are gravitating towards handguns, “black rifles” and action shooting sports. Readers should recall that in June 2011, TPF did indeed mention some of the various action shooting disciplines available to people. This time around TPF-Online is proud to have been able to enlist several individuals who compete professionally and have them give a tip or two about what to do if you are interested in this category of extreme sports. Be advised that many of these shooters are based in the United States and have a much more prominent network for action shooting information and contacts.

Getting into Action Shooting – Part 1! – On behalf of TPF-Online and the CSSA!

First up is Canadian shooter Sean Hansen. President of Freedom Ventures Limited, and a multiple IPSC Provincial Champion in Nova Scotia, is a strong supporter of action shooting and enjoys many years of good memories and experiences regarding his efforts in action shooting and has many more years to create more.

Next up is Blake Miguez, whom at just over 20 years old holds the title of 2011 ISPC World Champion and is proof that shooting for fun can lead into more opportunities.

The lovely and talented Julie Goloski Golob shares a bit of insight on the simple and easiest method of getting into action shooting.

Talking to these individuals is a great pleasure for reasons mentioned previously. Such individuals are thankfully not rare in the action shooting sports, and by that TPF-Online is heartened by the open and welcoming attitudes which many, if not all, of these top competitors have.

TPF hopes you the reader, and viewer in this case, hold your judgement until you see some more future shooting personalities in later installments, but as always; action shooting. Is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?

Just a bit more to whet your appetite as well…

Jerry Miculek – The fastest trigger in the world and arguably the best revolver competitor that ever existed.

Todd Jarrett – A world level competitor with millions upon millions of rounds of of experience and a great ambassador to the shooting sports as well.


SHOT Show 2012

Back in January, an event occurred, which the author has been privileged in attending now for the sixth year in a row. The event consists of a single day of practical hands on experiences for media and then four days of talking to an ungodly number of individuals whom are representative of the entire world for Shooting, Hunting and Outdoor manufacturers, distributors and retailers. Of course this equates to the 2012 SHOT Show which is the largest venue of its kind anywhere in the world.

Colts 1877

This is Colt's masterful foray into reproduction firearms, the 1877 Colt Gatling Gun which was the star of Media in TPF's opinion.

The Monday, January 16th, the temperature outdoors was quite decent and the sky was cloud-free which made Media Day, once again a fine day to go and play with some of the newest firearms and related products which are currently or soon to be available for the commercial markets. Optics, ammunition, handguns, rifles, shotguns, stocks, and a host of other items were available to over 1200 media individuals to experience first hand the products available. Some items truly stood out for the author and the number one item memorable experience was cranking the handle of Colt’s reproduction 1877 Gatling Gun. 20 rounds of 45/70 Government, flew by and seemed effortless as you turned the handle of this beautiful reproduction of history. High quality prototype 308 Winchester chambered bull-pup rifles, custom machined .50 BMG projectiles, the Slide Fire stock, are just a couple of the items that were experienced by the huge crowd of media types.

For the next four days the actual trade show ensued once again at the Sands Convention center. Over 1600 companies were there with in excess of 36,000 people coming to interact with them brought the total attendees to more than 61,000 people over four days. Stunning, especially when you consider that representatives from all 50 states were there as well as representation from more than 100 countries.

TPF will not go into the thousands of products that were displayed and showcased as there are multitudes of other websites and writers whom dwell on the little nuances. There were however an extreme multitude of famous and mentionable people in attendance or in some cases, on display at SHOT Show 2012. As usual the legends and successful masters of shooting disciplines were present, as well as TV sensations both past and present. Lou Ferrigno, was seen repeatedly examining various products as a guest of Barrett Firearms; as well, several participants of the TV Show Top Shot Season 4 were discovering the huge industry on display at SHOT Show 2012. Further highlights of celebrity fanfare was the feature appearances by the crew of Red Jacket Firearms from the TV show, Sons of Guns, and many others.

Les Stroud

Famous Canadian survivalist, Les Stroud (Survivorman) was in attendance and yes there was a lineup to met him.

A short, incomplete listing of well known people who attended Shot Show:

  • R. Lee Ermey
  • Les Stroud
  • Bear Grylls
  • Ted Nugent
  • Troy & Jacob Landry
  • Larry Vickers
  • The SeAL team/cast from the movie “Acts of Valor”
  • An nearly every known professional shooter, Outdoor TV series hosts, etc…

TPF isn’t going to go into the huge details about what was present and what new products were available for the US market. Suffice to say that the author would be able to write a short novella of several tens of thousands of words showing the various new non-firearm products, let alone new guns. We will however keep you, the reader, abreast of any products which these manufacturers, distributors, and retailers, graciously provide to TPF-Online for review.

Chiappa Rhino

Firearm designs like the Chiappa Rhino are being featured in future reviews by TPF-Online. So Stay tuned!

Much of the excitement and great moments at the SHOT Show is when the author met so many other Canadians on happenstance, Mrs. Page from Packing Pink, Mr. Krete from The Gun Centre, Mr. Hansen from Freedom Ventures, Mr. Muir from Lever Arms, Mr. Ruston from Tactical Products Canada, and a host of others representing Canadian businesses. Many thanks are to be given to these individuals and companies for attending and creating the contracts and arrangements which continue to supply our Canada market with firearms and related products.

If you are ever able to go, TPF-Online recommends that you do so and experience the multi-billion dollar industry which is partially displayed at SHOT Show. And recall that this is just a PARTIAL display as there are many many other businesses and manufacturers who are not in attendance. A great example is FWB, or Feinwerkbau, one of the oldest and most renowned Olympic class firearms makers, wasn’t present yet again in this year’s SHOT Show.

Frank Mellor

Top Shot, Season 4 competitor, Mr. Frank Miller was experiencing the scope of the firearms industry for the first time. This moment Mr. Mellor was admiring Ten-X's .50BMG progressive press.

The Great One

One of the most respected and well known action shooters, Mr. Rob Leatham, aka The Great One, is one of the best ambassadors that the shooting community has ever had.

This years SHOT Show was executed even better than last year and once again, anyone coming should bring a couple pairs of walking shoes to explore and experience the whole event and all booths. However, be forewarned that should you attend, plan your visits to the booths they would have roughly a minute for visiting each booth, and when you consider the sheer scale of the show, much of that time can be walking from booth to booth. There are many displays and extra events which can eat up several minutes of time, such as watching professional shooters show their skills, lining up to get autographs and pictures with celebrities, as well as hands on experience with the multitudes of firearms accessories and outdoor gear.

Displays @ SHOT Show

Veteran shooter Todd Jarrett shows off his skills in a display at the Blackhawk booth. Such displays are common and very well attended by to those wanting to learn and see the skill levels of the masters.

The 2012 Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show is the largest event of it’s type in the world and TPF can guarantee that should you ever attend this event, every single product displayed at the show will be Practical, Tactical, or Fantasical.

Extra:
A small example of how you can spend your time talking to one of the many representatives of companies in attendance. Presenting Angus Hobdell, who has been shooting CZ products since 1986 and a member of Team CZ-USA since 2003. In 2012, he is still a great competitor and 100% behind promoting CZ-USA.

On behalf of TPF-Online and the CSSA, many thanks Mr. Hobdell for your time and efforts.

As an added bonus, over the next few days and weeks, TPF will be releasing small video clips from many of the top action shooters in regards to the shooting sports and tips for improving your abilities. So stay tuned!


Hornady – Measuring successful reloading one shot at a time!

Now many shooters do not dabble into reloading as it is an additional “expense” or “time consuming event”  for people who are entirely satisfied with factory produced ammunition. To those that shoot very infrequently, such as a box of ammunition lasts a year or two, reloading is probably not for you. However, reloading in itself can be a means to save money in ammunition costs, or as a means for producing ammunition that when well matched with a specific firearm will generate outstanding accuracy. Getting into reloading itself requires an expenditure of capital in order to assemble the required components for actually going through the entire reloading process.

If you reload, you will of course have heard of Hornady. A provider of many excellent bullets and reloading equipment such as those used by the entire gambit of shooting disciplines and their respective firearms. From muzzle-loading single shot rifles, to the most prolific black rifles, revolvers to self-loaders; from the simplest to the most technically innovative firearms imaginable; Hornady is one of the most widely known by shooters across North America. TPF has been fortunate to be able to previously review Hornady products and this installation adds another notch to the belt.

BenchScale-01Now reloaders have used balance beam scales with great results in the past and they will continue to do so for the forseeable future. However, the ever-increasing field of technology, specifically compact electronics, has allowed for the development of accurate digital scales. A digital scale allows for a simpler operation and higher measuring rates when compared to that of the delicate and cumbersome balance beam arrangements. However, TPF is not stating that digital scales are superior to the tried and true balance beam, in fact, those at TPF still occasionally check the digital scale readings with old school methods. Speaking about scales, for this write-up, TPF looks at another helpful addition to anyone into reloading; a digital scale by Hornady as part of their ‘Lock ‘N’ Load” series of products. The Bench Scale is the newest digital scale in Hornady’s line and has many features not seen on previous models.

The box contents

Well packaged, it has everything you need to weigh charges

Hornady’s ‘Lock-N-Load’ line is well established with many quality products which are dedicated to the reloading audience. With highly visible boxes and a very secure packaging of the product, the electronic scale is nearly assured of arriving damage free to the consumer’s door. Upon the opening of the Bench Scale  one can see all the various components which come as standard with the L-N-L Bench Scale. The scale itself has the following characteristics.

  • 1500 grain capacity with an accuracy of 0.1 grains
  • Multiple measuring units. Grains, grams, ounces, and carats
  • Large visible back-lit LCD screen
  • 110V/220V power supply
  • Alloy powder pan/pouring tray
  • 10g & 50g calibration masses
  • Wind/Air current deflector cover
Power Supply

With a simple lock-tab, you can convert 110V to 220V and back

TPF will start the overview with the power supply, which utilizes a universal main body with attachable prong/plug arrangements. The two configurations included start with the 110V two-blade version for North America, and the 220V two-prong/post version common in Europe. The simple method of converting from one to the other is a bonus, but it is unknown how much of an added bonus this feature is to a consumer. How often does a reloader ship their gear back and forth between North America and Europe? It is a feature which makes it easy for marketing to multiple regions without any changes to the product/SKU/ordering.

10 & 50g masses

Mirror finish chrome highlights the calibration masses

Observing the metal powder tray, the finish is smooth and will facilitate very clean pouring of powder and a highly visible contrast to observe the volume/amount of powder contained in it.  As typical of most forms of scales, the tray is generous in capacity and easy to pick up loaded or empty due to its large “ears”.

Also included is the clear acrylic wind guard which is used to prevent errant air currents from influencing the accuracy of the load cell, and it fits securely over a raised ring on the scale which prevents it from being inadvertently dislodged. This is important because the load cell only functions in a single direction, up and down; and any sort of side load will affect the accuracy and the cell is so sensitive that breathing on the measuring base can change the load values. Remember that 0.1 grain accuracy is equivalent to 0.0065 grams (0.0002 oz) and the average stamp masses roughly 0.05 grams (0.001 oz). There is an opening in the top of the guard to allow for powder to be dropped into the tray while the guard is in place. This feature is necessary to most highly sensitive scales; but brings up a possible drawback for some reloaders, in that the overall height of the complete unit would require an elevated powder trickler or other higher mounted powder source to fill the tray for measuring.

Waiting for power

The Bench Scale is a small and clean package

The entire unit is very small in overall space claiming with the mirror finish calibration masses being stored in a pair of integrated pockets on the scale. As the Bench Scale utilizes the same load cell as the Hornady Auto-Charge powder dispenser, and the resulting accuracy is supposedly superb, and as such with all digital scales, the unit should be mounted on a flat, level surface to avoid any side loading on the load cell. Unlike the Auto-Charge however, the scale has a very simple control layout. Only four soft touch buttons are located around the large LCD screen; power ON/OFF, calibration, scale zeroing, and measuring units. The LCD screen has a green backlighting to allow for easy reading of the resultant mass being looked at.

With an MSRP of $122.18 USD, this product is available across Canada at various stores which sell Hornady reloading products. One such store is the Gun Centre, located in Kitchener, Ontario. The Lock-N-Load Bench Scale is Hornady’s most recent foray into a standalone digital measuring scales and it is ultimately up to you, the reader to determine if it is tactical, practical, or fantastical.


Multi-Tool Accessories? SOG has some options…

As we have seen in previous reviews, SOG makes a very substantial multi-tool in the form of the Power Lock. They are also one of the few multi-tool manufacturer’s that TPF has seen which offered individual components for their multi-tool. That means that the end-user can truly customize their SOG Multi-tool to whatever is most appropriate for the user’s application. These components are normally classed as replacement parts despite some components have never had an associated product line. One of the biggest surprises to TPF was the availability of the “Robertson Drive” tool arm does not come standard in any catalogue model.

Reviewed Accessory Kit

SOG's addition to make your multi-tool even more versatile

Unfortunately, as those items are individually ordered as parts only, TPF decided to do a quick review on an accessory package which is commercially available from SOG. The Hex Bit Accessory Kit (HBA Kit) is a selection of 1/4″ hex screwdriver bits and a driving socket (1/4″ Square) all contained is a single plastic moulding for ease of storage and access. Designed specifically for use with SOG Multi-tools which have the 1/4″ driver included in their repertoire of tool arms, the HBA Kit’s driver socket snaps securely onto the multi-tool driver and contains a magnet to ensure positive retention of any inserted bits.

AccessKit-02

A 1/4" Driver socket and 12 various bits in the plastic holder/lever

AccessKit-03

Designed for use with SOG's 1/4" driver, or was it the other way around?

There are a total of twelve (12) driver bits included in the kit and that encompasses four of the more common styles of driver, or at least common to our neighbours to the south. There are three Philips bits (#1, #2, & #3), four Torx bits (T20, T10, T8, & T6), two hex bits (2mm & 1.5mm), and the ever common trio of standard flat driver bits (1/8″, 3/16″, &  9/32″). All component bits are the typical 25mm (1″)  long bits similar to those found in most screwdriver kits. The HBA Kit, when coupled with a multi-tool such as SOG’s Powerlock, gives a much broader range of available tasks and a more dedicated platform for doing more precise assembly/repair work.

