Two hunters winter trail
episode 16 | Apr 1, 2020
Hunting & Fishing

Ep. 16: Firearms, Optics, and Equipment for New Hunters

In this episode of The Silvercore Podcast Travis Bader sits down with Silvercore pro staffer and hunter extraordinaire, Paul Ballard to discuss gear for new hunters. There are so many options to choose from it can be overwhelming, particularly to someone starting out. We cut through the clutter and explain what you need, what you don’t and where your money is best spent so that you can have a productive and enjoyable hunt.
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Travis Bader: [00:00:12] I’m Travis Bader and this is The Silvercore Podcast. Join me as I discuss matters related to hunting, fishing, and outdoor pursuits, the people in businesses that comprise of the community. If you’re new to Silvercore, be sure to check out our website, Where you can learn more about courses, services, and products that we offer, as well as how you can join the Silvercore Club, which includes 10 million North America wide liability insurance to ensure you are properly covered during your outdoor ventures.

[00:00:47] In this episode, I sit down with Silvercore pro staffer, Paul Ballard, and we discuss gear for new hunters. We also discuss a number of ongoing promotions and giveaways that Silvercore’s running and explain how you can participate in those.

[00:01:01] Speaking of promotions, Vortex Optics has a sweet apparel package that you can learn more about in this podcast as well as on our website. The winner will be asked a simple skill testing question from our Episode 15 Vortex podcast with Jimmy Hamilton. So make sure to give that one a listen if you want to win.

[00:01:23] I’m sitting down with Paul Ballard, I’m super excited. This is our very first time that you and I have had the chance to do a podcast, just the two of us.

Paul Ballard: [00:01:30] And of course it’s not just the two of us, cause I brought my dog Scooter.

Travis Bader: [00:01:34] We got Scooter on your foot, so if any cords get unplugged or you hear him barking in the background, we’ll just have to reset things and then we’re good.

[00:01:43] So Paul, you gave me an email and you said, I really want to do a podcast talking about rifle, optics, equipment, that would be of interest to a new Hunter.

Paul Ballard: [00:01:55] I think my involvement with the CORE program, you know, my real love for [00:02:00] education and, and meeting so many people new to the pursuit, you know, you call it a sport, let’s call it a pursuit, and have so many questions about what they should be getting as a new Hunter and, and how to start and guidance, you know, uh, coming from somebody who has nothing to gain by it is sometimes maybe, maybe better.

[00:02:19] You know, whether we’re talking to the, uh, the guy behind the counter who’s got something to make on it, or just basing stuff on experience. And I’d like to talk about based on experience and my connections with other hunters and what they’ve learned.

Travis Bader: [00:02:33] I, I totally agree. Now, you and I share the same passion of bringing new people into the fold, of showing people how to hunt, how to fish, how to use your firearms effectively.

[00:02:46] And there’s a lot of pride that you see when people come through the courses and they, they learn and they go through the process.

Paul Ballard: [00:02:53] Oh and there’s nothing like, you know, after a CORE training session that you’ve done and some, several months down the, the line, you’ve forgotten the, maybe the name of the person or forgot that they were on the class and into your inbox comes a picture of ‘here’s the deer I got on my first trip’.

[00:03:09] And that still just takes me, you know, I get goosebumps when I think about that. How, how I’ve had some influence on that person to get in there, and particularly the younger people that are there too. And not to discount any of the adults, but boy, that’s what makes it worthwhile and that’s, you know, the karma side to all of this. Hopefully by giving back that I’m going to go forward and get something from it.

Travis Bader: [00:03:32] Get that good. Who-ju and Juju from the hunting gods. It’s a, it sounds weird.

Paul Ballard: [00:03:36] I’m nodding my head.

Travis Bader: [00:03:37] It seems to work. It does seem to work. Now, one thing that I notice that’s quite common in any activity or sport that you get into is that somebody will be hot and heavy, right?

[00:03:49] When they get into it, and maybe they do some training, maybe they don’t. Maybe they’ve got some money to burn in their wallet, and they figure I can get from [00:04:00] point A to point B really quickly if I spend a lot of money.

Paul Ballard: [00:04:03] Yes, and you know, so it becomes an equipment race and dedicating a whole lot of money to something that may turn out in the end, not to be exactly what you wanted.

Travis Bader: [00:04:14] Right.

Paul Ballard: [00:04:15] We see that happens a lot. So I’m a big fan of going into this with a bit of a budget. There are some things that you should spend money on and spend good money on to get quality equipment, but in other places, you can go with some entry level stuff that will be perfectly suitable for what you want.

[00:04:34] And we’ll help you grow, uh, help you learn, you know, and sort of weed out what you really want for particularly your rifle. I think.

Travis Bader: [00:04:42] And most people will learn this through trial and error. Not, not everybody’s got somebody to tap them on the shoulder and say, ‘Hmm, you know, you’d be better served by picking this up’.

Paul Ballard: [00:04:52] A lot of times people say, well, I want to get one rifle in my life. That’s it, and I want that first purchase to be that. And you just think, man, that’s a, that’s a tough one because, rifles have come and gone in my life, and I thought, I’m going to love this rifle, I’ve researched it, uh, you know everything from the cartridge fires to, you know, the operation of the bolt to the stock configuration and within a five shots down range, you go.

[00:05:20] This is not it. This is not it. And then I’ve picked up other rifles that I’ve either, you know, got for next to nothing, or just taken on a, on a bit of a, yeah, I’ll give it a go, and you love them.

Travis Bader: [00:05:32] Right.

Paul Ballard: [00:05:33] And surprisingly, some of those have been very, very well priced items, you know, in fact, entry-level ones. And I’m shocked as to the performance I get out of there. And, I mean, the other side to it, if people want to spend a huge amount of money on this stuff, hunting is not gentle on your equipment. It is not. When you set your rifle down on some sharp rock sometime and you pick it up, and that beautiful Walnut stock now has a ding in there.

[00:06:00] Some people say, ‘Oh, that’s a memory, dang I’ll think of this hunting trip’, but eh, I don’t know, It sometimes pays to look the other way.

Travis Bader: [00:06:09] And I’ve been on both sides of that as well too. You know, I like kit, I like gear. There’s shiny things out there that you just fall in love with, but then you get out in the field and you want to use it and you can’t use it to its potential because like you say, you’re afraid of putting it down.

[00:06:25] You’re afraid of using it in a way that it’s designed to be. So getting into, hunting or shooting sports and starting off with something that you’re not going to cry if the thing tips over.

Paul Ballard: [00:06:40] I remember years ago, just as an example on the duck hunting side of things.

Travis Bader: [00:06:44] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:06:44] I acquired a beautiful Italian made, over and under, 12 gauge, long tubes on it, and that was my waterfowl gun.

[00:06:54] The Fit and finish of the furniture, the, the finish of the steel on it. I had all kinds of, you know, gun shops and everything. It would go out in a case and every time, you know, in the good old aluminum canoe, nothing worse than that for making marks, and it was more of a concern that I didn’t damage that gun than applying to the hunting that I was doing.

[00:07:16] So better off to look at some coated gun, tou know, synthetic stocks, you don’t worry nearly as much about it and you get on with the job at hand.

Travis Bader: [00:07:25] Well, let’s talk about rifles. I mean, that’s where most people’s head goes.

Paul Ballard: [00:07:29] Wanna start with.

