Decided Which #8 Shot Shells to Use
Back in July we posted a blog related to “Trying Out New #8 Shot Shells” for 3-Gun activities – and ended by saying that we would let you know what we figured out after we had completed our testing of the following 4 types of 12 Gauge 2 ¾” #8 shot shells:
1) Winchester Super X - Upland Game
2) Winchester Super Target - Light Target
3) Fiocchi Shooting Dynamics Target Loads
4) Federal Premium Gold Medal Grand™ Competition Clay Target Loads
Normally we use 2 ¾” 00 Buckshot shells in our shotguns since they are “tactical” in nature (as opposed to being used for skeet shooting or hunting). However, because we had been doing more 3-gun shooting, where 00 Buckshot is overkill when shooting at clay and paper targets, we decided that we needed to find a good #8 shot shell for the 3-gun range.
Well, after putting a lot of lead down range, we’ve decided to use the “Fiocchi Shooting Dynamics Target Loads” 2 ¾” #8 shot shells (Manufacturer #12SD1L8, UPC #762344705538) going forward for our 3-gun activities.
Although all 4 of the shells that we tested worked well, we decided to choose the Fiocchi shells for a variety of reasons.
1) Fiocchi is the world leader in shot shell manufacturing making more than 500 million
cases each year. Fiocchi also helped pioneer the lower recoil 1 oz load.
2) Good quality shotgun shells.
3) Gives a nice tight pattern due to the 1,170 fps velocity and lead pellet
4) Never had a FTF or FTE - always reliable.
5) Good combination of economy and performance – cost per shell ~$0.25
6) One-piece shot cup
7) Clean-burning powder
8) Reliable Fiocchi primers
9) Cushioned wads
10) First-run chilled shot. High-antimony (5%) lead pellets with nearly perfect
You can find the details about the #8 Shot Fiocchi Shooting Dynamics Target Loads on the Shooting/Ammunition page.
Packing Lighter for Endurance and Speed
These days many people are not just out there backpacking, they’re lightweight, ultra-lightweight and super-ultra-lightweight backpacking so that they can travel further and faster. So what are the definitions of lightweight, ultra-lightweight and super-ultra-lightweight backpacking, and what gear do you need to jettison from your normal load to give it a go?
The short answer is that for lightweight backpacking your “base pack” should weigh less than 20 pounds. Ultra-lightweight requires a base pack weight of less than 10 pounds and super-ultra-lightweight requires a base pack that weighs less than 5 pounds. Note that “base pack weight” refers to the weight of all the items in your backpack, including the backpack, with the exception of your consumables (food, water and fuel). Base pack weight also doesn't include the clothing that you are wearing to hike. Alternatively “skin-out weight” refers to everything in your pack plus your consumables and the clothes that you are wearing. In other words, skin-out weight is what you weigh with your clothes and backpack on - minus the weight of your naked body. But there’s a lot more to Lightweight, Ultra-lightweight and Super-ultra-lightweight backpacking.
Luckily one of our website’s readers found a great article on Angie’s List (thanks Steven and Stephanie - who knew that they had hiking articles on Angie’s List) that summarizes this trend and provides lots of links to other websites to give you all the necessary information to get you started. Since the article nicely aligns with our thoughts on the topic we thought that we would pass it along - "Ultralight Backpacking: Keeping the Packing List Short". You can find the article here:
….and here’s a complete listing of the 21 links that the article references:
1) Start Lightweight Backpacking
2) Ultralight Backpacking Guide (How to Easily Conquer Lightweight Hiking)
3) Working Gear List: The Big Three
4) The Big Three: How to Lighten Your Backpack, Sleeping Bag and Shelter
5) Lightweight Backpacking Step 2: The Big Three
6) Ultralight Makeover
7) How Much Should Your pack Weigh?
8) A Weekend Backpacking Checklist for First-Timers
9) Lightweight Backpacking: The Big Three
10) How to Pick Your Big Three
11) Water for Hiking
13) How to Cut Water Weight: A Backpacker's Guide to Hydration
14) Ultralight Backpacking: 10 Tips for Shaving Weight Without Sacrificing Comfort
15) Tips for Lightening Your Backpacking Load
16) How to Calculate Backpack Weight with LighterPack
17) Organize Your Backpacking Trip
18) How to Pack and Organize a Backpack for a Euro Trip
19) Long-Distance Hiking: Lessons from the Appalachian Trail
20) Pack Like a Pro: Ultralight Backpacking with Scott Robertson
21) Making the Switch to Ultralight Backpacking
If you read the article you’ll see that many of the embedded links talk about the need to first sort out your backpack, shelter and sleeping bag/system (the “big three”) since they are the absolute required gear and weigh the most. After that, assuming that you still have remaining weight allowance, you need to add water, food, fuel, cooking/eating utensils, first aid kit, etc.