AccessKit-04

The 1/4" hex bit adaptor mounted on the Powerlock 1/4" square driver

The small black plastic bit holder is small and compact and linear in nature. All 12 bits and the adaptor driver are held in place by friction and driver bits are grouped in pairs which makes insertion and withdrawal easy. The high impact plastic also allows for the tool  holder to be utilized as a small light-duty pry bar. Included on the end of the holder, opposite to the adapter end, is a lanyard loop-hole. Yet the HBA Kit is more apt to be carried with the multi-tool itself  in order to assure instant availability should the need arise. The HBA kit is a compact and can be loaded with different bits which the end-user would prefer, such as a #2 Robertson square bit which is prevalent in Canada.

AccessKit-05

The HBX-01 can be carried with ease with SOG's multi-tool in its nylon sheath

SOG’s Hex Accessory Bit Kit, model HBX-01 as reviewed has an MSRP of $20.00 USD and can be acquired from stores such as Camouflage International Military Surplus & Supplies, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, or direct from SOG themselves.

Under which category should the SOG’s Hex Accessory Bit Kit fall under? Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.


Link for purchasing reviewed items.

Sincere apologies for the delays, the individuals behind TPF have had very poor luck with a variety of things lately, including health, holiday time, and being overworked in both professional and volunteer endeavours.

HOWEVER! Now that the CSSA has an official fund raising account for Canadian Gun Nutz, the list has been created for the selling of reviewed products. The official list of products offered can be found in this thread at CGN.

If you have questions please email TPF-Online. Your email will be answered within 24 hours.

Thank you all for your support, especially the companies which have helped TPF-Online become a reality and want to help the Canadian firearms user become familiar with products that are available.

It has been a distinct privilege to be supported by SOG, Gerber, Hornady, CRKT, ATI and so many others.

Many thanks for the CSSA for this opportunity to help other Canadian firearms owners as well as the CSSA itself. Also, many thanks to the folks at Canadian Reload Radio, specifically Andrew Craig and Chris Anderson, for without their influence and example, TPF would have never existed.

A snippet of what is to come:

Products from Chiappa, Hornady, CRKT, SOG, etc…

Thank you all and on behalf of TPF please enjoy the holiday season.

Mike Duynhoven


Need a multi-tool? All it takes is a Flik of the wrist…

Puns and horrible one liner butchery aside, the latest product is another from a well known Brand name and a regular manufacturer to be featured by TPF.

Flik-01

Regarding fabrication and design, the Flik is very well engineered.

Many thanks to Gerber Legendary Blades and Tools for all their support of TPF Online and in turn the CSSA. In today’s review, TPF takes a look at a proven and still produced multi-tool that was first introduced in 2007. Gerber’s Flik was a variation of the Freehand multi-tool released the year prior and used many of the same features and construction techniques, albeit in a slightly smaller package. At a closed length of 112.0mm (4.41″), the Flik is still quite substantial for most individual’s hands. The nearly all metal construction and usage nearly every iota of available space in the tool itself, translates directly into its 250 gram (8.8oz) frame.  The basic handles are identical to each other in basic shape and are constructed from stainless steel, sheet metal whose pattern is laser cut and then formed into a tight, well engineered, package. TPF notes that the while the forming is identical, the handles themselves have visual differences in labelling, which is stamped onto the handle blanks prior to forming.

Flik-02

While not the having a great "tool count", the flik has some rare and innovative features.

Flik-03

Preventing pinching when extended, and locking handles together when closed, the lock is far more complex than that of the CS400

Like nearly every single multi-tool manufactured, the jaws of the Flik are a common combination style of design which include a coarsely toothed oval shaped grasping area preceded by a needle nose on the tip and a side cutter behind it. Previously reviewed by TPF was a similar Gerber Tool, the Compact Sport 400, whose design bears a very similar if superficial design theory. However, the CS400 had one drawback which is alleviated by the Flik’s design. That difference is easily noticed between the Flik and it’s simpler predecessors. The jaws have some addition mechanical locking mechanisms attached to the jaw release buttons. These additional items act as a handle lock; preventing the handles from inadvertently opening when the jaws are retracted. When extended to its full 147.5mm (5.81″) length the Flik’s jaws locking mechanism, ratchets the handles slightly apart, preventing any pinching of the hand when squeezed together.

Flik-04

An advanced sliding lock mechanism doubles as a tool arm lifter for centrally located tools.

Unlike many multi-tools, the Flik has one very important feature that is underscored by the innovative one handed opening system used by Gerber… All of its additional tools are accessible without opening the handles. Not just some of them but all of them. On the outer edges are the larger tools and blades, and the inner tool arms are extended through use of the lock bar sliders, which partially lift them out of their respective storage positions and allow the user to access them via nail nicks. An interesting construction detail noted by the TPF staff, is that the external tool arm lock mechanisms and the corresponding internal tool arms are mounted with a separate formed sheet metal chassis. This chassis is retained by the tool arm pivot bolt assemblies, but is very well engineered and precise in its forming. While the total number of tools is not extravagant as in many nested tool designs, the tool arms in the Flik are separated by thin washers to prevent clumping when extending tools.

Flik-06

Showing the precision forming, the lock chassis and handles are actually very simple in concept.

TPF-Online will list the tools in order from the larger external ones, to the internal parts to give readers a listing of what is available on the Flik multi-tool, beginning with all the tools on one handle and then listing all tools located on the opposite handle.

Blade #1: Mounted on the outside of the handle is a sheep foot shaped blade, featuring a saber ground edge; measuring 69.9mm (2.75″) in length from the handle.  Due to the elongated hole present in the blade’s spine, the knife can be opened one handed with patience and practice. It is as evidenced by the amount of material on the edge side which is not sharpened (also known as the Ricasso) to help when opening one-handed.
Flik-08

Sawblade: On the opposite outside edge of this handle is a 76.2mm (3.00″) saw blade which uses triangular profile, opposed teeth with approximately 17 teeth per inch. The tip of the sawblade is angled upwards (without teeth) for a distance of 6.3mm (0.25″) to prevent binding while sawing. The angled tip lifts over the surface being cut and reduces accidental driving of the leading edge into the material being cut. As with the previous blade, an opening on the sawblade is provided for one handed opening. Please note that the saw teeth run the entire length of the blade.
Flik-09

Flik-12Screwdriver #1: A very small and flattened Philips #1 driver. Located centrally in one of the Flik’s handles, this internal tool arm must be initially lifted using the sliding lock mechanism it is mounted upon (as are all internally mounted tool arms).

Can Opener: A can opener, self explanatory for nearly everyone.

Blade #2: On the opposite handle, the first outer mounted tool is a fully serrated blade which measures the same as the previously mentioned straight blade. However, the tip is blunted and the blade is more rectangular in profile. As with the standard blade, an opening hole is present to allow for one handed opening, as well as the Ricasso.
Flik-10

Scissors: The trademarked Fiskar brand of scissors is incorporated into the outer handles of the Flik and as all Fiskar style scissors, operates flawlessly with a positive opening and closing due to the mounting design of the spring arm. While able to extend the scissors with a single hand, it takes some skill to fully manipulate the scissors into the proper cutting configuration.
Flik-07

Flik-11Screwdriver #2: A 2.5mm (0.1″) flat tip screwdriver blade, mounted internally.

Screwdriver #3: A 5.0mm (0.2″) flat tip screwdriver which has a bottle opener included. Also mounted internally.

Lanyard Loop: The Flik includes a retractable lanyard loop, which is interesting as it is the only part that requires an external tool to extend from the tool itself.

Now TPF-Online has commented on the sheath used on the Compact Sport 400, and the Flik’s is identical in construction intent and features. Able to securely hold the Flik, with jaws either retracted or locked into full extension; the velcro flap and vertical belt loop allow for easy and comfortable wearing. As a multi-tool, the Flik has many of the commonly used features required by many for EDC, and the ease of use of the pliers and easily deployed blades and larger cutting tools are a bonus. The only drawback is the smaller size of the secondary tools, which may limit effectiveness and/or functionality of those respective tools.

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The sheath is designed to carried the Flik collapsed as well as with its jaws fully extended!

Overall, TPF finds the Gerber Flik a solid and well designed multi-tool with enough features and a simplified usage that should be appealing to a wide audience. The Flik model reviewed (#22-41054) has an MSRP of $65.00 USD and can be found at various locations and online stores across Canada such as Outdoor Pursuits Canada, located in Black Diamond, Alberta. The Flik can also be obtained with a black oxide finish as well.

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Also available with a black finish, the Flik is impressive in its design and manufacture.

As per the norm at TPF, it is ultimately up to you, the reader, to decide if the Flik multi-tool from Gerber is Tactical, Practical or Fantastical.


A general workhorse knife? SOG may have it already!

The title easily sums up what the focus of this instalment of TPF will be regarding. It has been called the most most popular item produced by SOG Specialty Knives and Tools. However,  isn’t some fancy multi-tool, which TPF does enjoy reviewing by the way. Nor is it some flashy folding knife with all sorts of carry options, which TPF also likes to see. It just happens to be a simple solidly built fixed knife titled the Field Pup I.

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From the box imagery, 3D modeling was used to design the Field Pup

Now here at TPF, we cannot fathom why SOG chose to label this blade the Field Pup, but when introduced in as a new product in 2002, the Field Pup was hailed as a very good all around knife. It’s larger brother the X-42 Field Knife, won in 2003 for Field and Stream’s Best of the Best for design and overall capabilities for a conventional and utilitarian blade. While the X-42 field knife is no longer produced, the Field Pup mimics most of the features that were so highly appraised on it’s bigger brother.

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Sporting a minimal recurve edge, SOG's Field Pup I is a sleek blade for nearly all outdoor usage

Sporting a 102mm (4.0″) blade whose spine is an impressive 3.3mm (0.13″) thick the Field Pup shows off it’s primary feature quite well. The flat ground blade has a slight drop point profile with the back edge being nearly linear, and featuring a slight recurve cutting edge which adds to the utilitarian design of the knife itself. A recurve blade feature is supposed to lend itself to aid in slicing (draw-cuts), and on larger blades allows for more mass to be closer to the tip of the blade and promote higher chopping ability.

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With large, moulded grip and checkered texturing, the Field Pup is very comfortable to wield

The grip of the Field Pup is manufactured from Kraton, a synthetic substitute for rubber, and is moulded around the full length tang of the blade. With better chemical, wear, and thermal resistance than rubber, the Kraton grips are a natural choice for a field knife that could be exposed to any environment and a large variety of tasks. The thickly moulded grip incorporates a trio of shallow finger grooves and has a very slightly compressible surface which, when added to the checkered pattern on the grip sides, makes this knife extremely comfortable and affords a very secure means of holding the knife. An aggressive thumb ridging on the spine of the knife enhances the ability for imparting force and control through any heavier cutting work that may be done with the blade.

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The thumb serrations may be too aggressive for some

Overall this knife measures 216mm (8.5″) in length and masses 212.6 grams (7.5 oz) which is fairly lightweight as an all round field utility knife. The blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV steel, which TPF has been told is the equivalent of 440A stainless steel, and receives very well regarded heat treatment processes, which enhance both the wear resistance and edge retaining properties of the blade. 

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The current fold-over sheath

Over the many years of production, the only alterations other than the text and logo have been the once included para cord lanyard loop and a selection of sheath designs. The two previous sheath for the Field pup reflected the trends of the times. A riveted, simple leather fold-over belt sheath and a larger nylon sheath with retaining snap loop and an accessory pocket. The current sheath is a fairly simple leather fold-over design which uses 2.4 – 2.8mm (6-7 oz) leather and has the retaining edges stitched. Recall that the older version was riveted, however, unlike the past version, today’s Field Pup sheath comes with a retaining snap loop. A generously sized, albeit thin, belt loop completes the sheath.

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What may be the weakest component of the entire Field Pup package. The belt loop is not a heavy/robust design

A single variation of the Field Pup is available and the only difference the satin finish, as reviewed, is replaced by the blade being coated in a black titanium nitrite finish. Due to the immense popularity of this knife design, SOG also created a slightly larger version which is nearly identical in manufacture. These upscaled 121mm (4.75″) blade versions are called the Field Pup II.

Overall TPF finds the Field Pup I a very solidly constructed knife and understands why it has been such a popular knife for hunters, campers, and outdoors-men in general for all these years. The Field Pup I, model FP3 as reviewed, has an MSRP of $62.25 USD and can be readily found at a variety of stores, such as Warriors and Wonders in Vancouver, B.C.

The one true question that only you, the reader, can answer. Is the Field Pup I fixed blade knife, from SOG Specialty Knives and Tools; Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?

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Since 2002, SOG's Field Pup I has been a staple for outdoorsmen everywhere


The 400 Compact Sport Multi-Plier, Gerber Simplicity

It seems like TPF has a plethora of blades and multi-tools available for creating reviews about, which is surprisingly correct. Gerber Legendary Blades has been a true supporter of TPF’s endeavours and on behalf of the CSSA, they deserve many accolades for their efforts. As stated in the previous posts, the author of TPF is not a “knife guy” but in the last few months of reviewing so many knives and researching about them, that knowledge level is increasing slowly but surely.

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The Compact Sport 400, a utilitarian multi-tool?

While not wholly familiar with all knife aspects, TPF is familiar with tools, and in this case multi-tools. Gerber Gear’s 400 Compact Sport multi-tool is featured in this review. Now the Compact Sport is a slightly smaller, more compact version of the 600 series Basic multi-tool by Gerber. Despite this it still falls into a full-sized category. One of the interesting features of this multi-tool design is the method of which to open the tool with only a single hand. Unlike most multi-tools which have the jaws pivot on studs in the handle ends, the Compact Sport utilizes an interesting design which upon exertion of some centrifugal force, causes the jaws to slide out and lock into position.

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A spring-loaded locking pin is captive via the elongated clip. This retains the jaw assembly in the handles as well as locks the jaws into the extended position.

The 400 Compact Sport as reviewed here is the black oxide coated edition, with a brushed stainless steel being the alternate for visual appearance. With an overall extended length of 144.0mm (5.67″), and a collapsed length of 112.0mm (4.41″) the 400CS, is on the smaller side of “full size” multi-tools compared to others which claim the same title. The stainless steel jaws are machined from a forging and are symmetrical in manufacturing (Each jaw is the identical when machined). The handles themselves are identical and are constructed from a single piece of stamped sheet which is then folded and formed into shape and attached at the pivot point with a large rivet. The jaws themselves are also riveted together and are installed in the guide cutouts on the outer side of the handles. Retained by an elongated spring steel clip a captive, spring-loaded buttons on each handle secure the jaws into extended position. TPF will state that there is some side to side play when the jaws are extended, and that is most likely due to the nature of the dual pivots (jaws and handles) and the requirement to float and create a natural tendency to align the pivots for opening and closing of the jaws.