Travis Bader: [00:07:30] Yeah.

Paul Ballard: [00:07:30] This may be a bit contradictory to what I’ve said in the past that, you know, what you typically want to do is start looking for binoculars first. But let’s presume, that person we’re talking to has their, their PAL, has their firearms license.

Travis Bader: [00:07:44] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:07:45] So now they want to go and find that rifle. For hunting purposes, practical hunting purposes. We look at, you know, some action types and lever action, pump action, break action. Those are some sort of alternate, but I think by far the backbone action for, um, British Columbia, North American hunting is going to be a magazine fed, bolt action centerfire rifle.

Travis Bader: [00:08:10] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:08:10] That’s gonna, that’s going to be that backbone of your big game, uh, battery for being what’s out there. So, you know, with due respect to some of the other stuff, and maybe on another podcast, talk about alternates, let’s look at a bolt action rifle.

Travis Bader: [00:08:24] Let’s do that.

Paul Ballard: [00:08:24] And you know, the, the turn bolt system that’s been around for a 100+ years now, uh, has been through, uh, military development, sports development.

[00:08:34] What we’re seeing today, in many of the modern bolt action rifles is a CNC designed firearm, and that has brought costs way down. So some 50 years ago, when I kind of started into this stuff, most bolts were hand-fitted for sure, if they weren’t a custom fit. But at some point in the, after the forging and milling processes that went in there, somebody in the factory was going at it with a file and, and measuring everything in.

[00:09:01] So the cost of a quality bolt action firearm was higher in the past. Today through the benefits of, you know, computer and CNC manufacturing processes where things are laser cut, the precision of a, of a firearm is up and the costs are down and it seems like all of the big manufacturers have their entry level CNC.

[00:09:24] Um, I going to talk about, you know, so Tikka, the great finish gun maker, their T3, what an awesome rifle.

Travis Bader: [00:09:32] Yes.

Paul Ballard: [00:09:33] I, I’m totally behind that as their entry level. Probably a little higher than some of the North American rifles,

Travis Bader: [00:09:40] It is.

Paul Ballard: [00:09:40] But nonetheless, it’s there. I have a personal affinity to Ruger.

Travis Bader: [00:09:44] Yeah, you do.

Paul Ballard: [00:09:45] And the American series, I am just blown away by the accuracy that I’ve been able to get out of those rifles that I’ve owned in the American series and my current, you know, love affairs with my American predator. Short, stiff barrel.

[00:10:01] It’s got a synthetic stock on it. It’s got a fully adjustable trigger. Uh, their synthetic stock is, it’s plastic, but it has betting blocks in it for accuracy. And it’s a reasonable, or was when I bought it, extremely reasonably priced, but still remains in a good price point.

Travis Bader: [00:10:17] What did you buy it for?

Paul Ballard: [00:10:19] I think I bought it for under 400 bucks.

Travis Bader: [00:10:21] Nice.

Paul Ballard: [00:10:21] I think it was like $397 and within a couple of months it had jumped up to the mid $400’s and I think it’s now, uh, up into, into the $500 range. But nonetheless, that’s not a bad outlay for a new rifle.

Travis Bader: [00:10:34] And at $500, you’d say worth it?

Paul Ballard: [00:10:36] Worth it. Every penny. I’ve had it now in 30-06, .243 and the .308 now I, I’ve since moved on from the .243 and 30-06 but the focus on that .308 and that thing is a tack driver.

[00:10:50] It’s of an extremely convenient, compact design. Reliable as I’ll get out. It has a plastic rotary magazine that goes with it, which is, is good. They’ve since improved on that a little bit, uh, but other than that, the adjustable trigger and the accuracy is supreme and particularly with tune handles that I’ve done.

Travis Bader: [00:11:09] And that’s got a shorter barrel on it too?

Paul Ballard: [00:11:11] It is, yeah, so it’s a, yeah. So we’re looking at an 18” barrel as opposed to like a traditional 22” barrel for a standard calibre.

Travis Bader: [00:11:19] Which is great for both maneuverability as well as for your barrel harmonics whip, or torsional stiffness.

Paul Ballard: [00:11:25] That’s correct, and it’s a stiffer barrel.  So you know what you would typically get, you know, your concerns with, uh, with whip from a longer barrel. This one stiffens up when it heats up, it doesn’t really lose its zero like a traditional fine tapered hunting barrel would.

Travis Bader: [00:11:40] And so you’re saying it comes with a plastic stock? 

Paul Ballard: [00:11:43] Yes.

Travis Bader: [00:11:43] Okay. So.

Paul Ballard: [00:11:44] And it is a plastic stock. It’s got some flex in it. That’s some of the arguments people have saying that, um, you know, that stock can move and touch the barrel, affect accuracy. But, um, I’m saying from a pretty experienced shooter, not a problem, and particularly in the hands of an individual that started out well worth it on that rifle, and it shares that, sort of those same features with the other manufacturers out there.

Travis Bader: [00:12:09] Oh, for sure. So wood or synthetic?

Paul Ballard: [00:12:12] If the option is there, synthetic stocks, they stand up. Some of them are very noisy, again, some of the lower quality ones are very low, or very high in the noise factor – some things you can do about that, you can get some of that spray foam, you take the buttstock apart and fill all the cavities with, with some of that spray foam to deaden that out.

[00:12:33] A little bit of flat paint on there can also deaden them out. You know things that you can do yourself, but it is what it is. Stainless steel, synthetic stock. You’ve got a, a lot more durability with that combination.

Travis Bader: [00:12:46] So somebody goes out, they get their first rifle, they want to take it hunting. They’ve listened to this podcast and he said, ‘you know what? I’m going to get myself a centerfire bolt action rifle’. They’re not breaking the bank on it.

Paul Ballard: [00:12:58] No.

Travis Bader: [00:12:58] it’s easy to do. I mean there’s, there’s options out there, you can spend and spend, but I’ve always been a big fan of going out harvesting and doing it in an economical way.

Paul Ballard: [00:13:11] I agree. And, and so now you’ve got this rifle. So somebody recommended this, this rifle, this bolt action rifle, which you haven’t spent too much on. And after you’ve hunted with it a couple of times, you go, gee, I wish it had a shorter barrel. Geez, I wish it had a higher comb on the stock. I wish the, you know, the, the sort of the tactile response of the stock was stickier in my hands.

[00:13:35] I find it, it’s cold in the, you know, in cold weather, you know, and, and all of these things will start to play out. Whereas if you try from the very beginning to eliminate all those things. You don’t have the background on your own to appreciate what you’ve got or what you’re missing and what you could, what you could have done without, for a more reasonable cost.

[00:13:55] I mean, the other side to it, Travis, we often talk about, should I go to the gun show the big gun show in Chilliwack coming up on the 21st and 22nd

Travis Bader: [00:14:03] Coming up.

Paul Ballard: [00:14:04] Yep. And should I go there and look at tables and people have a beautiful blue steel high gloss, or satin finish blue steel bolt action rifle in a Woodstock and all that’s been on a number of hunting trips or gently used.

[00:14:19] You know, sometimes the question comes up, well, why is somebody selling that used firearm? Well, some people have hunted their whole lives and have been absolute meticulous about keeping their firearm up. You may get one of those, you get a good deal on this, you know, Woodstock blue steel rifle, super accurate, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

[00:14:39] I mean, take a little bit of time to learn how to take this action out of the stock. Waterproof, the inside of the stock. Thompson’s water seal. Great product for not just your decks, but if you paint the inside of a Woodstock, you stop water penetration in there, swelling and movement of the stock. So you don’t have synthetics, but you get a good Woodstock that way.