So, if you’re interested in challenging yourself with a Lightweight, Ultra-lightweight or Super-ultra-lightweight backpacking adventure, look over all this great information and get out there…….
Seirus Innovation 1171 Mens Xtreme Waterproof All Weather Form Fit Glove with Soundtouch Touch Screen Technology
If you’re outdoors, and the weather is both cold and wet, one invaluable piece of gear that you need is a good pair of waterproof gloves – especially here in New England. The only problem is that many waterproof gloves don’t breathe, don’t allow you to have good dexterity and aren’t sturdy enough for actually doing real work - like chopping wood.
Recently we’ve spent a fair amount of time looking for a good pair of waterproof gloves and finally found a pair that we liked; the Seirus Innovation 1171 Mens Xtreme Waterproof gloves. We like the fact that they provide a tight fit and have a tall wrist cuff that keeps out the cold air and snow – while allowing us the dexterity to use tools in the cold.
You can find the details about the Seirus Mens Xtreme Waterproof gloves on the Camping/Tools page.
As with most gear, everyone has their own opinions about firearms; what specifications matter, which firearm is better, which firearm should be used for what application, etc.,
Because of this, one of the topics that comes up alot is the comparison between the AR-15 and the AK-47, and the various pros and cons of each. The AR-15 is the best-selling rifle in the US, while the AK-47 is one of the most widely recognized rifles on Earth. Both weapons might be similar in appearances, but on closer observation, they are truly worlds apart.
Here's a side-by-side infographic comparison of the basic functionality and specifications of these two popular guns that was pulled together by TacticalGear.com:
Who Reads Hiking, Camping and Shooting?
Recently someone asked where the readers of our website were located - so we thought that we would share the data with you.
We have readers from all 50 States in the US and over 75 other countries around the world.
Here's a couple of screenshots from the website's analytics showing where our readers are::
Needless to say, we appreciate all of you – our readers around the world.
Which States are the Worst (and Best) for Gun Ownership?
Guns & Ammo has been publishing their evaluation of the gun laws of each State for the past six years, and on 31 October 2018 they published an article [“Best States for Gun Owners (2018)”] by Keith Wood with this year’s evaluation.
As with previous years their evaluations are based on the following 5 categories:
As always there’s a lot of great information – not only on a State-by-State basis - but on the overall trends across the US – since many times legislation that successfully passes in one State gets fed to anti-gun organizations in other States to see if they can get it passed too. Not to spoil the article – but here’s a summary table with their overall ratings - sorted from Worst to Best :
If you want to read the entire Guns & Ammo article (which we highly recommend) you can find it here:
Another Good Source for Gear Reviews, Gear Checklists and Outdoor Knowledge
These days there’s lots of information related to Hiking, Camping and Shooting gear on the internet – some of it good and detailed - and some of it superficial and just plain wrong. Since we like to help our readers save time by focusing on information from good online resources (instead of wasting your time surfing all over and filtering out bad resources) we list the best sites that we find on our website under the heading of “Other Helpful Information Sources”.
Because the content on the internet is constantly changing, we also update our references when we find new ones that we like. Recently the folks at MyOpenCountry.com found our website online and reached out to us to us since we both love the Outdoors and share a common point of view. We hadn’t seen their site before so we looked it over and really liked the information that they were putting online.
We especially liked that they had a specific sections for “Hiking & Camping Gear”, “Hiking & Camping Tips & Guides" and “Trip Inspiration” – much like the content on our site.
In addition to all of their other content, the folks at My Open Country just published a great detailed article with their point of view on the gear you need for Hiking titled "What to Carry: 3 Season Hiking Gear Checklist”; they even included a downloadable checklist to make things easier for you.
Their article starts with some "Quick Tips: Do's & Don’ts" and then the covers the areas listed below in more detail:
So, if you’re searching for another great outdoor information source, you might want to take a look at, and bookmark, MyOpenCountry.com.
If you want to see our latest gear checklists you can download PDF versions of them here:
Disaster Preparedness Gear
Tactical Shooting in the Rain
This weekend we attended a full-day Progressive Carbine Class taught by Scott Germain of Center Mass Weapons Training and Jon Green of the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL). This class was a follow-on to a similar class that we took with them a little over a year ago.
The carbine class was a hands-on, fast paced, live fire course for shooters that know the fundamentals of carbine shooting and want to improve their tactical skills. The training started with the combat mindset, then covered topics that included properly zeroing your firearm at 50 yards, compensating for “height over bore”, proper prone/sitting/kneeling/standing shooting positions, proper sling use, malfunction remediation, reloading techniques, shooting while moving, shooting under stress, “9-hole” and barricade drills, strong and weak side shooting, and speed shooting with accuracy.