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With the jaws retracted, the Gerber Compact Sport 400 shows the well-engineered design which equates to a very simple and functional layout

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The Compact Sport 400 with jaws locked into the extended position and opened fully

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A simple slider is the means for unlocking fully extended tool arms

The CS400 has multiple tool arms common for many multi-tools which are contained inside the handles and as usual , however one of the features is that each arm is lockable in the fully extended position via a sliding plate lockup mechanism. Spring loaded to auto lock an extended tool arm, releasing the lock is accomplished by sliding the plastic tab and disengaging the locking plate. One of the other features rarely seen in many multi-tools is the inclusion of spacers/washers between tool arms which prevent clumping when retrieving tools. Clumping occurs when you are pulling on a single tool arm and multiple arms follow in a “clump”. The spacers/washers is usually omitted in multi-tools which are trying to put as many tool arms into the handles as it is an added cost and space requirement compared to adding another arm or two for additional “features”.

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Spring loaded to automatically engage, the locking plate works by engaging a flat section on the tool arms. The rivet is connected to the outer release slider

The CS400 is however a value version of the larger tools available from Gerber Gear, and it is apparent that this is a no-frills tool made for abuse. The forged jaws themselves feature a combination pliers layout with a needle nose profile and an incorporated wire cutter. On the inner side (handles), the jaws have a small crimping area to complete the features specific to the jaws of the CS400.

TPF will now go over the seven (7) tool arms which are contained in the CS400’s handles. Note that ALL the tool arms are opened via a nail nick which in some cases the author found to be difficult to successfully use. Now this may be due to the CS400 reviewed being brand new and hardly worked in, or perhaps the retaining nut/bolt assembly was tightened to ensure that the tool arms could only be opened by dedicated effort.

  1. Partially serrated blade – A Wharncliffe profile which looks crude but has a very aggressive serrations which occupies approximately 2/3 of the blade length
  2. Philips screwdriver
  3. Bottle  opener – Also has a medium-size flat screwdriver tip incorporated into it
  4. Can opener
  5. Small flat screwdriver
  6. Large flat screwdriver
  7. “Fiskar” scissors
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Partially serrated blade, philips screwdriver, bottle opener/flat screwdriver

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Can opener, small and flat screwdrivers, the "Fiskar" scissors

Now as the handle design has all the rounded edges on the outer portions, the CS400 is very comfortable to use and does not dig in or hurt the hand while applying pressure through the jaws. However, like many of this design style of multi-tool, the tool requires opening before one can access any of the tool arms. While not ideal, TPF recognizes that the primary purpose of a multi-tool is not to act as a screwdriver or a pair of scissors, but as a plier tool first and foremost. Here at TPF we want out readers to be informed as well, and the CS400 is on the smaller end of the full size multi-tools and the length of the tool arm screwdrivers is limited,  but appears to be fully functional. The only drawback in TPF’s opinion is that black oxide finish shows any and all scrapes and nicks far more than a standard version would.

The final component for the CS400 package is the carry sheath. Made of nylon with a standard velcro closure, the CS400 sheath does have some interesting features. The sheath that comes with the black oxide version has a Molle compatible mount which doubles as a standard belt loop method for affixing the pouch and tool to your belt/gear. This may be typical for all versions of the CS-400, but unknown at this time. The most interesting feature of the sheath is that the bottom edge of the sheath is reinforced and open. You can see the jaws slightly protrude through the opening when collapsed, yet this opening allows for the tool to be sheathed when the jaws are locked into extended position.

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The CS400 sheath has an interesting feature

The CS400 is roughly 75% the size of it’s larger kin, the 600 Series Multi-tool (A future review perhaps?) and as such is a reasonably sized multi-tool for EDC. The Compact Sport 400 with the black oxide finish has an MSRP of $59.00USD whereas the plain version is slightly less at an MSRP of $51.00USD. This product is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada such as http://www.soldier-gear.ca

As always here at TPF, it is up to you the reader to decide the following:
Gerber Gear’s Compact Sport 400 – Black Oxide version; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


More apologizes, congratulations and more reviews.

Yes we here at TPF know that we have been delinquent at providing timely reviews recently. Before we get to this we have to state the following.

Many thanks to all who have gone out and voted in the provincial elections, even more thanks to those whom have spent the time and effort into volunteering for their chosen candidates. It is a boots on the ground effort that usually succeeds in creating change and it is the support of good people who make the difference between an MP or MPP being there as a job or as a representative of his/her constituents.

Congratulations to Mr. Robert Ghiz, for leading his Liberal party to winning 22 of 27 seats in PEI on October 3rd, 2011. While down 2 seats from previous, the Liberals held onto their majority in Seats. Nearly 76% voter turnout.

Congratulations to Mr. Greg Selinger, for leading his NDP party to winning 37 of 53 seats in Manitoba on October 4th, 2011. An increase of one seat at the Liberal party’s cost for a stronger majority than the previous government. An abysmal 57% voter turnout.

Congratulations to Mr. Dalton McGuinty, for leading his Liberal Party to winning 53 of 107 seats in Ontario on October 6th, 2011. A far cry from the previous Liberal 73 seat majority government. A disgraceful 49.2% voter turnout. Here at TPF we have a love/hate relationship with McGuinty which is not likely to change. Good luck to PC leader Tim Hudak and NDP leader Andrea Horwath at making sure that the Liberals cannot further dig an even bigger financial hole that is called Ontario.

TPF apologizes for not waiting to announce the winners of Manitoba’s election tonight, October 11th, but we are not fortune tellers, despite hindsight being better than 20/20. Please enjoy your democratic right and get out and vote. An old saying rings true in that if you do not vote, you have no right to criticize how the region is being run.

Finally, readers will be pleased to note that TPF’s authors are hopefully finished with all their extracuriccular activities (far less politics and work related absences), to once again provide our readers with reviews of what may be Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical.


Stick to your guns, CSSA fund raiser, Oshawa, ON, 2011

The Latest CSSA fund-raising dinner was held September 17th, in Oshawa, Ontario. These dinners are held a few time a year and are used as a means of generating additional funding from supporters who believe in the efforts of the CSSA. Labelled as a “Stick to your duns” event, these dinners are hosted across the country and can be hosted at various clubs and locations if so requested. This was no exception. Starting slightly behind schedule at bit past 6:00pm, cocktails were served and by 6:45 dinner was being served. It was a grand evening which was supported by scores of individuals who attended from across the region and even further.

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A spacious venue allowed for easy roaming and interaction with other CSSA supporters

Held at the LVIV Hall in Oshawa, the venue was spacious to say the least. With enough floor space to hold nearly 200 people comfortably, the 125 plus attendees were well spaced and there was no crowding at all. Some of the more famous individuals who attended the event were, Oshawa’s own CPC MP Collin Carrie, as well as Ajax-Pickering’s CPC MP, Chris Alexander. Oshawa’s PC MPP Jerry Ouellette was also present in between his re-election activities. However the truest, best friend to firearms owners across Canada was there as the key-note speaker. Mister Garry Breitkreuz, CPC MP for Yorkton-Melville has been representing firearms owners for almost all of his time since being a Member of Parliament since 1993. That is almost two decades that this fine individual has devoted his energies to exposing the lies and deceit surrounding the vaunted universal firearms registry and it’s associated regulations, more commonly known to gun enthusiasts as Bill C-68.

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Garry Breitkreuz, the keynote speaker at the event, has been lauded as the best friend a firearms owner has in parliament.

Having met Mr. Breitkreuz, several times it is apparent to TPF that he is far too modest when discussing his efforts on doing what he calls “only the right thing to do”. His address to the crowd was very informative and the CSSA must thank him for believing that our efforts are not only effective, but instrumental in “doing what is right” on behalf of the entire firearms community of Canada. In addition to Mr. Breitkreuz, there was another guest speaker who plied his comments about the CSSA and it’s actions for firearms owners everywhere. That speaker was the Host of the Daily Split, Mr. Brian Lovig. A very strong supporter of the CSSA, Mr. Lovig used his considerable talents and speaking ability to not only add some humour and sly commentary to the evening, but helped with several live auctions of items donated specifically for this event. Did TPF mention that the Daily Split is being considered for several mainstream outlets including Global. Great news.

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Showing off his auctioneering skills, Brian Lovig is a proud CSSA supporter.

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As MC of the event, Mr. Bernardo has a smile for all attendees

That is not to say that the evening went entirely as planned by organizers. The wild game fare that was initially advertised was not present. TPF ferreted out that the original caterer had backed out only three days prior to the actual event. Thanks must be given to the CSSA organizers for their fast recovery and still able to have excellent food provided for all attendees. The last-minute repast consisted of pulled-pork, chicken, shrimp, as well as much more for the main meal, and was VERY well received and excellently prepared and distributed. Some last-minute scrambling for the raffles for getting them setup, and a small  amount of mis-communications between those running the raffles and the ticket sellers created a small bit of confusion, but it was solved quickly. The Master of ceremonies was none other than the CSSA’s own Mr. Tony Bernardo. With much levity and smiles abounding, the entire evening was very social and had an air of camaraderie between friends.

There was literally several dozen items at the event that were available to be won. Door prizes, raffles, and both silent and live auctions. As well as four (4) firearms up for grabs, items such as numerous knives, multi-tools, firearms accessories, optics loaded several tables beckoning those in attendance to try to bring home at least one thing other than stomach full of good food. TPF was privy to many of those who donated their wares and products to help support this fund-raising effort by the CSSA. Some of those are as follows in no particular order, and TPF apologizes for not remembering ALL on them:

  • Target Sports
  • Triggers & Bows
  • Williams Arms
  • Hornady Manufacturing
  • Gerber Gear
  • Columbia River Knife and Tool
  • Caldwell Shooting Supplies
  • SOG Specialty Knives and Tools
  • Stoeger Canada
  • Trade Ex Canada
  • Cas Hanwei
  • Canada in the Rough
  • Shooting Chrony Inc.
  • Frankford Arsenal
  • Flitz
  • Plus numerous individual donations and others
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The top gun of the evening a SAKO A-7 in .308 Win with Burris optics. The Hornady ultra-sonic cleaner was part of the live auction.

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Stoeger X5 Air Rifle, Schmidt Rubin K31 Carbine, Benelli Supernova Tactical Shotgun

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World class shooter Diana Cabrera was in attendance. Wish her luck at the XVI Pan American Games in October

While in attendance at the dinner, TPF ran into numerous other firearm celebrities. Mr. Chris Anderson of CRR podcast fame was there and while he failed to record the event may have made some inroads to future interviews. Diana Cabrera, a World Cup level shooter and a part of CSSA’s office staff was present as well and tried her luck and came away with some books from the raffles. Several shooting clubs has tables as well as there being several CSSA Regional Directors present. However, the highlight of the evening was when Mr. John Williams of Williams Arms (Port Perry, Ontario) won the Benelli shotgun and promptly donated it back to be re-drawn. That showed extremely good class and TPF salutes his actions.

As far as known by TPF, this was the final Stick to your Guns Dinner for 2011, which is unfortunate as the events are well received and well attended. What was mentioned is that 2012 will bring another 4-6 of these events across the country, one of course being during the CSSA’s AGM. We hope that readers who were unable to attend this fund-raising dinner are able to attend such future events and show their support by convincing others to become members, donating time to bring new people into the shooting sports, and by donating funds to ensure that the CSSA is able to continue fighting for firearms owners across Canada. As a great man, Mr. John Holdstock, once said, “The world is run by those who show up;” and this “Stick to your guns” dinner was just one such example of why the CSSA is considered to be the pre-eminent pro-firearms organization in Canada as both it and it’s membership show up.

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Attentively listening to the keynote speaker.

CSSA’s “Stick to your guns” Dinner has an average ticket price of $60.00 CDN and is everything you need it to be. Tactical, Practical & Fantastical.

On behalf of the Canadian Shooting Sports Association, thank you for your continued support.


Delays and events…

As you may have noticed, there has been a small bit of delay between reviews compared to the previous published frequency. Like many readers and most CSSA representatives, the author for TPF does all of this work on a volunteer basis and earns zero for their efforts and time. Occasionally family, employment and just plain life can keep one occupied for untold amounts of time.

The TPF’s author has been just that, busy with family, work and other volunteer efforts.

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Designed from scratch, easily 40+ hours of time invested...

Key point was Family. It was requested, a.k.a. stressed, upon the author (by the author’s better half) to create and finish a play centre for his children. Built from scratch and with the aid of Kijiji for slides, the above image shows what took up over fort (40) hours of invested time in design, fabrication and construction just for family. That is a good use of time BTW. Add into that the volunteering for campaigning MPP’s in Ontario’s upcoming election, CSSA commitments, plus actual employment and there are never enough hours in the day, nor days in a week to accomplish everything desired. Unfortunately the item that suffered was the reviewing of products.

For those readers in whose election is occurring in October, I urge you to get out and volunteer for your local provincial candidate whose political stripe agrees with your beliefs and moral compass.

Upcoming provincial/territory fixed election dates:

October 3rd, 2011 – Prince Edward Island, North West Territories

October 4th, 2011 – Manitoba

October 6th, 2011 – Ontario

October 11th, 2011 – Newfoundland and Labrador

While there is no way to guarantee that there will not be excessive delays and gaps, TPF will strive to provide regular reviews and updates. Helping the firearms community is the primary reason for this entire endeavour, as without your support, organizations like the CSSA would not be around and TPF cannot fathom what sort of legal quagmire Canada would be in regarding firearms ownership and usage.

Thank you for your time and patience and please continue to support the efforts of those organizations and  individuals whom are on the front lines in the fight for firearms owners in Canada.


Compound Leverage Multi-tool – It has to be an SOG!

Now the author has long carried a multi-tool as part of his EDC for over a decade. The SOG which has been at my side for so long is still there, but today TPF has the opportunity to review the bigger brother to the SOG Power Pliers. If there is a single thing which stands out with the majority of SOG multi-tools, it is the innovative, geared, jaw assemblies of their multi-tools.

The compound leverage system, as marketed by SOG Specialty Knives & Tools, does the following:

With the same hand pressure you will generate twice the wire cutting and gripping power than all other conventional designs.