[00:15:00] Putting the proper, you know, preservatives on the steel, it lasts. There’s those options out there too.

Travis Bader: [00:15:06] New or used, and we quite often will get this question, should I get new? Should I get used? And going to the local gun show, we highly encourage people to check it out. You’re building community, you’re learning.

[00:15:18] You get to see a lot of different things out there. You talk to people when you’re purchasing your first firearm. There is a comfort that comes from having something that’s new out of the box. And you can start hopefully eliminating variables if the gun is in creeping. If you’re having issues with it, maybe you can psychologically eliminate well did the last person tinker with it a little bit.

Paul Ballard: [00:15:41] Correct. You know, then there always is that, you know, no matter what the person is saying, ‘Oh no, you know, nothing’s been touched’, but they’ve gone and filed away at the, you know, the moving parts inside, and it’s right on the verge of being dangerous, you know, triggers that have been messed with by people who are, uh, not an expert in that field.

[00:15:59] They’re not proper licensed, uh, trained gunsmiths, you know, and not to mean that they’re, you know, you have to be anything other than talented to do it, but people do make mistakes and there’s rules to follow. It’s like the brakes in your car. So yes, going back to brand new, the other thing, when you start with brand new, there’s break-in periods, you know, and there’s tons of information on the worldwide web about how to properly break-in a rifle barrel, particularly a sporting barrel.

Travis Bader: [00:16:27] Oh, that’s a podcast all into itself.

Paul Ballard: [00:16:29] Oh it is, yeah, no, I, I just, I just want to say yes, you have to break it in. There is going to be an increase in accuracy over a period of time as you break that barrel in.

Travis Bader: [00:16:40] I think we’re going to have to talk on that one later too.

Paul Ballard: [00:16:42] I think so. But it kind of, you know, we get back now to, we’re going to get a bolt action rifle. We’re probably looking maybe at something new. What calibre do I get it in?

Travis Bader: [00:16:52] Well, you know, on the new and used side, even if somebody says they want to go used, I would still highly encourage them to check out their local gun store. So, here in the Lower Mainland where we’re at, there’s a few gun stores that Silvercore or refer our students over to religiously because, we know that they’re going to be looked after.

Paul Ballard: [00:17:13] Well, you know, Shane and John at Reliable Gun on, on Fraser Street in Vancouver. I love those guys, um, their dad, Dave,  I go so far back that as, when Dave was a kid and I was a child, I remember going into the shop and my dad, you know, kind of shopping for a .243 rifle for me.

[00:17:31] I still remember way back in the old days, but, they have been a, um, a stalwart in the Lower Mainland and great products, vast a selection of products online and, and big supporters of the shooting community too.

Travis Bader: [00:17:46] And they take care of you. Right. So, and they sell new and used and there’s also Poco Military and Kent Outdoors if you’re out in the Valley.

Paul Ballard: [00:17:53] Yes. For those, you know, the, in the Langley and Chilliwack, Abbotsford area, those are all excellent.

Travis Bader: [00:17:59] So person’s gone in, they’ve picked up their first firearm, or at least they know that they want a, a bolt action rifle. What about calibre?

Paul Ballard: [00:18:07] It is one of the, you know, when you think if you look on the shelf in a gun store, there is a couple of hundred different cartridges that are there, that are kind of common.

[00:18:16] I, I tried to add it up one day and I think there’s somewhere between about 160 and just shy of 200 different kind of commonly available cartridges. Uh, commonly, put on the shelf.

Travis Bader: [00:18:29] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:18:29] You know, some of them are getting pretty obsolete. Some have certainly stood the test of time and I think for the new Hunter getting into this, I call it the big three standard calibres.

[00:18:41] 30-06, you know, it’s well over a hundred years old now, US military design, uh, designed initially is, you know, something, you go into combat with in their Bolt action rifle, the Springfield rifle, and, but that cartridge can, capably with the right bullet, the right loading, take any game in North America. And, and it’s perfect. And I mean, the issues now in British Columbia, there’s no more grizzly hunting.

[00:19:10] So typically, you know, and now I don’t think that would be a hunt than a new Hunter where we’d get into, but the 30-06 relatively flat shooting hits with some good authority out to good distances and, and available, everywhere you go, it’s there.

Travis Bader: [00:19:27] And that’s a big consideration too.

Paul Ballard: [00:19:28] It is right. What if you, you know, something happens, you, your truck gets broken into when you stop for lunch on the way onto your hunting trip, and they do get your ammunition.

[00:19:37] They don’t get your rifle, but now you’re out of ammunition. Any hardware store, anywhere in this province in all is going to have 30-06 ammo. Following on the footsteps of the 30-06 it was initially a Wildcat cartridge, but adopted by Winchester was to take the 30-06, neck the cartridge itself down, so the calibre reduced to .270, a somewhat lighter bullet.

[00:20:02] However, with great velocity, very flat shooting or flat trajectory shooting, increasing the range, but more, again, more than capable of taking any animal in, in North America, shot moose with .270, no problem. Uh, the bullet weight ranges are a little less than what you would get in 30-06, but through issues of what we call sexual density, uh, the longer bullet, uh, tends to perform just fine.

Travis Bader: [00:20:30] Yep.

Paul Ballard: [00:20:30] And both of these rifles have reasonable recoil, and that’s the thing, there is recoil to them. You are gonna feel recoil shooting these rifles, but they’re not punishers. They’re not going to beat you up and put you off. So some few later years later into the 50s and Winchester again comes up with what I consider to be the third one on the big three, which is a .308 Winchester, their NATO cartridge, but in its civilian version, a same weight bullet.

[00:20:58] Weight selection as 30-06 and no problem at all taking moose or any other of the deer species that are out there, bear just fine. And the advantage with the .308 that I think, you know, just putting it out there, short actions. So you can lighten the weight of your rifle and your bolt action rifle. There’s a little bit less steel in there, uh, to make up for that. Not much, but it makes for a shorter throw on the bolt, which can make operation faster.

Travis Bader: [00:21:26] A touch stiffer.

Paul Ballard: [00:21:27] Stiffer, yeah. And  the ammo is there. Again, those three, all reasonable recoil, all capable. A lot of people are drawn into the Magnum cartridges in the beginning.

[00:21:40] I think that can be detrimental. Um, a little bit of a bad experience with recoil from a Magnum is gonna develop a flinch in a lot of shooters.

Travis Bader: [00:21:48] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:21:49] And they never forget that, and it’s one of the worst things I’ve ever seen is to take a heavy hitting Magnum in a new shooter’s hands and let them go without proper preparation, instruction, how to get that firearm into place for that.

[00:22:04] The other thing that’s out there now is there’s a whole series of new cartridges, and when I say new in the last 25 years, or in the last 5 years that have come out there, these are extreme performance cartridges. They do have low, low recoil. Many of them are based on short actions like that.

[00:22:21] .308 Winchester, uh, they’re totally capable of things, but they’re a little bit, I should say sophisticated in their application, know you’re, you’re, you might have a harder time getting it at a hardware store, but it’s certainly one of those things that as you gain experience, you can look towards down the road.

