Followup: Burris Speedbead and Fastfire III

speedbead3While I’ve railed against the use of shotgun optics for a long time, I’ve come to realize they do serve a valid purpose in certain situations.  For instance, when patterning different loads, you might find a particular shell patterns very well but the point of impact is not where the bead is being held.  If you’re just using the bead on the barrel, you’re forced to find another load that has a truer point of impact.  The other nice part of having a sight like the FastFire III is your cheek can creep off the stock and you will still hit what you’re holding on.  So ok, I’ll eat my words.  Shotgun optics do have a purpose. [Read more…]

First look: Burris Speedbead With Fastfire III

burris fastfire

After thinking about it for some time, my dad has decided to add an optic to his turkey gun.  I’ve seen just about everything stuck to the top of a shotgun receiver.  I even saw a guy with a Trijicon ACOG mounted on his turkey gun.  This Burris unit is a little more slick than most.

Let’s start with the mount.  A lot of shotguns are drilled and tapped for scope mounts.  I know most of the Benelli turkey guns are.  This allows the traditional mount point on top of the receiver via a standard scope base or picatinny rail.  The Browning Maxus comes with no mounting holes.  You’re also not able to drill and tap it because it is made of an aluminum alloy.  Enter the Speedbead from Burris.  It is sandwiched between the receiver and stock and doesn’t require any permanent modifications.  The mount also lets the sight ride a little lower than if it was mounted on the receiver so in theory, you could sight through it down the barrel if the batteries in the sight died.

At first look, the Burris Speedbead looks to be a solid alternative to a traditional optic mount.  Once we get the gun zeroed, I’ll further review the actual sight and cover any issues that might pop up with the mount.  So far, though, so good.


Custom Benjamin Marauder Project Complete



It took a little longer than I’d planned, but I got the Marauder buttoned up.  I ended up shooting the stock with a flat PPG auto paint.  It’s plenty durable and took me 15 minutes to do.  I used a friend’s paint booth at his body shop.  You could could also use a rattle can but your results might not be perfect.

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Hog Hunting With Elephant Guns

Nothing quite like shooting a hog with a .577 Nitro Express.

Custom Benjamin Marauder Project Part 1

After almost a year of shooting the Benjamin Marauder, I decided mine was due for a makeover.  Nothing crazy, just simple, functional, and relatively inexpensive.

benjamin marauder

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Red-Headed Stepchild: The Browning A500

red browning buckhead

Over the years, Browning has produced some memorable shotguns like the legendary A5 and the unparalleled Superposed over under.  It has also produced some less than memorable offerings like the B2000 and much loathed A500.

Built in the early 80’s, the A500 was introduced as a short recoil auto loader that could cycle both 2 3/4 and 3 inch rounds which was something the A5 could not do without changing friction rings.  From 1987 to 1992, the gun was offered in two separate types: the A500G which was gas operated and the the short recoiling A500R.

I’ve been a proud A500R owner since 2000 when my dad traded some old dog kennels for the showroom condition Browning with a 28 inch Invector choked barrel.  His intention was to put together a turkey gun for me so he sent it to Jim Crumley [Read more…]

GoPro Gun Mount

I’ve messed around with GoPro cameras since the Hero 2 version and for all their shortcomings, they’re a pretty neat camera.  Not essential by any means, but fun, and every now and then you get something good. Using what I had on my work bench, I cobbled together pretty simple mount for my shotgun that gives a little perspective too.  shotgun gopro [Read more…]

Pellet Rifle Squirrel Hunting

What do you do when you’re waiting for late archery season to come in?  Take your Crosman airgun squirrel hunting.


Holiday Gift Guide Day 6

Benjamin Trail NP2

Benjamin Trail NP2There is no excuse to be without a good air rifle.  From teaching a young person marksmanship and gun safety, to having a reliable truck gun that will always go “bang,” they’re kind of indispensable.  They’re also very effective small game weapons and can provide endless hours of enjoyment.  The Benjamin Trail NP2 from Crosman is a perfect addition for anyone looking for a good general purpose air rifle.  Exceptionally accurate and easy to shoot, the NP2 does it all.  Available in black synthetic or wood, and .177 or .22 caliber.  $299.00


Muzzleloader Zero

With Kansas early muzzleloader season fast approaching, it was time to check the zero on my muzzleloader.  It hadn’t been shot since last season and has spent the last 9 months gathering dust.  I’m shooting a T/C Encore Pro Hunter for the third year in a row and I’m really pleased with it.

T/C Encore

It’s got a Nikon Omega 3×9 scope locked down with a really cool one piece mount from DeadNutz.  The scope has the bullet drop compensator reticle but to be perfectly honest, this gun shoots so flat, I don’t really use it.  Nice touch though.  The glass is good and clear and it picks up plenty of light at dusk.  The one piece scope mount is machined from aluminum and really tough.  It also really saves on weight.

I’ve experimented with all different types of powder charges and bullet weights.  Last year I spent a lot of time shooting a 200 grain bullet with different grain powder charges hoping to achieve superior accuracy with a lighter bullet that might be more prone to expansion.  Long story short, I could never get consistent groups out of any combo that involved a 200 grain bullet.  I went back to the old standby 250 grain T/C Shockwave with 150 grains of Pyrodex pellets and the results speak for themselves.  That powder bullet combo hits what you point it at. I started with this load in a cold, clean bore at 50 yards.  When the smoke cleared, I was 0.5 inches low and slightly right. I couldn’t remember the last time I shot this rifle but apparently I put it away zeroed.  I moved the target back to 100 yards, loaded another and shot at the same target.  This shot landed .25 inches low and slightly left.

encore target

Satisfied with those two shots I set a target at 150 yards.  The last deer I killed in Kansas was shot at this distance so I know it might be a possibility on this upcoming trip. Centering the main crosshair on the orange dot, the 250 grain bullet hit about 1 .25 inches low and slightly left.  That’s close enough for me.

encore target 2

If I see a buck at 150 yards in a bean field, I feel pretty certain I have a good chance of making a good shot on him.  I might even stretch it out to 200 yards if I can find a spot to do it.   I’ve got my muzzleloading supplies organized and my Kansas bags are packed.  Only 25 days before the season opener and it can’t come soon enough.