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Closed the massive SOG PowerLock measures nearly 12cm long

Nearly every model of SOG multi-tool utilizes this technological feature. Now that exact statement cannot be quantifiable by TPF, but the author has used his EDC SOG to perform operations which would have been more difficult if not for the compound leverage system so there is some truth to the claim. The product reviewed in today’s instalment is SOG’s Power Lock Multi-tool; specifically the EOD version with optional V-Cutter. One may ask why the feature is for an EOD version, and for the unknowing, EOD is an acronym for Explosive Ordinance Disposal. In truth, unless the 2.0 version is ordered, the EOD model designations only differ from the standard models by the use of black oxide finishes.

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The hefty PowerLock spans almost 18cm when deployed

The first thing noticeable is the shear size of the Power Lock multi-tool. Massing in at 272 grams (9.6oz), and having a closed length of 117mm (4.6″) the Power Lock is a massive multi-tool and fills the hand completely without even being open for use. Obvious are the geared teeth of the compound leverage system and when opened for usage, the tool measures 178mm (7.0″) In length. SOG notes that there are a total of 22 tools incorporated into their standard , aka non-2.0, versions of the Power Lock and before TPF starts listing all of these excess tools, TPF will concentrate on the tool’s primary feature. The jaws and the associated compound leverage system.

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PowerLock's combination jaws

The jaws of the PowerLock are typical of SOG, a stainless steel forging, which is precision machined for accuracy and quality. These pliers incorporate several jaw features. Primarily a set of needle nose pliers, whose fine teeth have seamless meshing, the jaws are stout and designed to be able to withstand much abuse and applied force. Also included in the jaw set are a set of wire cutters and a large aggressively tooth oval opening. It is this combination jaw and the associated compound leverage system which is the mainstay of this multi-tool. The geared pivots incorporated into the handle design, mesh with the corresponding one on the opposite handle, and it is this special design arrangement which allows for the force multiplier to be used when squeezing the handles together. Now TPF could go into the technical details and geometric equations, but unfortunately that does not make for good reading. As also marketed by SOG and the variety of multi-tools which utilize the compound leverage arrangement, the PowerLock can be opened and utilized one handed to deploy the combination jaws. The obvious mass of the arms/handles and practice, plus the loosening of the joints/gearing over time, allows for vary fast opening by one hand.

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Just behind the gear cover/pivot plate is the crimping portion of the jaws

Some of the other features of the PowerLock other than the obvious main jaws, are the included crimping spikes/posts located on the inside of the handles when in the deployed position. These two crimping areas allow for fuses to be crimped into blasting caps as well as crimping of wires with connectors. This is present on ALL PowerLock versions as the specialization of a separate jaws assembly would be inefficient from a manufacturing/cost perspective. There are two fairly heavy and rigid flanges which cover the gears and act as pivots for opening and closing the jaws and generating the additional force multipliers to the grasping, cutting and crimping sections of the jaws.

Nearly ALL the remaining tools are nested under  moving cover plate on each handle. This is the sole obvious drawback of this tool design. You need to deploy the jaws in order to access any of tools located in the handle. The reason for the cover is two fold. It primarily is for reducing the exposed edges and allowing a more comfortable grip while exerting force on the handles. Secondly it protects the additional tools from inadvertent movement from the stored position.

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Access to the nested tool arms is via pivoting away the cover panel on the handles

Under the panels are the plethora of additional tool arms. As mentioned to access these tools you need to pivot the covers away from the handles. As the covers are literally secured by a small indent, accidental removal of the covers is easily remedied.

The listing of tool arms is as follows.

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TEN tool arms are nested into the PowerLock handles (one is hidden in the handle)

  • V-Belt Cutter: This cutter is used for quick severing of flat belts and small diameter fibre ropes. Very sharp blades are riveted in place on this arm.
  • Scissors (Standard Model): The scissors replace the V-Cutter in standard versions of the PowerLock, The scissors utilize a torsion spring to keep the scissor blades open.
  • 1/4″ Socket Driver: This odd shaped arm is actually a driver for standard 1/4″ sockets. The spring around the perimeter of the arm is used to secure the driven socket to the arm and minimize any fumbling. This arm can be locked into position 90° from the handle.
  • Bottle Opener: One of the most common “tools” on all encompassing multi-tools. This one has a medium sized flat blade screwdriver head on the tip of it.
  • Blade: This 190mm (3.5″) partially serrated blade has a drop point and variation of a chisel grind which has the blade’s back side featuring a concave profile similar to that of a hollow grind.
  • Can Opener: The obligatory can opener to go with the aforementioned bottle opener. Also incorporates a small flat screwdriver tip.
  • Philips: A true size #1 Philips screwdriver head. Comes with a small wire stripper feature built into the nail nick for opening the blade.
  • Flat Screwdriver: The large flat head screwdriver.
  • Awl: A chisel designed and very pointy awl/punch.
  • Saw Blade: This double toothed saw blade is very aggressive in design.
  •  File (Not visible): The three sided file which include single and crosscut files on opposite flat sides and a coarse file on a single edge. In addition the file tip acts as a large flat screwdriver.

With all the tool arms and jaw features, SOG decided to add in another couple of items that might be useful, which includes  imperial and metric rulers and a lanyard eyelet.  SOG Specialty Knives and Tools also has the ability for consumers to order replacement blades and tool arms for the nested components as well as some more specialized non-standard components. The one which caught the attention of TPF and may spark interest in the Canadian market is that of the Robertson screwdriver.

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The simple and effective belt pouch

The final component of the entire package is the nylon case. With a Velcro backed flap to secure the tool into place in the pouch, the universal clip on the back will hold the pouch in a vertical position on belts up to 38mm (1.5″) wide. Simple and effective and with easy access to the tool. The non-EOD version have an option to have a leather pouch which has a positive retaining snap button but forgoes the universal belt clip to a more traditional belt loop style of attachment.

A heavy and solid multi-tool with an impressive number of features and attachments, the PowerLock as reviewed (model B63) has an MSRP of $124.25USD, and is available at many retailers and online stores throughout Canada.

SOG Specialty Knives and Tools, PowerLock – EOD version with V-Cutter with nylon pouch; is it Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


Pest control ammunition from … Cascade Cartridges?

TPF would hazard a guess that many of our readers have never heard of Cascade Cartridges Incorporated. Or at least not by the full name which it is commonly known as. CCI Ammunition was founded by Dick Speer under the original moniker of Cascade Cartridge Incorporated nearly 60 years ago in 1951. Yes, Dick Speer is related to the man who founded the Speer Bullet company, Vernon Speer. What started as a small venture to have commercially available brass cases and primers for reloaders has since blossomed into one of the premier ammunition manufacturing companies in the world today.

While CCI is well known to reloaders for their primers, it is their ammunition which has given wings to the company. Known for their rimfire ammunition in so many varieties and configurations, CCI is considered by many to be the leader in rimfire ammunition. Obviously this precludes dedicated target ammunition such as Lapua and Eley, as neither of those have rimfire ammunition commonly available at larger box stores (aka Walmart) and smaller gun stores.

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CCI 9mm CHS

What about centerfire ammunition you may ask? CCI does indeed have centerfire ammunition, but not quite like you may expect. It is true that CCI and Speer do have a combined effort in Blazer branded ammunition, but in itself CCI only manufactures specialty rounds in centerfire. Many thanks to Mr. Anderson of the Canadian Reload Radio Network for supplying TPF with this specific product for evaluation.

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CCI Shotshells come in packages of 10

TPF is proud to take an extended look at CCI’s Centerfire Handgun Shotshell, to be known as CHS for the remainder of this review. In this specific instance TPF will be looking at the 9mm Luger calibre yet several others are available. Available for rimfires in the both .22 LR and .22 WMR calibres, these are by far the most commonly available versions in Canada. However, besides 9mm, calibres such as .38Spec/.357Mag, .44Spec/Mag, .45LC, are available, as well as the .45ACP and the modern .40 S&W. Now before you all run out and decide to have a slew of fun shooting miniature shot loads from pistols, please be advised that most shot loads mass 1/3 or less of regular cartridges and therefore may not reliably function in your firearms. Originally designed for revolvers, the PCS was initially to be used for defending oneself from small animals such as rattlesnakes and other pests which can pose a threat to humans. Additionally, in a survival scenario, a firearm loaded with shot makes short range, small game harvesting much easier.

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53gr of #12 shot compared to a penny

The CHS are created using the following items. The aluminum case ,from Blazer brand ammunition, is primed with CCI primers when centerfire and an unknown powder mixture. TPF did not get masses of the powder as chemical composition was impossible to determine and would be of no help. The shotshell casing consists of a transparent blue polymer capsule which holds the shot load. A light, flexible wad seals the shot in the capsule and acts as a wad does in a shotgun by transferring and delaying energy into the shot mass. According to the specification data available from CCI, the 9mm shotshell contains approximately 53grams worth of #12 shot. The standard diameter for a #12 shot pellet is approximately 1.27mm (0.050″). TPF measured and massed three cartridges to find the averages. Shot from three cartridges measured 0.31mm (0.012″) up to 1.37mm (0.054″) in diameter and was not consistent. The shot of the three rounds massed at 51.6, 52.1, and 51.4 grains for an average of 51.7grains, which is close considering that CCI states that shot is loaded into the shells by volume.
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Target #1, plain cardboard

For this review, TPF decided to do some actual testing on these 9mm shotshells. The test outcomes were very interesting, and TPF will share the results with you. A total of 7 rounds were used in testing. Three rounds were sacrificed for construction evaluation.
Tested: CCI 9mm Luger #12 Shotshell
Firearm: Glock 17
Range: 3m (10′)
Target 1: Plain cardboard target
Target 2: Plastic cap over triple cardboard backing
Target 3: Unblemished golf ball

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The test equipment, a Glock 17

The review was based upon the  assumption that these specialty loads were primarily for use against hostile snakes, which seems like a very valid and plausible use. A distance of 3m (10′) was determined to be an approximate engagement distance. The Glock 17 utilized was bone stock except for an aftermarket disconnector. Unless otherwise noted, all magazines used were loaded with a single round and loaded by charging the handgun by engaging the slide release. Note that between fired rounds, the firearm was checked for obstructions and functionality. No obstructions ever became stuck or lodged in the barrel of the firearm.

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Tight 204mm (8") group, later determined to be not at full power

Round #1 on Target 1: The shot patterned roughly a 204mm (8″) circle, and were spaced relatively evenly. Noted extremely light recoil compared to standard 9mm round, in fact the reduced energy did not fully cycle the slide, resulting in a stovepipe of the empty brass. The pellets easily penetrated through the single sheet of 3mm (1/8″) corrugated cardboard. Spread of the pellets was even, and a hole where the wad shot through the cardboard and small blue plastic fragments were embedded about the target. Subsequent shots had triple layers of corrugated cardboard as a target backer.

Round #2 on Target 1: Misfire, what appeared to be a light primer strike on the primer. Round was removed and will be mentioned further onward.

Round #3 on Target 1: Perceived recoil of the shot was approximately double that of round #1. Shot patterned roughly a 410mm (16″) circle, and were spaced relatively evenly. Pellets passed through triple layers of cardboard. While still much less than a standard 9mm in felt recoil, the performance had enough energy to fully eject the case, but not enough to lock the slide back on the empty magazine.

Round #4 on Target 1: Results were identical to previous round (#3).

Round #5 on Target 2: On target 2, a small plastic cap was attached to act as a focus point as well as additional resistance for the pellets. The cap had a material thickness of 1.17mm (0.043″) and was typical to those found on 20L (5Gal) water bottles. Pellets passed completely through the cap and as prior tests passed fully through all three layers of cardboard backing. Same shot spread and recoil results as round #3.

Round #6 on Target 3: For the third test we used a golf ball, specifically an brand new, Spalding Top-Flite Plus. The ball was raised up a small bit on a cardboard stand to allow for a stable target in this test. The wad missed the ball, albeit not by much, and the ball itself was only hit by two (2) pellets. Pellets did penetrate into the outer cover of the golf ball, but did not pass through. Same shot spread and recoil results as round #3.

Round #7 on Target 1: In this test we loaded two of the 9mm CHS rounds into the magazine. Round #7 would load first, followed by the previous round #2. The purpose of this test was to determine if the recoil of the round was enough to load subsequent rounds into the chamber of the test firearm. Upon firing of round #7, which had the same performance characteristics as round #3, the next round had the blue plastic shot carrying case shattered during the loading process, which resulted in a tip up failure to feed and #12 shot cascading through the firearm. Now it is unknown the storage condition which these rounds have experienced, and the plastic capsules were extremely fragile. The cause MAY have been age of the plastic as well as thermal and/or moisture absorption. TPF has an email inquiry into CCI about the manufacturing date of that specific batch of ammunition.

Testing results show that the 9mm CHS round is indeed a very effective round for it’s intended purpose. shooing through multiple layers of cardboard and some pellets retained enough energy to perforate coroplast which was downrange at 10m (33′). At the tested distance, there is no doubt that if the rounds perform as they should, that nasty rattlesnake would never threaten another hiker again. Here in Canada, it is TPF’s opinion that the 9mm and other centerfire versions would not be as popular as the rimfire versions.

The 9mm Centrefire Handgun Shotshell cartridge, manufactured by Cascade Cartridges Incorporated, better known as CCI, has an MSRP of $15.95 USD, and is available at places such as Target Sports Canada. As always, it is up to you to determine if it is tactical, practical, or fantastical?


Gerber’s Freeman Guide – A folder with authority…

Once again TPF delves into the realm of bladed tools and as before, Gerber Legendary Blades has become the focus of this review. Gerber has been around for over seven decades of creating tools for people, with an eye on edged instruments for use in nearly every application. As technology and designs continued to evolve, so did the products of Gerber, and for the last thirty years, the sword into the rock image has been the hallmark of that legendary brand and continues in a similar theme even with the latest logo change just a few weeks ago.
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Awaiting purchase and use, Gerber's Freeman Guide Folding knife.

Now many designers at Gerber develop concepts and prototypes for a multitude of blades, tools, and equipment. When individuals come up with this blade design, it was so well received that it now bears his name in recognition. Named after longtime employee, Jeff Freeman, the Freeman Guide series of knives debuted in 2003 and are targeted specifically for hunters. Initially created as a fixed blade, the folder versions were introduced a couple of years ago. The Freeman Guide folding knife is the current generation of this knife family and we at TPF are pleased to be able to show you the details and specifics of this product from Gerber.