Travis Bader: [00:22:39] Sure

Paul Ballard: [00:22:40] And that being the 6.5 Creedmore, the 6.5 PRC, those cartridges, pretty cool cartridges when you’re looking at it with a, having a background in ballistic understanding of what these cartridges are capable of doing.

Travis Bader: [00:22:53] On the precision side as well for hunting as well.

Paul Ballard: [00:22:56] Yes, absolutely. You know, increasing your ability to reach out to 350 yards and 400 yards and making a very accurate shot. You know, I, I did want to go back to one thing on the rifle thing. It was one of the thoughts I had before we came together here today.

[00:23:12] Length of pull, fitting the rifle to your physical size, length of pull, the distance between the face of the trigger and the buttstock, typically can be measured on an individual by the, you know, the bend in their elbow, the inside of their elbow to that distal joint on their finger. You have to make sure that a rifle fits you.

Travis Bader: [00:23:33] Right.

Paul Ballard: [00:23:34] You have to, it is absolutely essential to a accurate shooting, comfort with the rifle. And one of the things we talked about with some of the newer designs, they have fully adjustable stocks, or in that box with the new rifle is a whole bunch of, you know, um, filler plates and, and everything to either extend the buttstock, shorten it, raise the comb for your cheek weld, and.

Travis Bader: [00:24:00] Some areas on fit, I don’t get too fussy about from a, uh, from a hunting perspective. From a new shooter perspective, some areas on fit are absolutely essential. So sometimes there’s a slight modification of how you’re going to hold the firearm is going to be how this gun is will now fit you. Of course, if you’re hunting and it’s cold ,out, you’re going to have more layers on if you’re going to be doing some prone hunting or it’s going to fit differently.

[00:24:25] And if we get, I find, if I get too carried away on just perfecting length of pull, it’s not really where I want to be spending my energy mind you, for the comb that you brought up. Now my cheeks are going to be different from your cheeks. I have a rifle that other people have got behind and just due to my body shape.

[00:24:45] They can’t shoot at because they can’t get proper eye relief and they can’t get proper sight picture through the scope just by the, the height of the, uh, the cheek. And that’s one area where it’s pretty darn important to make sure that this gun fits you.

Paul Ballard: [00:25:00] And I’m going to say on the length of pull thing. You can have too short of a length of pull and you’ll be okay, but when it gets too long, it’s impossible.

Travis Bader: [00:25:09] Right.

Paul Ballard: [00:25:10] Smaller statured people, Or, you know, young kids, some, some women are, are smaller, and indeed some, some males, it’s like the old, you know, it’s meant for somebody that’s about 5’10” and 180lbs.

[00:25:24] And with that kind of length of pull, and I’m, I don’t have a problem, I can usually pick anything up. I don’t have an issue with that, but I see it immediately with somebody who’s a little bit smaller and that. Trying to put their head way back on the stock or arch in the back, trying to get everything in place and that’s wrong and that, and that translates into painful recoil and inability to get an accurate shot. Many things go into that.

Travis Bader: [00:25:49] And you brought up about calibre, and recoil as well. And so I’ve been looking at the 6.5 I’ve got a couple of guns set up. Actually, my wife was the first one I set up with a 6.5 Creedmore. She loves it. The two most offensive things from a firearm are gonna be the noise it makes, and it’s recoil.

[00:25:10] And if you can take steps to mitigate those two things, you’re going to have a much happier time shooting the gun. You’re going to have a much greater likelihood of successfully placing that projectile where you want it to be.

Paul Ballard: [00:26:21] Completely agreed. And one of the things that we see are muzzle brakes. So now that kind of goes hand in hand with the Magnum calibres and a muzzle break, you know, meant to reduce the, the muzzle climb on, on report, or on recoil of the rifle by redirecting the gasses that are following the projectile down. So to keep the muzzle low.

[00:26:41] Well, generally what they do is redirect those gasses towards your ears and increase the noise. And if not so much for you, anybody that shooting around you is gonna, gonna feel that. So yeah, muzzle brakes, hmmm, they’re okay. Uh, sometimes people use their muzzle break when they’re sighting in at the range, but then take it off for hunting.

[00:27:01] And it’s very important to make sure that whatever you’re replacing the muscle break with is an identical weight, because otherwise you’re gonna lose all that effort in zeroing the rifle. That’s for our ballistics podcast.

Travis Bader: [00:27:12] I think we should talk about that one in a different one because actually I spent a lot of time with Silvercore Gun Works, building muzzle brakes and testing them, and I think that’d be an interesting one to talk about, but we’ll leave that for another time for hunting purposes. Recoil pad, decent recoil pad.

Paul Ballard: [00:27:28] Definitely. And when you look out there, you know, um, LimbSaver, high quality recoil pad, um, I love my Rugers and my old Woodstock Rugers came with the, you know, beautiful trade, uh, trademark red, buttpad, hard as a rock, which would petrify over time as well. So.

Travis Bader: [00:27:47] It would.

Paul Ballard: [00:27:48] Replacing that buttstock you know, and when you do go to replace a buttstock, that’s the time to trim down that stock to, to fit you as well. Cause if you’re increasing the length of pull with the new butts, or with a new butt pad, and it can be a difference there too.

Travis Bader: [00:28:00] So we want to carry this firearm out in the field don’t we?

Paul Ballard: [00:28:04] Having a rifle without a sling is like having a handgun without a holster.

Travis Bader: [00:28:08] Got it.

Paul Ballard: [00:28:09] What’re you gonna do with it now? The sling is everything from carrying it to free up your hands to, you know, to climb up a steep slope.

[00:28:16] Of course, we always do that safely with, you know, the firearm unloaded. If you can’t shoot from the position you’re in, there shouldn’t be a loaded firearm, even in a sling on your shoulder. If you’re walking down a, a flat trail, you’re using your binoculars where you’re standing still, sure sling a loaded firearm. But if you’re slinging that rifle to climb up something that’s difficult or wade through a stream, that’s the time to unload your firearm before you do it.

[00:28:40] There’s a little plug for firearm safety. However, um, back in the old days, leather, that was the sling. Leather combined with a wet jacket on a horrible day meant all’s ya did was spend all day trying to get that sling back up onto your shoulder, drive you crazy, Today, with the synthetics that are out there, and I really liked those neoprene type slings, uh, in uh, it’s sort of a Cobra design.

[00:29:08] I say this, sort of wide, where it goes over your shoulder, but the underside of it is, has got some kind of sticky rubber compound on there that stays on your rain suit, stays on your wool jacket, your fleece jacket, whatever it is, and it stays in place and it distributes the weights.

[00:29:24] You don’t feel it. The other thing that people tend not to realize though, is your sling is also there to help you steady your shot.

Travis Bader: [00:29:33] You can use that, yes.

Paul Ballard: [00:29:34] And you need to learn to use your sling properly to get a good quick, er, or a hasty rap, uh, so that you can steady up that shot, uh, so that you can make a nice, clean harvest of, of whatever your intended game is.

Travis Bader: [00:29:48] You know, I remember, speaking of slings, I know we’re talking about rifles and ungulate hunting, and, but for winged hunting. Years ago, I remember picking up a, uh, I think I was late teens, early twenties, and I picked up a shotgun sling and it had all these little loopholes where I could put extra shells through and I thought, ‘this is great. Look at all this extra ammo I can throw in my sling.’