For most people the most challenging exercise was shooting the “9-hole” from 100 yards since it forces you to shoot through small openings in a barricade from very odd angles. To make it even harder, since your carbine is not in the normal vertical position (in many cases it is tilted more than 90 degrees), you have to compensate for the fact that the bullet’s path to the target is not a straight line – but a parabolic trajectory. Because of this you really have to think about where to aim.
Another great drill was shooting 10 rounds into a 12” target from 100 yards in the prone position, then running to the 75 yard line and shooting 10 rounds into a different 12” target from the seated position, then running up to the 50 yard position and shooting 10 rounds into another 12” target from the kneeling position, and finally running to the 25 yard line and shooting 10 rounds into another 12” target from the standing position, The combination of the running (which increases your heart rate and makes it harder to acquire the target and aim), the different positions (which changes your geometry with the firearm and your optical point of view) , the different distances (which require you to adjust your aim point) and the different elevations of the targets made it challenging to keep good shot groups.
Even though it was raining 6 of the 8 hours that we were on the range, the instruction was great and it was a fun day.
You can find out more about Center Mass Weapons Training at:
You can find out more about the Massachusetts Gun Owners Action League (GOAL) at:
Aerial 4K Video of Fall in Vermont
Since we are lucky to live in New England during Autumn, we get to see the colors that explode at this time of year by just looking at the trees in our yard. For those of you not in New England, here's a great aerial video from northernvermontaerial.com that shows the breathtaking beauty of the land:
Preparing for Fall Hiking
Well Autumn is in full swing here in New England. For some people that means that the happy days of Summer Hiking and Camping are over – for us it means that there are even more beautiful sights to see in the outdoors. But one thing is sure, hiking in the Fall requires different preparation than the other seasons. So here’s some tips from what we have learned over the years.
Be prepared for shorter daylight hours. Because of this you should plan to start and end your hikes a little earlier. If you are planning a half day hike (e.g. ~6 hours) you probably need to be on the trail by 10:00 AM to give yourself a little buffer. As Fall approaches Winter you probably need to even start earlier since here in New England sunset will arrive between 4:30 and 5:00 PM. When you plan your hike read your guidebook or trail map ahead of time and be realistic in assessing your group’s ability to complete the hike in the allocated time. As always, make sure that you tell someone what your plans are before you depart, especially if you are hiking solo. If your plans change, make sure that you let your contact know.
Be prepared for changes in temperature. Since temperatures can change 20 or 30 degrees during a Fall day make sure that you pack an extra layer in case your hike takes longer than you planned and the temperature begins to drop. Wear polypropylene or other wicking layers. Don’t wear cotton since it can soak up perspiration, mist and rain - and stays wet, making you even colder – especially if it is a windy day. On colder days make sure that you pack gloves and a hat – and perhaps a down or fleece vest.
Make sure that you have the appropriate rain gear. If you unexpectedly get caught out in the rain without a rain shell or poncho an adventurous hike will turn into a miserable outing.
Make sure that you have enough water. Because the air is cooler and moister than in Summer, many people fail to bring the water that they need to stay hydrated on fall hikes. Bring at least 2 quarts of water for any hike longer than two hours.
Make sure that you have some food for energy. It’s always a good idea to have some high energy food with you on a hike, On a Fall hike it’s probably even more important since your body needs to generate more heat to combat the colder temperatures. So take some snacks with you.
Make sure that you take all of your normal Hiking gear – especially your First Aid and Emergency Supplies since your survival may depend on them if there is a problem on the trail and you have to spend the night in the wild.
Check the latest weather reports and trail conditions before you so. Since the weather can be more variable in Autumn make sure that you know what you are getting into before you start. If there has been wet weather lower elevations may be muddy and slippery, while higher elevations may have snow and ice.
If you are in a location that has Fall hunting seasons make sure that you increase your awareness while hiking and take the appropriate safety precautions. Pay attention to trail signs as you enter an area. It’s also probably a good idea to avoid hiking in the early morning or at dusk when most hunters are active.
If you make a fire make sure that you are even more cautious than usual since all of the fallen leaves (assuming that they are dry) increase the chance of a forest fire should something go awry. Keep fires in designated areas, fire rings, fire pans, or mound fires.
But whatever you do – get out there and enjoy the beautiful Fall weather and sights. You might even want to check one of the online websites that shows when the trees are at their peak Fall colors so that you can experience the full majesty of nature.
What's On This Page?
Here's where we post reviews, questions, answers, thoughts and other information that's of general interest to our followers in a blog format.