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The Freeman Guide package only comes with the knife and a versatile sheath

The Freeman Guide Folder (FGF), is a classic drop point, liner-lock folding design which has several features that may appeal to hunters and other outdoors-men who would utilize it. With the 440A stainless steel blade measuring 91.4mm (3.6″), the FGF’s edge is not exceptionally long when compared to other similar style fixed blade knives. It does however offset that with a large profile and blade thickness; back to belly distance of 30.0mm (1.2″) and being roughly 3.0mm (0.120″) wide. This profile helps the FGF tip the scales at nearly 190 grams (6.6 oz), and while hefty in mass, the large finger grooves in the handle allow for solid grip and control of the knife.  The grips themselves are manufactured from Gerber’s exclusive TacHide™ material and offer a comfortable, non-slip texture.

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Definitely not small!

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The huge and rugged lanyard slot

The blade itself mounts dual thumb studs for ambidextrous opening, and the liner lock is very strong and secures the blade open very well. The actual construction of the entire knife is very solid with the use of several Torx screws to secure all aspects together, from the massive lanyard opening on one end to the solid blade stop above the pivot. TPF will note that this knife does not have a pocket clip and at the mass of this blade, it is not a surprise considering the size of this folding knife..

The FGF’s sheath is black nylon belt sheath which has a typical button snap enclosure for securing the folded knife inside the pouch. Other than a trio of raised bumps over the top of the Gerber logo, formed into the surface, there is nothing extraordinary regarding the outward appearance of the sheath. However; the sheath’s construction allows for multiple mounting orientations which is a nice option for such a large folder. The These orientations has provisions for vertical mounting on a 38.1mm (1.5″) belt or horizontal mounting on a belt up to 31.8mm (1.25″) in width, and before some ask, no, this sheath is not molle compatible.

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Even folded, the FGF is a large knife

Another version of this folder is available from Gerber, and it includes a gut hook on the blade as well, opposite of the knife belly. The gut hook version is slightly heavier but has the same features as the plain FGF reviewed on TPF. The Gerber Freeman Guide, folding knife is offered with an MSRP of $43 USD regardless of blade style, and is available at nearly all commercial Canadian Tire stores across Canada.

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The Freeman Guide folding knife, designed for field use and abuse.

The Freeman Guide folding knife  offered by Gerber Legendary Blades:
Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


SOG Twitch-II: A classic lock back upgrade?

Once again Spring Assisted Openers are featured on TPF. In this case, SOG Specialty Knives & Tools offered up a small everyday carry knife labelled the Twitch II. The original Twitch I, was introduced into the market many years ago and its small 48.3mm (1.9″) blade, with Spring Assisted Technology was the result of the imagination of Mr. Spencer Frazer.

For those that do not know, Mr. Frazer is the founder of SOG (originally an anagram from Studies & Observations Group) and as a result, SOG has been designing, manufacturing and producing knives for the last 25 years. Having many patents with his name attached to them has helped SOG grow into one of the top dozen known companies for quality, innovation and customer satisfaction with their lines of blades and multi-tools. Fast forward to late 2005-early 2006, and the Twitch II was introduced into the commercial marketplace. A bigger brother to the original, the Twitch II is literally an up-scaled version of the Twitch yet it is not the largest in this design family. That title is held by the Twitch XL. However, for this overview TPF focuses on knife which sits in the middle of the pack.

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The Twitch II by SOG

Featuring a flat ground, drop point blade, which measures 68.1mm (2.68″) in length; the Twitch II is a fair sized knife for EDC. The biggest difference between this design of knife and other spring assisted opening knives is the use of a modified spine lock to secure the blade in the open position. Mounting dual thumb studs on the blade and a kick on the opposite side for opening allow for easy ambidextrous opening of the knife via thumb or finger. Part of the design is the formed lock back which fits around the kick when the knife is in closed position. The opening of this knife using the kick is very fast (see the attached video at the end).

The Twitch II is not a grand knife designed to ohh and ahh people who see it, but is meant for users who may need a knife for everyday cutting tasks. Tight, simple controls, and possessing a smooth appearance from the use of aluminum grip panels; the Twitch II appears to be a logical choice for upgrading from the classic folding, lock-back pocket knives that were carried by many.

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Non-Reversible pocket clip for tip up carry.

Similar it may well be to those older knives, but the same it is not. The Twitch I & II have non-reversible pocket clips due to their sculpted shape, the bigger Twitch XL uses a clip similar to that of the previously reviewed SOGZilla. That being said, the Twitch II clip orientation allows for tip-up carrying while in the pocket and the clip is very small in profile to not have a significant visibility factor.

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The formed lock back lever and safety switch.

Already mentioned was the innovative design style of the lock back lever which surrounds the kick yet allows it to move freely. In order to open the blade, the resistance imparted by the lock back lever must be overcome but this is accomplished easily and the blade opening speed is very fast. The folded sheet metal locking lever design is accompanied by a small safety slider which secures the locking lever into position. This enables the knife to have a blade secured in both open or closed positions. The safety has a definite mechanical stop in both engaged and disengaged positions so that it will not accidentally shift into an undesired position. Be aware however that the safety, while preventing the blade from fully opening, does not prevent the tip from extending past the handle by 3mm (1/8″) with direct force on the opening protrusions. Such an occurrence was tested and proven with the reviewed Twitch II, but did take a directed effort on either the kick or the thumb studs in order to open. Research into this shows that this is a rare occurrence and that the vast majority of Twitch II users have no such issues. Overall this SOG appears to share a hallmark feature that TPF has seen of other SOG products, a durable design meant to be well used.

The Twitch II can be ordered as reviewed (TWI-8) but can have two other versions if so desired. A partially serrated blade can be found (TWI-98) or a standard blade but with all components having a black titanium nitrite finish. (TWI-12). As reviewed by TPF, the Twitch II has an MSRP of $72.50 and can be found at a variety of Canadian retailers such as Warriors & Wonders located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

As always the final say is yours; the reader’s.
SOG’s Twitch II: Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


CRKT’s Centofante Tribute – Sharp & Elegant

As stated before, TPF has limited experience with blades, and has to rely on online sources and the word of individuals with more knowledge about this subject matter. So when Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) donated some knives to the CSSA for their fund-raising dinners, TPF was able to temporarily acquire the donation to do a small review on it. For most utilitarian people, a knife and/or multi-tool are always a part of  their everyday carry gear. Now here at TPF, EDC gear is minimal and more often than not, crude and on the rough side for appearance.

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Frank Centofante's final collaborative work

The Centofante Tribute offered by CRKT is anything but crude and rough; in fact it is closer to elegance of design in the author’s opinion. From the company itself, it is known that the blade was part of a collaborative design with a renowned knife making.

Frank Centofante, one of the pioneers in the custom knife making movement, passed away in September of 2009 before he could see this lock back design go into CRKT production. After a few moments of reflection, we decided to name the series the Centofante Tribute.

The Tribute, Frank’s final production collaboration, is a fitting statement of simplicity and craftsmanship. It is a classic drop point lock back folder, with no gimmicks, no frills, no complex mechanisms, not even a clip. His meticulous approach to knife making is detailed in his chapter in the “Bible,” How To Make Folding Knives, published in 1988, and that is exactly how we are making the Tribute.

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Showing off the flat ground, drop point blade

Honestly, before acquiring the Tribute, TPF had not heard of the now deceased, Mr. Frank Centofante. It is items like this which help expand our knowledge into other areas and gain understanding into some of the history and background for such individuals. Mister Centofante was one of fewer than two hundred custom knife makers in North America in the mid 1970’s, and has always has a penchant for thin, slim folding knives. Now nearly four decades later, this Tribute from CRKT depicts many of the classic elements which are synonymous with Mr. Centofante’s folding knives.

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Stainless steel internals wrapped in sleek hand formed micarta grips.

This folding knife features a 79.4mm (3.125″) drop point, plane edged blade and masses only 43 grams (1.5 oz.). As the release by CRKT states, the tribute has no extra features and is very simple in design. With the blade secured open via the spine lock, the Tribute is 181.1mm (7.13″) in length and truly shows off the sleek look of the knife. The overall design shows off the smooth contour of the hand carved and polished Micarta handle and completes the “gentleman’s knife” association with this blade. The flat ground blade is manufactured from 7Cr17MoV stainless steel and features the classic “nail-nick” for opening.

This knife has no sheath, no pocket clip attachments as it is a small, lightweight folder meant to be carried unobtrusively in an individuals pocket, ranging from the inside of a dinner jacket or the back pocket in a pair of blue jeans.

The Tribute has an MSRP of $49,99 USD as listed on the CRKT website, but is available from at various Canadian dealers and retailers across the country such as MilArm Co. Ltd. in Edmonton, Alberta. A smaller version known as the Tribute 2 is also available, but it mounts a slightly smaller blade and appropriately sized handle, but otherwise has all the same features as the larger version.

Columbia River Knife and Tool’s Centofante Tribute folding knife: Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


Samson’s Field Survivor – Platform Specific Tool

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The ever increasingly popular AR15 rifle.

Mistakenly, many people associate the AR in the referenced image above as “Assault Rifle”. Which is incorrect as it stands for the originating company of the design, Armalite. The AR-15 is the Armalite, model 15, a gas impingement operated semi-automatic rifle. Usually chambered in or 5.56x45mm or .223 Remington, the AR-15 and its more military based brethren, the M16/M4, is utilized across the globe by armed forces and civilians alike. In fact in the USA it has become one of the most popular hunting rifles ever produced. Modular and with such a huge following, the AR-15 is the test bench for almost ANY conversion kit, optics, stocks, and aesthetic modifications created by manufacturers and hobbyists in North America.Samson Manufacturing has been producing reputable forearm guards and other machine components for various platforms for several years and in 2009 decided to come branch out into the market. What is being reviewed by TPF is the result of several years of development and in fact, at the first SHOT Show (2009) where this product was introduced, TPF was not allowed to take any images of it. Fast forward another year and TPF obtained a production version of this new tool.

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Hidden in plain sight

Now before any tool details are written about, there was one driving factor with this products design. The tool MUST stay with the gun. However with the huge plethora of aftermarket accessories and such, the question was where and how to attach this tool to the AR platform with minimal protrusions and attachments to the firearm itself. There was a single spot that met this requirement and minimized the space claim by such a tool. The grip. With this in mind and now a set space claim to work in, Samson Manufacturing began the design and subsequent production of the Field Survivor. This tool was design to be unobtrusive when stored, and extremely helpful with some of the most common maintenance tasks associated with the AR-15/M16/M4 platform.

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With a couple twists, the tool is revealed

What is very interesting is the sheer number of tools and features which the Field Survivor tool incorporates into its design. nearly every surface, part and bit of this tool is usable for some sort of measurement, adjustment, action to help maintain your AR platform. The FS-001 being reviewed by TPF fits standard A2 grips and Hogue AR15 Rev B grips. The Field Survivor, which is to be referred to as FS hereafter, has two main components. The end cap and the main body. The end cap is the scalloped portion which is visible when installed into the storage position in the grip. Affixed with a #8-32 stud, spinning the end cap either compresses the retaining o-ring, which expands outwards and creates a secure clamp inside the grip. By spinning the end cap in the opposite direction, the o-ring is relaxed and allows the tool to slide easily from the grip.  The FS has a total of four (4) tool arms and a few removable  components stored with the tool.

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Fully Exposed: Samson's Field Survivor

Here is a basic rundown on the features and components of the FS for the AR15/M4/M16 family of firearms. TPF will start with the removable component parts first and work around the tool to document all the features of this tool.

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All the included components of the Field Survivor

  1. End Cap: Besides retaining the FS in the grip the end cap has several extra features. With scalloped edges the end cap functions as an impact device when the FS is properly stored in the grip of the firearm. A built-in 1/2″ hex pattern allows for the tightening of some nuts on several accessory and scope mount devices. There are provisions for securing two firing pin retaining cotter pins. The two straight slots are for use on metallic magazine feed lips for modifying their shape. The #8-32 stud allows for some Otis products to be attached but is meant to be used in conjunction with the included cleaning cable for swabbing the barrel.
  2. Broken Shell Extractor: Included with the FS is a broken shell extractor. This extractor has two additional functions in addition to the obvious one. Used in conjunction with the pull cable (see next tool component/feature), the shell extractor doubles as a handle for pulling a bore brush through the barrel of the firearm. Almost as after thought, a spare extractor pin can be stored inside the cavity of the 2 piece broken shell extractor.
  3. Detachable Pull Cable: Normally stored within the tool body, this 23″ long steel cable has a loop on one end and a female #8-32 end on the other. The threaded end is for attaching and pulling bore brushes through the barrel, whereas the loop side is for running patches through the barrel.
  4. Lube Ampule: Included in the field survivor is a small metal ampule (container) which has plastic tapered plugs on either end. It is designed to hold a small amount of lubricant to allow for a single application of lube to essential components.
  5. Sight Adjustment Arm: This sectioned cylindrical tool has 3 prongs which correspond to an A2 front sight for adjustment. the arm also includes a small straight cutout for fine metallic magazine feed lip adjustments. The secondary purpose of this arm is to store the broken shell extractor when within the grip of the rifle.
  6. The Otis Attachment Arm: This arm is literally a pivot with an #8-32 thread in it to mount the bore brush. Other attachments can be inserted into this spot, but doing such may make grip storage impossible due to space constraints.
  7. The Hook/Screwdriver Arm: An interesting multiple usage arm, which has a very robust thickness and apparent strength is home to a short straight screwdriver blade and a small hook like feature which can be used to remove firing pin cotter pins from the bolt carrier group. The interesting feature however is the width and machined strip along the edges of this tool arm with crate a Go/No Go gauge for metallic magazines and allow for instant field checking of suspect magazines.
  8. The Scraper Arm: Another hefty arm, this scraper has edges along both long sides and opposing scrapers on the tip, in fact it reminded the author of cutters used on milling machines. Sharp and made of steel, care needs to be followed when used on the aluminum alloy of the AR15/M4/M16 platform. This arm also houses the lube ampule very securely as it forces the ampule’s plugs to seal via mechanical tension.
  9. The FS Body: How is this even a tool after all the other components and functions may come across the minds of many. The profile of the body, on the side which mounts the sight tool, shows the proper curvature of feed lips for metallic magazines and a small line shows a very basic “No-Go” limit with a small line show on the curve.
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The sight adjuster and the shell extractor

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Showing the Go/No-Go guage on the screwdriver arm

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How the bore brush and cable can be stored

The Field Survivor is compact and masses approximately 100 grams (3.5oz). No sleeve or sheath is offered as the tool itself is designed specifically for installation to a firearms’ grip. The FS-001 reviewed, and all AR platform versions are dedicated for 5.56mm/.223 chambers as that it the primary calibre for the rifle.