[00:30:13] And the first time I raised it up to shoot it, all the weight on the sling is going back and forth, back and forth, and I quickly learned the lesson on that one.

Paul Ballard: [00:30:21] Yeah. Those bandolier combination slings, looking good for Hollywood, but uh, not, not any good for, for bringing home something to eat I don’t think.

Travis Bader: [00:30:31] A basic two point sling, works wonders.

Paul Ballard: [00:30:34] Absolutely. I mean, the, uh, that’s the thing. Start with that, and then if all of a sudden you start looking out in the, you know, the new, the like the ching sling, the three point ching sling are very popular with scope figuration rifles. Maybe that works for you, but the ability to, to set it up so you can A. carry the rifle on your shoulder.

[00:30:52] Then learn how to make a, a hasty sling for support. And most of you know, most of the time when it’s adjusted for your shoulder, it’s really easy to, you know, to wrap your arm through. I mean, that is one of the things we always incorporate in our Silvercore live fire training for, for rifle, is how to use your sling effectively.

Travis Bader: [00:31:13] So we’ve got the firearm, we’ve got the sling on it, we know the right calibre that what we’re looking for. We’re getting started. But what about optics? Iron sights, scopes?

Paul Ballard: [00:31:24] I hunt with iron sights, sure. My eyes are getting bad and I find that using in a, you know, an aperture style iron sight works pretty good for me.

[00:31:33] However, let’s be real. Almost everybody you see today, on their hunting rifle has some form of, of magnifying telescopic sight on there, and it’s the way to go. There are so many advantages to getting such a much clearer image of your intended target. Therefore, increasing the odds of making humane harvest.

[00:31:55] You know, not wounding the animal, but making a, a clean shot. Uh, so let’s say, perhaps you could have a backup set of iron sights on your rifle, but really today’s scopes are so good you don’t need it.

Travis Bader: [00:32:10] And that is sort of a throwback, isn’t it? Having that backup, having a backup scope, just in case. 

Paul Ballard: [00:32:14] I am a throwback, because on a couple of rifles, that’s what I do. I have tip off scopes that come off easily, but back in the days in BC, when you get hunt grizzly bear, I preferred that setup so that if I was in extremely tight cover, I would eliminate using the scope and just use the iron sites, but that’s, that’s different. So let’s talk about our telescopic site.

[00:32:35] What are the advantages? Well, better image, a clear view of a set of crosshairs out there to put on. If you have issues with cross eye dominance, you can keep both eyes open because once the scope lined up with your eye that’s open, that’s the only one that’s going to show the crosshair, and that’s the crosshair that’s going to go on the intended target.

[00:32:56] Using a scope, understanding what eye relief is, getting it properly mounted onto your rifle, just the same as fitting the rifle. That’s all part of what you want to do, but how are we going to select that scope? Well, I think for practical purposes, not getting too much power on the scope is important. You want to have a scope that has variable power, that means that it goes from a low to a medium power, uh, with a turn of the dial on the scope itself.

[00:33:26] Within that power range, I say either a 2.5 – 10, 2.5 – 7, 3 – 9. Any of those power ranges will really work for you.

Travis Bader: [00:33:37] But nothing higher than a 10.

Paul Ballard: [00:33:39] I really don’t think so because if you take a 12 or a 14 power scope set on 14 power and try and hold it steady. To aim on something, it’s, it’s really difficult.

[00:33:52] I mean, you’re starting to get up into target and, and sniper ranges of power where, you know, the rifle is meant to be fired off of a very solid rest and, and with a lot of precision going into it.

Travis Bader: [00:34:04] Here’s something interesting for the new hunters because you know, everyone gets into it and they think bigger is better, right?

[00:34:11] Magnum must be better, more power or the, the more magnification that I have in my scope, the better it can be. Even from, now, I enjoy shooting at distance and from a long range perspective, I still do most of my shooting at 10 power. What the higher magnifications are great for us for reading Mirage at along longer distance to confirming, yep, that’s my target out there, and then I dial it back.

[00:34:37] But when you start getting that high magnification, of course it magnifies all the movement, all the Mirage, all the heat coming up from the barrel if you had that.

Paul Ballard: [00:34:46] And it’s there, and it also narrows your field of view quite a bit so that you may miss something that, that’s around your intended target.

Travis Bader: [00:35:54] And that’s the worst.

Paul Ballard: [00:34:55] So again, staying down in that 2.5 or 3 power leaving it set at that while you’re doing your general hunting. Perhaps once you do get into a setup or a stand, you might want to turn the power up, but I often, I’ve done most of my shooting, right on the lowest power, whatever the scope is, and that doesn’t matter whether I’m shooting at 50 yards or 200 yards, it’s still being shot on that low power because it’s so much easier to stabilize that crosshair on low power.

[00:35:22] You, you don’t, you know, with the intense magnification, you also magnify the movement to the crosshair, and it’s just a, uh, a lot more practical to work with that.

Travis Bader: [00:35:32] And target acquisition, like you’re saying, the field of view of what you can see. Have you ever been with somebody? Have you ever missed a shot cause your, your scope was, uh, accidentally on a higher magnification?

Paul Ballard: [00:35:41] No. No.

Travis Bader: [00:35:43] But I’ve been with somebody and I don’t think that person will make that mistake ever again.

Paul Ballard: [00:35:47] Nope. You got to leave it turned down and that’s, you know, that’s gotta be your discipline. Once you’re ready to move or whatever, turn it down and turn it down, keep it and check it that it’s, it’s always on that lower settings.

[00:36:00] [00:35:59] Scopes. We talked a little bit about trying to save money on a rifle by buying an entry level or whatever. I’m going to go away from that and say that on the scope that you put on your rifle, you used to be the old spend as much on the scope as you do on the rifle.

Travis Bader: [00:36:14] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:36:14] I’d be more inclined to spend more on the scope. Now, what happens when you do that? You address issues, uh, within the design of the scope, you’ll get more quality, pure grind on the lenses in the scope. So you get a better view, clear view of the target, the coatings that they put on the lenses, which will allow you to shoot with, say, a snowy or, you know, or, uh, maybe a dewey background, haze, all this stuff is addressed through the coatings that they put on the lenses and that’s what you’re paying for.

[00:36:48] When you say, well, that scope looks just like this one. Why is it $300, $400 more? Those are the things that are coming into play. Another thing is something called parallax, cheaper scopes tend to put the, uh, parallax issue into play. That means the location of the, the crosshairs, and physically in the tube of the scope are set back closer to the uh, er, to the ocular lens. The one closer to your eye and parallax really be explained by if you put a crosshair on your window of your house and you look at that crosshair and you put it on a target out in your yard somewhere.

[00:37:28] And you look in everything lines up, but now you step back from that crosshair target on there, you lose the target in the background, and that’s kind of what parallax does and it’s usually affected by turning the power of the scope up. So you’re losing that zero, the the, you know, and the ability to locate that crosshair, adjust.

[00:37:50] I’ve had some very expensive hunting scopes that were parallax free, and that meant that, you know, whether you use zero to 2 power or 10 power, didn’t matter that parallax wasn’t there.

Travis Bader: [00:38:03] They’re completely parallax free?

Paul Ballard: [00:38:05] Yes.

Travis Bader: [00:38:06] Hmm.

Paul Ballard: [00:38:08] Big money. I’m, I’m rubbing my thumb and forefinger together there. Often what we see to overcome that is there to be a parallax adjustment on the objective end of the scope.