There are also 3 other variations of the Field Survivor available and all have slightly differing components and features which are specific to their associated rifle platforms. The FS-002 functions in Magpul MAID/MOE grips, but is otherwise similar to the reviewed FS-001. The FS-003 is made specifically for the AK-47 and as such will most likely not see much demand in Canada. The final version currently available is the FS-004, which caters to STAG/CMMG piston driven AR platforms and sacrifices the scraper arm for a gas piston wrench.

The family of Samson Field survivors are available for purchase from such places as DS Tactical in British Columbia. The FS-001 as reviewed by TPF retails for $156.99 CDN.

Samson Manufacturing Corporation’s Field Survivor (FS-001)? Is it Tactical, Practical or Fantastical?


Huntfest 2011 – Orangeville, Ontario

For the days of July 22-24, Orangeville, Ontario was the host for the latest Huntfest. Hosted by Wild TV, this Huntfest in was held at the Orangeville Agricultural Society building at 247090 5 Sideroad, Mono, Ontario. This building is commonly the home of a local gun show held and organized every few months by Mrs. Monica Wright. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the concept of Huntfest, it is an event which is used by the hunting industry to promote themselves and their new products. It is also a venue for dealers and retailers to sell their wares to the public.  It was quite a surprise to the author when the location was slated to host a Huntfest!

Now as a father of two small children under the age of 6, the author is very hard pressed to actually have the time to actually view any Wild TV programming, so TPF cannot comment on the programming, advertising and general appeal of Wild TV. The author does however applaud the decision to hold such an event in Ontario due to the fact that the only level of hunting/sporting event similar in format would be that of the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show and their “Hunting Hall”. Yet that is more of a giant retailer sale than a showcase opportunity. As usual the Canadian Shooting Sports Association (CSSA) was there to promote shooting sports, help educate firearms owners, and of course gather additional memberships. Other organizations such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH) and the National Firearms Association (NFA) were in attendance as well.

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The CSSA Booth at Huntfest, Orangeville 2011

The days of the Huntfest were the hottest days in recent history with temperatures making the he facility nearly unbearable for exhibitors yet they did persevere. The author was pleased to attend and help represent the CSSA during the entire show and was fortunate to be working the booth alongside Canada’s number one firearms lobbyist, Mr. Tony Bernardo. Admittedly, due to the layout, the Laser Shot game was mainly the author’s responsibility and as always being able to bring smiles to the faces of people of all ages is well worth the time and effort of such events. Both the very young and the elderly were attracted to the minute or so of relief that the game provided during which the oppressing heat was forgotten. Literally hundreds of individuals stopped by, some repeatedly, to test their skills at Laser Shot. Mr. Bernardo’s speaking and enthusiasm was a constant reminder of how knowledgeable, dedicated , and committed the man is to fighting for the rights of the Canadian Firearms Community. Be it a single individual or a group of them, Tony was his usual informative and enthusiastic self, describing the latest United Nations news and how the CSSA benefits its members, the community and firearms owners as a whole. Just talk to him and you will understand why the author believes that the CSSA is at the top of the pile for pro-firearms organizations in Canada.

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All generations were trying their hand at Laser Shot.

During the infrequent lulls between droves of people attending the show, TPF was able to make a few rounds about the facilities and see what was going on and the general overview of Huntfest in Orangeville. This Huntfest was originally supposed to be a grand endeavour with hundreds of companies in attendance but by the end of setup on the scorching Thursday night, there was much rumblings about a lack of participation. This was obvious as the lower than expected exhibitor attendance resulted in some areas of the building being unused. Opening day on Friday was a lack lustre event which was determined to be a poor turnout with some of those TPF talked to. Combined with an extended Friday closing time with nearly zero consumer attendance and many exhibitors were already unhappy with the choice of venue for this iteration of Huntfest. However, the following two days showed far more improvement with many attending exhibitors acknowledging that by the end of the event they were satisfied, if not beaming with the results. On Sunday, just prior to the close of the event, much of that Friday evening dismay had been reversed and the exhibitors and vendors were far more upbeat and positive in their overview of Orangeville’s Huntfest.

Huntfest-Kids

Even the young ones wanted a chance.

Huntfest-Maximus

When the crossbow was not enough, Maximus got serious.

For those that are still wondering, the concept of Huntfest is to create an opportunity for consumers to come to a single location and not only see what is available in the Canadian Marketplace, but to find out how to get those products or even acquire then at the event. Huntfest has been described as a trade show and to a certain point it is. Manufacturers attend to display their range of available products and showcase their newest ones, while dealers and retailers of these products are in attendance to support the consumer, that being the attendees. Companies such as Savage Arms, Scorpion Optics, and Trade Ex Canada Inc, took such an opportunity and showcased some of their products and wares. Local dealers/retailers as also in attendance with their wares available for attendees to purchase, some even at lower than store sticker price. Archery, hunting, camouflage apparel, calls, tools, guns and the remaining spectrum of hunting products were on display at the three day event. Add in reptile exhibits, falconry shows and a slew of presenters for in-person seminars and music concert and Wild TV’s Huntfest, Orangeville had everything that the outdoors man, sport shooter, hunter, and hiker could ever need. TPF was proud to be a small part of the event and look forwards to future ones should they occur.

Huntfest-RackStacker

Even the models for RackStacker had a round or three

While the author wanted to take numerous photographs and give the readers a visual representation of the quality and variety of exhibitors that were at Huntfest, it was literally too busy for more than small jaunts across the facility for a quick minute or two of discussion before the next rush came in at the CSSA booth. However, we do have some images from nearby events and have included them here for your viewing pleasure.

Wild TV’s Huntfest – Orangeville 2011 may not have been a great success that organizers were hoping for, but if the final days of attendance was an indication, it may very well continue and grow in Ontario’s future. Hopefully next time the weather co-operates and the advertising efforts bring in far more exhibitors and attendees.

Rating of Wild TV’s Huntfest – Orangeville 2011 is a little different than usual for TPF in that:

Is Huntfest, Orangeville 2011 Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical? Great!, Decent event, Needs work, or Complete fail?
That is up to you, the readers, and specifically those that attended the event to determine. Please contact Huntfest Organizers at huntfest@wildtv.ca and let them know what you think they need to improve and make the show more successful.

Huntfest-GoldenEagle

Birds and reptiles were there for kids and adults alike

Special thanks goes out to Chris Anderson who stopped by and felt that TPF was worth interviewing a second time, the first which occured during the EESA open house. As an originator of Canadian Reload Radio, Mr. Anderson was part of the first Canadian firearms online podcast created, and has since branched off as part of their network of firearms related podcasts. It is high praise indeed when Mr. Tony Bernardo believed that Mr. Anderson is one of the best interviewers that he has encountered due to his thoroughness and preparedness for interviews.


Action Shooting Sports…

The author of TPF has been shooting for a short time compared to many, a scant dozen years of firearms experience under his belt. As with most individuals who are into shooting, the entire ordeal started with the acquisition of a single rimfire rifle and a bag of old soup cans and other small items to enjoy shooting at. Since that point in time however, interests change, as does exposure to whole new fields of firearm events and disciplines which are radical changes from plinking at tin cans. A few of those disciplines are those in the category of Action Shooting Sports.

What are Action Shooting Sports? Unlike most shooting disciplines, action shooting mainly does away with static position firing and utilizes movement and strategies which challenge competitors physically and mentally in a safety oriented game in which competitors must physically overcome and avoid obstacles in order to engage various targets with the greatest accuracy in the least amount of time. These games of skill, speed, and techniques have multiple reasons for being popular and showing continued increase in participants. These reasons can be a trial to improve one’s self, have fun in a non-static shooting event, or even strive to be a top competitor in your discipline. As with ALL shooting disciplines safety is the number one rule and must be adhered to at all times. Failure to follow these safety protocols will at best disqualify you from matches and at worst could lead to legal ramifications. Firearms are tools and can be used in recreational activities for immense enjoyment and entertainment, yet unsafe handling can lead to negligent discharges and the possibility of injury. Thankfully, Canada’s action shooters practice levels of safety which far exceed federal requirements as most competitors are extremely safety conscious.

Most action shooting sports practised in Canada are those which utilize a handgun and require a holster for participation of the game, yet several disciplines include rifles and shotguns in their rules and regulations. TPF will only be concentrating on the handgun portion of Action Shooting Sports at this time.Here are some background and details on some of the more popular action shooting disciplines which have captured the attention of tens of thousands of Canadian shooters, the author among them.

Disciplines of Action Shooting:

International Practical Shooting Confederation (aka IPSC)

IPSCWhile it’s origins can be traced back to the late 1950’s in California, the International Practical Shooting Confederation (IPSC) was officially founded in Columbia, Missouri, in May 1976. IPSC’s origins began as a competition in a newer realm of action shooting. It is widely considered to be the founding father of all action shooting disciplines due to it’s history and initial departure from traditional shooting sports. Primarily a handgun based sport, IPSC is derogatorily known as running and gunning due to the fast paced action while participating in a course of fire. A Latin phrase; Diligentia, Vis, Celeritas (DVC) is the basis for all IPSC participation. These translate into Accuracy, Power, Speed. These three items are the cornerstones of what IPSC embodies and it’s popularity is evidenced by participation in over 80 countries around the world and having literally tens of thousands of competitors among those participating countries.

IPSC also has addition divisions outside of handgun, these are Rifle, Shotgun and, as of 2010, Action Air. Action Air is controversial as it does not embody the “power” aspect in IPSC and usually only found in countries where firearms ownership is extremely difficult.

International Defensive Pistol Association (aka IDPA)

IDPAAfter many years of IPSC, a group of individuals (Bill Wilson, John Sayle, Ken Hackathorn, Dick Thomas, Walt Rauch and Larry Vickers) believed that IPSC had become an equipment race and the courses of fire had become extravagant obstacle courses. In 1996, the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA) was founded. IDPA decided to keep the gaming aspect but made the game revolve around real world defensive scenarios. Regulating the firearms to minimal alterations and adopting a more tactical outlook, IDPA became a slower version of IPSC with many technical penalties added in to create a more reality based action shooting game. From the website, “the main goal is to test the skill and ability of an individual, not his equipment or gamesmanship.” IDPA has gained acceptance in Canada in the last half dozen years and now has continued to grow to several thousand members in Canada alone. In the last 5 years the number of clubs that practice IDPA has tripled across Canada to number nearly two dozen.

Ontario Defensive Pistol League (aka ODPL)

ODPLThe Ontario Defensive Pistol League (ODPL) started originally as a Canadian copy of IDPA. Back in the late nineties while IDPA was growing in the USA, several individuals decided to emulate it in Ontario. The Independent Defensive Pistol Association – Ontario was formed without the blessing of the IDPA and decided to use formal IDPA rules and start their own Action Shooting locally in Canada. For nearly a decade IDPA-Ontario existed and then underwent a face lift and converted into the ODPL. There were some rule changes in regards to scoring and penalties between ODPL and IDPA; but the biggest difference was the lack of shooter skill grading and the requirement to be a member of an organization in order to compete in ODPL. ODPL also has incorporated rifles and shotgun usage aspired from multiple gun matches commonly found in the United Staes of America. Officially there are seven (7) clubs in Ontario which host ODPL events and more are in the works.

Canadian Defensive Pistol (aka CDP)

CDPCanadian Defensive Pistol (CDP) originated under the purview of Mr. Dave Burke, who decided that Canada needed a Canadian version of IDPA (prior to IDPA expanding into Canada). The concept was to take those Canadian Shooting Clubs which already hosted IDPA-like matches, but were not officially IDPA affiliates, and give them a set of rules and regulations similar to IDPA but with Canadian flavour to them. While the concept was sound, the execution of CDP dragged and the complete rewording of commonly used IDPA terminology did not translate well. CDP still exists in some clubs, but has fallen to the wayside for a multitude of reasons. The CSSA is determining if it should completely pull out of CDP matches, redesign, revamp and relaunch CDP entirely, or come out with a generic Action Shooting Guide book that would give information to clubs who wish to run action shooting without being associated to anyone.

Training/Safety Instructions:

Action Shooting Sports are some of the fastest growing shooting activities in Canada. The amazing thing about these sports is that their safety records are nearly perfect with injuries only resulting from sprains and strains. That is correct. A game/competition where individuals have their times recorded for completing a given course of fire, assessed accuracy penalties, and are penalized for procedural violations. Several thousands of Canadians, shooting millions of rounds annually, for the last several years and have ZERO firearm related injuries. There are several reasons for that. As with all firearms disciplines, safety is the primary, secondary, and tertiary rule government the usage of firearms. To that effect there are several options which are available for learning the various games and the required safety levels in Action Shooting.

All of these disciplines involve the use of handguns with a minimum calibre of 9mm/.38 Special and are the primary tools for competing in these games. Add in multiple magazines, holsters, and gear, and you can range from under $500 to several thousands just for competition equipment, and that is prior to expenditures of ammunition. IDPA, ODPL, and CDP are usually considered to be a cheaper alternative than IPSC due to the generally greater numbers of magazines utilized, the higher volume of rounds expended, however, one can compete in IPSC using the same equipment that is acceptable for usage in the other aforementioned disciplines.

IPSC’s Black Badge course is the most comprehensive and intense training available for those wishing to learn how to compete in IPSC matches. Usually a 3 day event requiring just shy of one thousand (1000) rounds of ammunition, the Black Badge course is geared specifically for those interested in IPSC and holders of such are recognized by ALL other disciplines in Canada as having acceptable certifications for action shooting. That being said, IPSC ONLY authorizes those who have attained a Black Badge to compete in IPSC events.

IDPA in Canada has a New Shooter Orientation Course (NSOC) which allows competitors to become familiarized with the usage of handguns in a holster and the basics of competing in an IDPA Match. IDPA accepts all accredited certifications in order to participate in official matches. As the author has not experienced this course, it is difficult to tell you how many rounds or what the course entails. By far the least expensive prospect of all available courses. IDPA recognizes IPSC, CDP, course qualifications in addition to the NSOC. To shoot sanctioned matches you need to be a member of IDPA.