[00:38:18] And that’s great if you’re a target shooter or you’re a sniper, but when you’re in that situation where it’s, it’s a game of seconds, once you’ve spotted that game animal, you don’t have time to dial that in.

[00:38:32] So a scope kept on low-power, a lot less likely to be effected by parallax. A scope that you’ve spent some money on that has good coatings on the lenses and, and has been designed so it eliminates a lot of the parallax issue within the regular, uh, powers of the scope. Good choice. Good choice.

Travis Bader: [00:38:49] What about robustness of a scope?

Paul Ballard: [00:38:52] Well, there is, and that’s what you’re paying for again. Now scope bodies are typically made of aluminum for lightweight, some are made a magnesium, more money, stronger.

[00:39:03] Same thing with the mounts or the rings that are actually holding them to the receiver of the rifle and the system by which you mount it through a base, through the rings is a big consideration too. Good solid rings, um, companies like Warne and Talley make aluminum bases that are just as strong as anybody’s steel and just as solidly and securely mounted.

Travis Bader: [00:39:28] You know, I remember my very first, they call it a sniper competition, precision rifle competition out of Volks Range, so many years back. And, I picked up a rifle for $100 and I was again, late teens, picked it up at a gun show. It didn’t shoot, but I had a good barrel, good aftermarket barrel on the thing.

[00:39:49] So I, I reworked it and I threw a scope on there with some El cheapo Weaver rings and everyone was laughing at me when I went out there with this old beat up cheapo gun and, but it shot. And whether you’re spending hundreds of dollars on some high quality rings or you’re using a lower priced option out there.

[00:40:13] They all tend to hold your optics exactly as you want them to. The difference that you start running into is, are they going to start pinching or crushing on this scope? Can you, how far down can you crank them? But I did well.

Paul Ballard: [00:40:27] good old Weaver, steel rings.

Travis Bader: [00:40:29] Steel Weaver rings.

Paul Ballard: [00:40:31] Steel bases. El cheapo.

Travis Bader: [00:40:32] That’s right.

Paul Ballard: [00:40:33] Yeah. Not aluminum. And that’s one of the things I see a lot of people, you know, they’ll go out and buy an expensive scope and then they go over to the counter there and they’ll go, ‘huh, look at these ones are only 30 bucks. They must be, you know, okay. They look exactly the same as as the other ones’, but they’re not.

[00:40:49] And, and you know, the quality with which their machine sometime will drive you crazy by getting everything on to zero for your windage. So, good quality bases with a good quality scope. That scope, how much power? Yeah. 2.5-10 or something within there. 2.5-7. 3-9.

[00:41:10] Light gathering. That’s like a bit of a statement that we make and it’s not really a truth. Light transmission might be a better, more accurate way to discuss it. So your eye dilates in low light. Oh, coincidentally, you know when you hunt a lot, low light, early morning, late evening. So you know the lighting conditions, you don’t have full sun.

[00:41:36] You need to get some assistance from your scope, so it’s got to be able to transmit light to your eye. As we age, okay, our pupil dilates less and less, and somebody my age, I probably get maybe 4mm of dilation. Uh, your son, he’s probably right up there at about maybe 7.5m, 8mm, of dilation.

[00:42:01] So that means physically, how far does the Iris to the eye open up to allow light to get back to the, um, the, the retina centralist at the back there where it sees colour and everything else. How does that work? Well, as you look through your scope, it doesn’t matter how big the end, the objective end is on the scope.

[00:42:22] There’s only so much that can come back through your eye because it doesn’t allow to it. So if you take that 10 power scope and you dial it up to 10 power and you hold it at arm’s length away from you, not mounted on the rifle, and you look, the glass that you’re looking through will shrink down and there’ll be a little hole there of light.

[00:42:42] And that is how much light can transmit through that scope on that particular power. And if it is about the same as your eye, you’re good to go. But if it’s bigger, it doesn’t help you because you’re, I can only accept so much.

Travis Bader: [00:42:56] Right.

Paul Ballard: [00:42:56] There’s calculations that you can do, but hey, I’m a ‘show me’ kind of person, and that’s a really easy way to explain it. So if the business end of your scope, the one that’s out there looking at the target, the objective end is about 40mm. You can’t go wrong.

Travis Bader: [00:43:13] You know, while you’re talking about scopes here. I should probably mention, we’ve got a Vortex apparel package that’s being given away.

Paul Ballard: [00:43:21] Excellent scopes.

Travis Bader: [00:43:23] So Vortex came in and says, tell you what

Paul Ballard: [00:43:25] And Scooter is growling down there in appreciation of Vortex scopes. I heard of him growl.

Travis Bader: [00:43:31] So this Vortex apparel package, they’ve got a bunch of swag shirts, hats, some very cool kit that’s being given away by Vortex Optics. And all people have to do is get on social media, check out the website, there’s going to be all the details on that, but comment, like, follow, subscribe, tag a friend, all of those sorts of things.

[00:43:54] Will get an entry into being able to be eligible for the Vortex apparel package and also maybe put in little #VortexOptics in there so we know that’s the draw that you definitely want to be in.

Paul Ballard: [00:44:05] Well, that’s good and thanks to the good people of Vortex for doing that. You know, Vortex is relatively new on the, on the, uh, on the scope front, but they have emerged as being one of the most popular brands that are out there.

[00:44:20] And one of the things that they have is warranty. And when you have a warranty, like Vortex’s, you know, basically, if you can return, and I, please people of Vortex, don’t hold me to this, but if you can return the better part of that scope. Apparently it’s going to be warrantied from falls, malfunctions and everything else. A warranty or, outside of warranty, Vortex is an excellent range of prices as well.

Travis Bader: [00:44:46] Right.

Paul Ballard: [00:44:46] I mean, the start down at the Crossfire II and move all the way through, they like to, you know. There’s some snake names in there and everything else, but certainly go to the best that you can afford within their range.

[00:45:00] They make a whole variation of tactical scopes and snipers scopes, which aren’t really good, but there are not, I shouldn’t say aren’t good. They’re excellent, but they’re not for the purpose of the new Hunter. Their hunting line, the Diamondback’s, great scopes, you know, and you can get them in, uh.

Travis Bader: [00:45:16] The Viper.

Paul Ballard: [00:44:16] Oh yeah, the Viper, better. You know, they’re all great. And, and with that warranty, you can’t go wrong.

Travis Bader: [00:45:22] Well, the one thing that, so like Reliable Gun, like Kent Outdoors, like Poco Military, the reason why we’re comfortable sending students fresh out of a class to go talk with these different locations about getting into firearms and optics and all the rest is because we know that they’re going to be taken care of.

[00:45:38] They’re not going to be looked down upon. They’re not going to be treated like a second class citizen. They’re going to be able to ask questions. And the thing about Vortex, which I think is pretty neat, reach out to them, Email, phone call.

Paul Ballard: [00:45:50] Always been excellent at answering questions. They will completely lay out everything. And like I say, in my kit, you will see Vortex products.

Travis Bader: [00:45:57] A DM on Instagram, within an hour, you’ve got somebody getting back, uh, through Facebook, I mean, that, for us to be able to refer somebody out to ask questions is, is huge.

Paul Ballard: [00:46:10] Absolutely, yeah. And great, like I say, great customer service.