ODPL at one time considered creating a training regime but it was decided to allow all other forms of accreditation and not split up manpower and time resources to dedicated training courses. As ODPL has no membership requirements, as long as the individual has an accepted qualification,they are allowed to shoot all ODPL matches.

CDP arranged to have courses to be performed by CSSA instructors, this course is between IDPA’s NSOC and IPSC’s Black Badge. Performed over one and a half days, and roughly 400 rounds of ammunition, the course teaches holster usage and the technical basics for defensive pistol shooting.  To shoot sanctioned matches you need to be a member of CDP.

Which one is the best to participate in?

That is a question that can only be answered by yourself. I do recommend if you decide to try it, go to a local club practice night for the related discipline. Not all clubs shoot all, or even any, of these disciplines, but watch a practice or a match and see if it interests you. The camaraderie and friendships developed by the author has made Action Shooting a, hopefully, permanent fixture in his life. As with all firearms related activities, Stay safe and enjoy!

Action Shooting Sports – Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical?


Multitasker Tools – Setting the bar on AR platform field tools?

Multitasker-01

As shipped, The Multitasker Series 2

Here at TPF we’ve had the pleasure to review a pair of tools built primarily for the AR-15 platform. The TUBE and the Ultralight have been reviewed prior, and showcase some of the quality and design excellence which has become expected by Shane Keng and his Company, Multitasker Tools. Here is the rub however, the tool that is featured in this installment of TPF is not the newest design released by Mr. Keng, it is however the tool which launched Multitasker into becoming so well known for it’s platform specific tools.

Enter Multitasker’s Multitasker Series 2, AR platform field multi-tool. The Series 2 has some changes over the initial build of the Multitasker, which are mainly in regards to tool location and the addition of the now common #8-32 Male thread for OTIS cleaning attachments and the ever present cleaning pick. Unlike many other companies, Multitasker has made it a priority to improve upon their tools and take into account critiques and suggestions for improving their products. The Multitasker reviewed by TPF is in fact a later Series 2 model noted by an alterations to the plier jaws that improved cutting ability and the jaws themselves were upgraded with a roller bearing joint for smooth operation.

Multitasker-03

Sheathed in G-10 grips, the Multitasker Series 2 Multi-tool

The Multitasker is similar in construction to the other quality tools manufactured under the Multitasker brand. All metal components contained in this tool are machined parts with only the Springs and plier-stops being the exception. From scraper to screwdriver the whole mutli-tool is made from stainless steel which is treated with a black oxide finish. The liners, tool arms and springs are manufactured from 420 stainless steel where as the knife blade is 440C stainless steel. The main jaws are precision machined from D2 tool steel and the attention to detail is evident by the nearly seamless nesting of the teeth when the jaws are closed. With the outer handles covered by extremely durable G-10 fiberglass panels, the grip on the Multitasker is very good in form fit and function.

Multitasker-04

The seven tool arms contained in the handles of the Multitasker Series 2

All seven tool arms contained in the Multitasker handles. There are a total of seven tool arms on the MultiTasker Series 2, AR15/M4/m16 specific platform tool.
All tool arms are made to have the position/resistance springs retain the arms in a closed or open position.

Tool #1- The first tool is the versatile and effective Tanto styled blade which has a thumb stud for one handed opening and is the only “tool arm” which has a liner locking mechanism to secure the blade in the open position.

Tool #2- The Larue wrench. A 3/8″ hex wrench for tightening nuts on the very popular Larue Tactical scope mounting components.

Tool #3- The Screwdriver/File tool arm. A large flat blade screwdriver with good thickness for any sort of torquing operation and a combined file for some additional versatility. The sharp edges of this tool allow it to double as a carbon scraper for larger surfaces.

Tool #4- A Castle Nut Wrench for cinching up loose stocks on Carbine/collapsing stocks. Multitasker does warn that the tool is not for assembly and proper torquing, but field fixes.

Tool #5- The 1/4″ hex magnetic bit driver. Originated in the Multitasker and carried over into both the in the TUBE and the Ultralight, it is one of the most acclaimed features of Multitasker’s tools. As always the driver comes with the 4 prong A2 front sight adjusting bit installed.

Tool #6- OTIS attachment arm. With the robust and very effective cleaning pick installed, the arm sports a male #8-32 thread enables owners to connect many OTIS attachments and use the Multitasker as a cleaning handle. As with the bit driver, this attachment feature and pick is carried into the other previously mentioned Multitasker tools.

Tool#7- Form fitting carbon scraper for cleaning the bolt of the AR15/M4/M16 platform. With the tip made with the same radius as found on the bolt, the carbon scraper allows for simple and efficient cleaning. Also with a thumb stud for opening ease, this scraper is another common feature across this line of platform specific tools, albeit slightly differently mounted on the tube.

Multitasker-09

Jaw tooth interlocking is typical of Multitasker's attention to detail

The pliers themselves are very durable and incorporate a roller bearing for flawless functionality. As discussed earlier, the jaws are CNC machined from a single billet of D2 tool steel which allows for nearly seamless tooth interaction. In addition, the pliers are mounted very securely and allow for considerable pressure to be exerted through the jaws. The cutting surfaces of the jaws are also sculpted to allow for a great effectiveness on a variety of wire types and construction. You will not find any forged pieces or weight relieving cuts which would otherwise reduce the strength of the jaws themselves. This was a mandate by Mr. Keng and his designs; No sacrifices to quality and performance in order to save costs and mass.

Multitasker-06

Carbon scraper, OTIS arm w/pick, 1/4" driver & included bits

Multitasker-05

Showing the machined brass washers and the liner lock for the tanto blade

Of lesser notation, but still of importance, are the small attentions to details that are shown in the excellent material selection and quality. Machined brass washers between the tool arms for a perfect mating and for durability and survivability. The usage of fiberglass comprised G-10 covers on the handles for durability, resistance to chemicals and general wear are typical of the designs produced by Multitasker. A small ring for attaching a lanyard is also incorporated into one of the tool’s handles.

Multitasker-07

Showing the Multitasker sheathed with the extra bits stored behind in the hidden pocket

Multitasker-08

The holstered Multitasker Series 2 compared with a round of .223 Remington and a Mini-Mag Flashlight

The Multitasker Series 2 comes with a Molle compatible nylon pouch which has a compartment for holding the additional ten (10) driver bits. The black, 1000 denier nylon pouch is very rigid  and has a strong snap clasp for holding the flap closed and retaining the Multitasker when stowed away. The overall size of the Series 2 Multitasker is fairly large and it is not a lightweight in the mass department. However, the Multitasker Series 2 multi-tool is not meant to be used for EDC. It is firearm specific and aside from the utilitarian knife blade, is designed to be a miniature armorer’s kit for the AR15/M4/M16 platform.

Those interested in acquiring the Series 2 Multitasker; can do so through Brownells where it is listed for $104.95 USD. As always however, it is up to the reader to decide if Multitasker’s Multitasker Series 2 AR15/M4/M16 platform specific multi-tool is: Practical, Tactical or Fantastical

Multitasker-10

Multitasker product size comparison: Tube (l), Ultralight (c), Multitasker (r)

Multitasker-02

A clear representation of the components carried on the belt with the Series 2 Multitasker


Hornady’s Case Prep Assistant!

If you reload for rifle calibres such as .223 Remington and .308 Winchester, some of the most tedious jobs for such case preparation have to do with physically removing brass from the case to create a uniform case for consistent reloads. Trimming the case to length and chamfering the inside and outside of case necks, as well as any sort of cleaning/lubing done to the inside of the necks for a smother reloading process. This case prep is the laborious process which can make or break the spirits of many reloaders, as it really comes down to the old adage of “how valuable is your time?”

Case_Prep_chamfertools

Either of these are cheap chamfer tools, but both are still 100% manual in operation.

Case_Prep_Box

In a small package, the tool awaits use.

Whether you spent next to nothing on a Bonanza Cricket chamfering tool, or purchased a more substantial Lyman chamfering tool, the big issue for shooters who have larger volumes of brass to prepare for reloading usually end up with sore fingers and hands from the twisting and repetitive action of manually chamfering each case. If you only have a dozen or so piece to do, it may not be so bad, but many reloaders have literally hundreds of cases awaiting these sometimes necessary steps for good reloading results. In this regard, once again Hornady has come through with yet another offering in their newest tools in the Lock-N-Load® lineup. Welcome to the Case Prep Assistant (CPA), a powered unit which drives a threaded shaft at a manageable speed and allows for batch jobs of brass preparation that will not leave a reloader’s fingers sore and their patience at an end. Constructed from an extruded aluminum channel which houses the switch, motor, gearbox and tool shaft the CPA should last for many years. Anodized in typical Hornady red colours, the CPA has 4 rubber base pads to give it a firm slip-resistant footing and shows off 4 nuts which are trapped along the outer tracks of the aluminum extrusion. These nuts are threaded for #8-32 which allows for a multitude of cleaning brushes and attachments to be stored directly on the unit itself.

Case_Prep_Contents

The Case Prep Assistant as shipped.

Case_Prep_Power

110V or 220V

Hornady’s sales pitch is as follows: “Make case preparation faster and easier than ever with the new Lock-N-Load® Power Case Prep Assistant. Its durable brushed aluminum housing and high torque, low speed motor will provide years of dependable use. Included are chamfer and debur tools, with plenty of on board storage for optional case prep accessories like our primer pocket cleaners, case neck brushes and any other 8-32 thread tools. Unit is compatible with 110V or 220V power.”

While TPF is unable to test for the higher voltage, Hornady’s CPA comes with a standard two prong adapter that is used in many parts of Europe/Russia. When plugged into a 110V outlet and switched on, the motor and gearbox establish a final output shaft speed of roughly two (2) revolutions per minute. Included is a small flat wrench whose jaw size corresponds with flats machined into the output shaft. Use of this tool is recommended for any tightening operation as one should try and protect the gearing mechanism in the CPA. TPF has had much experience in accidentally stripping gear teeth that such recommendations are taken seriously and followed to ensure longevity and secure attachments.

Case_Prep_Switch

A simple ON/OFF switch rides above the power connector jack.

The CPA comes with 4 sliding nuts which are used to mount/store all #8-32 threaded tools that are desired to be used with the tool. The current numbers and such mean that only five (5) tools can be attached to the CPA at any single time. The tool being currently utilized and four (4) additional ones that are secured via the nuts. Now it looks as though additional nuts can be installed by removing a plastic end plate which is secured with three retaining screws. TPF has not endeavoured to test this theory at this specific time, but it may be looked at after the testing for this overview.

Case_Prep_Included

Inside and outside chamfer attachments are included

With shaft output speed of approximately two revolutions per minute, Hornady’s Case Prep Assistant, is not a high volume production machine. It does however accomplish exactly what it sets out to be; an assistant to make certain case preparation tasks simpler, less tedious, and less time consuming. In this task it succeeds very well and requires a minimum of setup time to operate.  The simple linear design means the entire package is small and easily stored when not in use.  As stated, the only possible negative aspects of this tool are the lack of additional #8-32 storage provisions and the turning speed which may seem too slow to some users. Remember that the inside chamfer tool which is included has 6 cutting flutes and makes short work of inside neck chamfering, and the three prong outside chamfer tool only is used for deburring the case neck. For the other uses such as case neck lubing/cleaning just how fast does the brush need to be turning to properly be used?

Case_Prep_loaded2
Filling the #8-32 storage spots

It could be a fair tool for individuals looking to reduce the physical efforts and time used on case preparation, and ultimately requires multiple steps to be done in batches due to the required tool change-out

Hornady’s Case Prep Assistant is available from all retailers which stock Hornady products, such as The Gun Centre in Ontario, Frontier Firearms in Saskatchewan, amongst many others. This tool as reviewed has a listed MSRP of $120.88 USD.  As always however, it is up to you, the reader, to make your determination if this tool falls into one of the categories of Tactical, Practical, or Fantastical…

TPF notes that Hornady does offer a bigger brother to this machine, known as the Case Prep Center, which has case trimming and six (6) powered #8-32 attachment shafts for a full case preparation station. Of course with added features comes size and cost, but stay tuned, as TPF will have one up in review sometime in the future.

S&K Scope Mounts – Drill and tapping? Not necessarily…

TPF’s Definition File: Bubba’d – A firearm which has been altered/modified from its original configuration, usually in a crude, unprofessional manner. Most common modification for such firearms are to have a cut down, sporterized stock which do not look professional. Mainly used in reference to older military bolt action rifles which no longer are “true to original design”.

Drilled and tapped Enfield

Drilling and tapping. While fully functional, can never be undone

Canada is home to literally hundreds of thousands of Lee Enfields and other classic military rifles which more often than not have been “Bubba’d”. Most military rifles in the World Wars did not have provisions for mounting any form of optics and those that were had armourers who took select rifles aside and reworked them into being able to accept a scope mount. While nearly all modern manufactured rifles have provisions for attaching scope mounts with factory included mounting holes, older rifles, such as the Lee Enfield have no such option. Many of these common Canadian rifles have indeed been “Bubba’d” by the amateur DIY (Do It Yourself) handyman and other than the sporterizing of a stock, the next most common modification is the installation of a drill and tapped aftermarket scope mount. There is a reason why firearms enthusiasts use gunsmiths for much of their customizing work, because a competent gunsmith has the proper tools, patience, and reputation to uphold in order to successfully complete a high-quality permanent alteration. Yes anyone with a hand drill and a set of taps can create and mount a scope mount, but how precise is it? Most gunsmiths have layout tools, dial gauges to ensure proper placement, and various precision machining equipment to ensure high quality work.

SK Prior

Scope mount on an Enfield... After rear sight removal the question remains...To bubba or not to bubba....

Enter S & K Scope Mounts, a company started in 1964 with a desire to provide mounts for specialty niche firearms market. That niche involved the plentiful, older military rifles and way of attaching and securing scope mounts with minimal efforts and no permanent alterations. S & K have an enormous listing of former military firearms which are able to have an “Insta-Mount” installed, be it a to mount optics in a standard mounting position (beside/over bolt) or a scout mount position (forward of bolt/on barrel). All available mounts are custom manufactured for each specific model of rifle and are generally available with an integrated weaver rail or provisions for S&K’s proprietary scope rings which will be metioned later in this write-up.