[00:46:14] Uh, I did have a warranty job on a couple of the scopes that I’ve had done in, in short order, done actually through the, uh, uh, through the retailer. The retailer, just, it’s super simple. That retailer just took the scope, gave me a new one in a box, and he dealt with all the issues with Vortex on that.

Travis Bader: [00:46:32] Well let’s talk about, now we’ve got the rifle sling. We’ve got it in a calibre that works for us.

Paul Ballard: [00:46:37] Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:46:39] We’ve got optics on it.

Paul Ballard: [00:46:40] Well, let’s, let’s stay on the optics right here.

Travis Bader: [00:46:43] Right, we don’t want to be using that rifle scope to be identified.

Paul Ballard: [00:46:45] Not at all, I mean, that commits an offence under the criminal code.

Travis Bader: [00:46:48] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [00:46:49] If you’re using your scope on your rifle to try and figure out what something is and that something happens to be a person, you’ve committed an offence. So we really heavily emphasize that binoculars are the key.

[00:47:01] And having a, you know, when you do see somebody and they’re standing there with a beautiful, you know, Viper scope on their rifle, but nothing hanging around their neck, you know, they may be using that scope on the rifle, uh, improperly.

[00:47:14] So let’s, let’s use, and you will use your binoculars and again, let’s stay in the same realm that we talked about earlier. Spend money on those binoculars. I won a cheap pair of binoculars one time in a shooting competition and they were smaller than my, my old good quality binoculars. I hung on those around my neck.

[00:47:38] We were in the, in the Northern Rockies and we went on a, on a stock on some thin horn sheep and very, very, you know, heavy duty exercise getting up into the, into where we’d spotted the sheep initially from the Valley. I got up there and never touched my binoculars again till we broke out onto the sheep meadow at the top.

[00:48:00] And my binoculars were finished. They were so badly fogged that, and that was just from my body perspiration and you know, being inside my rain jacket, that was it. I lost the opportunity on a Ram because of those binoculars. I will tell you on 100% I couldn’t identify it. I couldn’t read it, uh, because the binoculars didn’t work, and that was the lesson that I learned.

[00:48:25] I junked those. I cashed in for, and I can say the name Pentax because they don’t make them anymore, but my, you know, buy option is a magnesium frame, a 8 x 40, uh, Pentax binocular, which I’m gonna swap out for a set of Vortex here probably this year, as a matter of fact. Um, just cause I can’t quite let something go, but those Pentax are just about too far gone and they keep going.

[00:48:52] And so I’m going to get a, a set of 10 x 42’s. The Vortex. Right size. They fit around my neck.

Travis Bader: [00:49:00] Yeah, 10 x 42 I like that size. That’s a, that’s what I’m using. What I’m going to do, is I’m gonna bringing a couple things out. Because we’ve got a couple of contests that are going on in the process. I’m going to show.

Paul Ballard: [00:49:11] I like contests.

Travis Bader: [00:49:13] Yeah, Let me show you.

Paul Ballard: [00:49:13] You see that one where the kid went to the soccer thing and won all the weed.

Travis Bader: [00:49:17] What? No I didn’t see this.

Paul Ballard: [00:49:19] We’re not going to give away any weed here, so let’s continue on.

Travis Bader: [00:49:22] No, I didn’t see that one. Let me show you a couple of things that are being given away. So, we’ve got two different things that we’ve got running.

[00:49:31] We’ve got the Silvercore Postal Shoot, and we can talk about that. And we’ve got our social media following, so this podcast follows part of that whole social media. We’ve got our YouTube page, Instagram, Facebook, and so in an effort to continue raising awareness of the podcast and what we’re doing, we are giving away a number of things.

[00:49:54] And again, all people have to do in order to enter is to subscribe, follow, like comment, tag a friend. Each one of these things will be an entry into the contest and it’s free to enter, and they can do this as many times as they want. If they really want to game the system, keep tagging more friends essentially, keep commenting.

[00:50:18] What I’d recommend, just cause we have a few things and some of these things I’m going to show you, Paul, we haven’t got everything completely worked out, so I might have to do a little beeping out during the podcast as we look at it. But if there’s anything that the listener hears that they’d like to get for themselves, maybe you throw that into the hashtag as well, or throw it all in the hashtag.

[00:50:38] So I’ll show ya. Well, what do we got? We got a, uh, a kit here from Splendid Bastard!

Paul Ballard: [00:50:45] So, oh.

Travis Bader: [00:50:47] So if you have facial hair.

Paul Ballard: [00:50:50] Who wouldn’t have facial hair?

Travis Bader: [00:50:53] We’ve got a, a, a neat giveaway that we’re doing with Splendid Bastard. And, uh, this is, this is actually not it. This is a, say a sample of it. It comes with an ammo tin.

Paul Ballard: [00:51:03] Perfect, perfect.

Travis Bader: [00:51:04] And, uh, basically an emergency, uh, facial hair balm.

Paul Ballard: [00:51:08] And you know, a good outdoorsman is not getting a shave. And once you get that, some form of facial hair gone, you leave it. Somebody was looking at a picture of me with a buck I shot a couple of years ago and they go, ‘Oh, I didn’t know that was you’.

[00:51:21] And it happened to be because, Movember when everybody shaves their beards off, it was October 31st so I was, I looked like a baby, I had no facial hair.

Travis Bader: [00:51:30] We’ve got some stuff from Glock. So Glock’s come together, and this is just some of the stuff we’ve have here. Check out these things. So we’ve got all, a bunch of different swag.

Paul Ballard: [00:51:41] Nice.

Travis Bader: [00:51:42] These things here.

Paul Ballard: [00:51:42] Everybody likes, Oh, and a Glock challenge coin. Oh, that’s awesome!

Travis Bader: [00:51:47] So we’ve got a few of those in there. I couldn’t believe.

Paul Ballard: [00:51:49 Oh, thats a gen five challenge coin.

Travis Bader: [00:51:52] So these are a collectible item. I couldn’t believe what people are selling those things for on eBay.

Paul Ballard: [00:51:57] Well, let’s not mention that. And somebody might be lucky enough to win one and really get something out of it and a Glock.

Travis Bader: [00:52:04] So this is a collector’s item.

Paul Ballard: [00:52:06] And haven’t made lately.

Travis Bader: [00:52:08] They haven’t made this Glock banner in years. And this one’s a.

Paul Ballard: [00:52:12] That’s a brand new one that you’re prepared to give away. Now, nothing better than having a, a brass grommet Glock banner over top of your gun bench.

Travis Bader: [00:52:23] So if you’re in a Glock, hey, we’ve got some cool swag.

Paul Ballard: [00:52:24] And why wouldn’t you be. Ooh. The Alaska Guide series, identical to what I have, the Alaska Guide series Bino bag. So, Oh, two of them, even better! These ones are in, uh, in cammo.

Travis Bader: [00:52:39] Yeah. This is a, they call this their multicam pattern.

Paul Ballard: [00:52:42] Multicam.

Travis Bader: [00:52:42] And this is the Cub, the Kodiak Cub, and it’s got the max pouch.

Paul Ballard: [00:52:48] On the bottom. Yeah, mine didn’t have the pouch on it.

[00:52:51] They didn’t think they had that when I got mine. But, I’m telling you this, these are the perfect size. They combine with a harness system to support the binoculars on your back. For years, I had always used a product called Bino Buddies, long before Alaska Guide products came out, or Alaska Guide Creations came out with this, and the trouble with that was you, you were only, you know, conveniently carrying the bino’s.