Some of the types of rifles which S&K manufacture Insta-Mounts for:

  • M-1 CARBINE
  • LEE ENFIELD #4 Mark 1 or 2 #5 British Enfield Eddystone
  • 1917 ENFIELD P14 or P17
  • #1 MK III LEE ENFIELD #7
  • 1903 SPRINGFIELD
  • M-1A /M14
  • M-1 GARAND
  • FN-49
  • RUGER MINI-14
  • 1898 30-40 KRAG & NORW
  • GERMAN M-43,  G-43
  • LARGE RING MAUSER 8mm, Yugo 48, 98K, Argentine, Turkish, Braz 7mm (Rec dia. 1.400)
  • SMALL RING MAUSER Swedish, 93,94,95,96,633,640,M38,Spanish (Rec dia. 1.3)
  • JAP. ARISAKA 7.7
  • HK-91 & HK-93
  • SKS TYPE 56
  • WINCHESTER 94
  • MAS 49/56
  • 98K – MAUSER SCOUT
  • 1891 ARGENTINE MAUSER SCOUT
  • BUDAPEST M95 MAUSER SCOUT
  • CARL GUSTAF MAUSER SCOUT
  • Finnish Mosin Nagant M-39
  • Finnish 1891 – Also Russian 1891, Dragoon, M24, M27, M28 Scout
  • MOSIN NAGANT 91/30 & 91/59 Scout
  • MOSIN NAGANT M44 SCOUT

Installation methods are usually straight forward with the removal of original iron sight hardware, and replaced with a drop in, machined scope mount which is tensioned into secure position. This means that there if the user of an S&K Insta-Mount were to keep all the original parts, he could return the firearm into it’s original form without leaving tapped holes and such which would destroy the historic accuracy of the firearm. TPF was , the able to acquire several different versions of these scope mounts for some of the rifles owned by members of the Canadian firearms community.

SK Enfield Mount

S&K's Enfield MK4 & 5, Insta-Mount Weaver Style

For this installment of TPF, we install the Weaver style Insta-Mount for a Lee Enfield Mark 4, No 1 Rifle. S&K does not use castings or extrusions or lesser materials for their products, instead they opt to minimize costs by using inexpensive packaging. Quoting S&K, “After all, do you want a nice package or do you want the best scope mount available?” Within the simple packaging of the scope mount was a serious looking piece of steel that was machined very nicely, all required mounting hardware, and a simple but thorough page of instructions. The mount, three screws and a wedge nut. It was time to begin.

SK Enfield Screw

S&K uses pre-existing holes

As per instructions the original rear sight was removed and the two small slotted screws were used to install the mount in the existing receiver holes. This is were a small snag occurred. On installation of the angled nut and the retaining screw, it was found that once installed, the bolt could not be installed due to interference between the bolt head and the bottom of the angled nut. The angled nut was removed, the bolt installed, and then the angled nut was re-installed to complete the installation of the S&K scope mount for the Lee Enfield. TPF tested the functionality of the bolt and found zero binding issues so the conclusion was that it will not effect usage of the rifle at all, but if bolt removal is desired, the S&K Enfield mount needs to have the wedge nut removed to do so. Maybe it was just a quirk or build up of tolerances in the specific rifle or a slight variation between a Mk 4 & Mk 5 Enfield, but for most people who use Enfields for hunting or other occasional shooting endeavours, it will be installed for years if not decades before even considering removal for any reason.

SK installed

Two pivot screws and a torqued wedge. Ready for rings in under 15 minutes..

With the slight glitch, it was less than 15 minutes from the receiver without the rear sight to having the S&K scope mount fully installed and torqued into position. After which the entire package was completed via a set of weaver rings topped off with a typical Bushnell scope was put into position. Total time elapsed was under 30 minutes using nothing but a flat screwdriver and an allen key. The S&K scope mount appears very secure, rigidly mounted and very robust in design. This specific mount featured a weaver pattern ring mounting system which is very widely used. Another option available is a proprietary style of scope ring mounts which were the start of the company. These “SKulptured Bases” as well as corresponding “Smooth and Kontoured Rings” are machined entirely from a blank of steel and because S&K claims that these are the world’s strongest scope mounts; they are guaranteed for life (beyond deliberate destruction).

Enfield Scoped

The final product. Scoped and ready.

SK installed2

Installed, with clean lines and can be restored simply

How much are gun-smithing fees to have your rifle drilled and tapped and the cost of a set of scope mounts? Are there even scope mounts available for your old military rifle? This is where S&K shines as they are dedicated for quality, simplicity and drill and tap free designs.

S&K’s Insta-Mount for the Lee Enfield Mk 4 & Mk5, as reviewed by TPF, is available directly from S&K at an MSRP of $65.00 USD. As always it is up to the readers to determine if S&K Insta-Mounts for ex-military rifles are Tactical, Practical or Fantastical!

S&K’s Contact information:
Website: http://www.scopemounts.com
Email: comments@scopemounts.com
Phone: (814) 489-3091
Toll Free: (800) 578-9862

Addendum: TPF will be reviewing more S&K scope mounts in the future, with some other common ex-military rifles available in Canada as well as utilizing their S&K proprietary rings.

SK Future

Mauser K98 scout scope mount (left), and an M1 Garand, offset scope mount.

Stay Tuned!


Reloading – Is it worth the cost?

Many people ask a common question, over and over. Is it worth it to reload your own ammunition? To those questioning individuals the proper response is, “That depends…”

That depends on a few factors:

  • Do you shoot center-fire ammunition?
  • How much do you actually save?
  • What sort of annual ammunition expenditures do you have?
  • How much is your free time worth?

Do you shoot center-fire ammunition?

Ammo-Comparison

Are reloads (left) cost effective compared to factory?

Do not laugh at the question. People, in their need to make things both cheaper and with their own hands have learned various methods for manufacturing rim-fire rounds. That being said however, rim-fire ammunition in itself is not-re-loadable to 99.99999% of those who shoot it. Center-fire metallic cartridges, used primarily in rifles and handguns have four (4) components; the primer, case, powder, the bullet. Modern shotgun ammunition has five (5) components; the primer, hull, powder, wad, and the load. For this report, only Boxer primer styles are being considered.

  • Primer: The source of ignition for ammunition. A small diameter cup which contains a chemical compound which is activated by a percussive force. The activation of this compound results in the ignition of a cartridge’s powder charge in an assembled cartridge.
  • Case: Metallic cylinder which houses the primer, powder and bullet. Usually constructed of brass and can be nickel-plated as well and manufactured from alternate alloys. Brass however is the material most used and reloaded.
  • Hull: Similar to a Case, but normally has a metallic base, with the sides being constructed with a polymer based material. Some hulls are completely metallic.
  • Powder: The high rate burning compound which when enclosed in a case and ignited by the primer, combusts. The resultant gases created from this combustion (pressure) are what propel the bullet or wad/load down the barrel of the firearm.
  • Wad: A compressible plastic piece which has two purposes. First to create a seal in order to allow pressure to develop under powder ignition. Secondly, the compression of the wad allows for a larger perssure to be developed before the kinetic transfer of energy to the load (slug or pellets). It is launched out of the firearm, but the lighter mass and design have it fall away soon after discharge.
  • Bullet: The projectile launched out of the end of the firearm.
  • Load: This can be a single projectile (slug) or multiple ones (shot) which is launched out of the end of the firearm.

How much can you save?

This is an important factor as it can severely affect the decision for reloading. Why? It has to do with a factory cost baseline of ammunition, and we’ll use cheap factory ammunition.

  • Shotgun: 12ga 2-3/4″, #7.5 lead shot. Prices are $8 per box of 25, or $0.32 per round.
  • Rifle: .223 Remington 55gr FMJ, Prices are $12 per box of 20, or $0.60 per round.
  • Rifle: .300 Winchester Magnum, 180gr SP. Prices are $30 per box of 20, or $1.50 per round.
  • Handgun: 9x19mm Parabellum, 124gr RN. Prices are $18 per box of 50, or $0.36 per round.

Lets go right to reloading costs. DISCLAIMER! The author does NOT reload for shotgun and therefore cannot comment on the direct costs associated to reloading that particular genre of shooting. Plus all prices are approximate, there may be certain brands/sales where factory ammunition is indeed cheaper than reloading, but those are few and far between in TPF’s experience…

  1. Primers are about $0.04 apiece and with moderate loads all brass can be reused for 6 reloads, with many smaller cases lasting 10, 15 or more reloads.
  2. Brass costs per reload for .223/.300/9mm, assuming 6 reloads from spent factory ammunition is $0.10/0.30/0.06 respectively.
  3. Powder costs approximately $40 per pound, which is 7000 grains of powder. Case capacity for moderate loads of .223/.300/9mm equate to 25/75/5 grains of powder per respective load or a per round cost of $0.15/0.45/0.03.
  4. Bullets are the area where costs can be significantly reduced. Typical replacement bullet costs are wholly dependent on mass and construction. in the case of the .223 Remington, 55gr FMJ bullets can be obtained for as low as $0.15 each, and for the .300 WM; aftermarket hunting bullets are roughly $35 per 100 pieces. Plated bullets for the 9mm can be found for $0.11 each.
  5. Adding up the totals for reloading. .223 Remington can be reloaded for $0.44, or a savings of $0.16 per round. .300WM for $1.14 each or a savings of $0.36 per round. With 9mm, reloading at $0.25 saves $0.11 per factory round.

These numbers are the BASIC savings, as factory ammunition quality/brand increases so do the costs per round. As an example, a high performance .300WM box of ammunition can reach $45+ per box. That jumps the costs per factory round to $2.25 each, and reloading would increase the bullet cost to closer to $0.66 each or $1.45 per reload for a resultant $0.80 saving per round…

So now that we see how much actual savings that can be had with reloading, we get into usage?

How much center-fire ammunition do you shoot annually?

Are you a hunter and if you are lucky shoot a 20-25 rounds of ammunition in a single year? Do you target shoot for fun and use up 100-200 rounds a year or do you compete and throw thousands of rounds downrange every year? This is one of the most important factors to consider if determining to get into reloading. It is a part of the return on investment, ROI, of reloading equipment. As we have already discussed the basic savings per round of reloading, you can determine your ROI. Reloading equipment is not free and what would work best for a re-loader depends on how much shooting is actually done. There are several types of reloading presses and equipment available, every single one can do what it was meant to do. Reload ammunition with the necessary components.

  1. Portable re-loader kit: A small self-contained reloading kit. Runs about $40-$75. Experienced reloading rate of about 20+ rounds per hour. Can be transported easily. Examples include Lee Loader, Lee hand press, etc…
  2. Single Stage Press: Only allows for single reloading die to be utilized at a time, therefore only one cartridge receives the associated operation at a time. Base prices range from $100 to $250. Experienced reloading rate of about 40-80+ rounds per hour. Examples include RCBS Rockchucker, Hornady LNL Classic, etc…
  3. Turret Press: Allows for multiple dies to be installed, decreasing down time and allowing for a complete round to be manufactured by indexing the dies in sequence. Faster than a single stage due to less die change outs. Base prices range from $150 to $500. Experienced reloading rate of about 60-120+ rounds per hour. Examples include Redding T-7, RCBS Turret, Lee 4-Hole Turret, etc…
  4. Progressive press: Multiple dies, multiple cases at a time. A progressive press combines multiple shell die stations with a multiple case indexing device. Much greater speeds and complexity. Base prices range from $250 to $700. Experienced reloading rate of about 150-400+ rounds per hour. Examples include Dillon 650XL, Hornady LNL-AP, Lee Load Master, RCBS Pro 2000, etc…
Cases

Component #1, the reusable case

Primers

Component #2, primer

Powder

Component #3, Powder

Bullets

Component #4, The bullet

Savings

180gr .40 S&W, 6th reload (left) vs. factory. Not as shiny but still 100% functional!

Now that you have basics to compare, you can see that what volume you shoot will have an impact on what type of reloading press you might be interested in. If you shoot 100 rounds a year, are you willing to spend $500 on a press. Even saving $0.80 per reload, this scenario would equate to over 6 years before seeing any actual savings… Yet a Lee Loader kit would have an ROI in just over 9 months. Shoot 10,000 rounds? Saving $0.11 a round adds up fast every year!

How much is your free time worth?

You have an idea of reload rates from the basic numbers given above, and even those are flexible depending on what additional options you decide on. Case feeders, electronic scales, case preparation tools, tumblers, even bullet feeders and motorized press drive units. All can contribute to changing your reloading rates. However, the next question is how much is your free time worth? Do you as a re-loader want to spend 1/2/4/8/more hours a week/month/year reloading? Is reloading a chore or a form of meditation? If time equals money, or a lack of time is the issue, one can decide that a higher production volume is worth the extra financial expenditure in the beginning. If you reload for multiple calibres, do you want multiple pre-setup presses, or just the components to interchange on a single press? These are questions you need to answer long before you even decide on the type of press you would like… However, if your time is plentiful and considered free, the author can guarantee that the majority of re-loaders want you over to help them reload…

Appreciating Reloading…

The true appreciation of reloading has several levels. One of those appreciations comes with shooting a less costly ammunition with expected results. Another is the fact that via reloading, an individual can “tune” a reload to function superbly in their firearm, by recoil, accuracy, and general performance. Tuning is not fast and can involved myriads of combinations and can be regulated down to the finest detail including brass weights and concentrically of bullets. The difference of a 100mm (4.0″) group at 100m (110 yds), versus a 12mm (0.5″) is moot to some and extremely satisfying to others. One of the final and most overlooked appreciations of reloading is the fact that you are shooting something that YOU made. Self-satisfaction of a job well done is evident when the bullet hits the target that was aimed at.

There is one small detail worth mentioning however. As most re-loaders will inform those who ask about saving money; Yes, reloading allows an individual to save money when doing a factory to reloaded round cost comparison, but reloading usually makes it likely that you will shoot MORE ammunition! “I used to shoot 1000 rounds of 9mm ammo annually prior to reloading and I saved $0.10 a round by reloading, but now I shoot 2000 rounds a year… I spend more now…”

TPF is proud to be able to present this basic reloading checklist for prospective re-loaders. However, TPF does not endorse any one reloading company, as we would hope that readers can make their own informed decisions with some research and knowing what they require. Should you decide to take the reloading plunge, Congratulations!