[00:53:16] These give complete protection. There’s room for your range finder, your lens wipes, some calls, some more ammunition. You can put your tags in the back there in the little PO. They’re awesome.

Travis Bader: [00:53:27] Oh, I love it.

Paul Ballard: [00:53:28] And it is completely, uh, the best piece of kit I bought in recent years.

Travis Bader: [00:53:35] So I reached out to the founder. So the guys name is Jared Owens, and there’s another guy by the name of Zach Jones who’s helping out with the distribution. I get the sense he’s doing, helping out a lot, doing a lot of the work there, but Jared Owens was a, a guide for, I think 40 plus years. And developed these vinyl pouches based on his experience of guiding and working with different clients and he’s had some super high end clients.

Paul Ballard: [00:54:02] You can see what it would be, you know, fellows would have their bino’s around their neck with stuff hanging off those bino’s, was always with my former, you know, set up, I had lens wipes and I had calls clipped to the straps, but having it all in the convenience of the pouch that are here that you can zip up. Yeah. Check it out. Alaska Guide Creations. Awesome.

Travis Bader: [00:54:25] So I’m still working out the details on this one, on the, uh, on the, uh, the different promotional things we’re doing. So I might have to do some beeping out on this until we have everything all figured out. But. What is this?

Paul Ballard: [00:54:40] Oh, I’m getting excited.

Travis Bader: [00:54:42] All right. Out of the package here.

Paul Ballard: [00:54:47] Oh, yes. These would be them. Yeah. These would be them.

Travis Bader: [00:54:53] I think at some point when we were able to announce that. When do you think somebody would be excited about that?

Paul Ballard: [00:54:59] Ooh. I’m excited. We’re not even going to say what these are, but they happen to be. Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:55:04] Yeah. No, they’re, um. Quite nice.

Paul Ballard: [00:55:08] Wow.

Travis Bader: [00:55:08] You’ve also got something here again. Do you remember these guys from Shot Show?

Paul Ballard: [00:55:13] Yes. Mantis, uh, with their X10 Elite System. So if you have a service style pistol, ah, you can hang this little laser trace device off of the, uh, the light rail on the underside.

Travis Bader: [00:55:27] Well, it’s even more than that. I mean, this X10 so they, they can Mount to a shotgun. You can Mount it to a rifle,

Paul Ballard: [00:55:32] I guess, anywhere where you’ve got to Picatinny type rail.

Travis Bader: [00:55:35] Not event, they’ve got an adapter system in this one, the older ones.

Paul Ballard: [00:55:36] Oh, that’s better.

Travis Bader: [00:55:37] Yeah, the older ones, you needed a Picatinny.

Paul Ballard: [00:55:39] Okay. So this one will fit on anything. And what it does is then you program it into your phone and you can trace your follow through and, and all of your trigger control, your grip, everything is there. So it’s a great product. I really liked it. And, uh.

Travis Bader: [00:55:52] Yeah.

Paul Ballard: [00:55:53] Very knowledgeable people too. There’s another, you know, a shout out to somebody to talk to you.

Travis Bader: [00:55:57] And then of course at the end of the table there we’ve got something that’s being given away. This is, all falls in under the social media side. Do you think a new Hunter would like that?

Paul Ballard: [00:56:05] Well, you know, there’s another side to hunting beyond big game hunting, and that is certainly Upland hunting. Also duck hunting and a good over and under Shotgun that gives you a variety of chokes is a fantastic thing to have in your battery. Now, of course, I am kind of a taken up because my wife is originally from Czechoslovakia.

[00:56:31] So anything that’s either Czech or Slovak, so yes, I think the CZ, I believe it’s a Mallard over and under shotgun that’s there, beautiful gun. Screw in chokes, it’s got the little three quarter inch sling swivels. You know, we talk about the strengths and one of the craziest things the European manufacturers in their little tiny slings swivels. Very, very good.

Travis Bader: [00:56:52] So we’ve that CZ shotgun, we’re going to be giving that one away. Throw it through social media, like, comment, subscribe, follow, check out the website, there’ll be more details.

Paul Ballard: [00:57:01] Ya, get on it. Man, I’d like that.

Travis Bader: [00:57:02] There’s also a Silvercore Postal Shoot. Let’s quickly talk about that and then we’ll get back onto what we’re talking about with the new kit. I just figured some of this stuff just tied us in so nicely.

Paul Ballard: [00:57:11] Oh yeah, no, and like I say, I mean in addition to what we were talking about with binoculars, that Alaska Guide Creation saying I, that is the latest for me to be singing the praises of.

Travis Bader: [00:57:22] Oh, I love him. I absolutely, I use it all the time. That’s my go kit, just grab that, it’s got everything in there, minus your firearm. So, Silvercore Postal Shoot, we’ve got a Glock 19 which is being donated, and again, that’s Poco Military and Kent Outdoors.

Paul Ballard: [00:57:35] Excellent.

Travis Bader: [00:57:36] We’ve got a Smith and Wesson M&P, and that’s been donated by Reliable Gun.

Paul Ballard: [00:57:40] I love the M&P.

Travis Bader: [00:57:41] Got a Carbon Fibre 10-22 barrel from Dlask Arms.

Paul Ballard: [00:57:45] Wow.

Travis Bader: [00:57:45] We’ve got some steel targets and hangers from Drummond Shooting Supplies. Have you ever used anything from Drummond Shooting Supplies?

Paul Ballard: [00:57:52] No. I gotta be honest.

Travis Bader: [00:57:53] Okay. So, I love it, I was getting steel from different locations. I even went on Amazon and I found better quality and better priced stuff made here locally in Richmond from Drummond Shooting Supplies.

Paul Ballard: [00:58:08] And that’s fantastic when you find out what’s available here. You know, in the local area, we have actually quite a considerable firearms community of manufacturers and manufacturer products.

Travis Bader: [00:58:20] Yeah. We’ve got IBI Barrels.

Paul Ballard: [00:58:21] Oh, Ryan Steacy, my God, you know there, there’s International Barrels, boy, Oh boy.

Travis Bader: [00:58:27] MDT.

Paul Ballard: [00:58:27] MDT, right there in Chilliwack, my hometown.

Travis Bader: [00:58:29] Ultimatum Actions,

Paul Ballard: [00:58:30] Ultimatum Actions. All there.

Travis Bader: [00:58:32] And you know, the list goes on, but for the Postal Shoot here, finally, of course, Silvercore has given away courses and shirts and hats and swag and gear, and all people have to do is be a member of the Silvercore Club and.

Paul Ballard: [00:58:46] Cheap, at twice the price.

Travis Bader: [00:58:49] And shoot, go to your range and shoot a target. The rules are all out there. Mail it on in, and that’s it. You’re entered into a draw all across Canada.

Paul Ballard: [00:58:54] Very simple yep. Yeah, just head off, buy one of the approved targets and they’re easy to locate at a.

Travis Bader: [00:59:03] Well, you can find them at your local sporting goods stores. I think even Canadian Tire will have them.

Paul Ballard: [00:59:07] Wow, There you go, Canada’s hardware store. It’s, got it. Yeah.

Travis Bader: [00:59:13] So we’ve got rifle, optics, sling, we’ve got our bino’s

Paul Ballard: [00:59:16] Bino’s figured out.

Travis Bader: [00:59:18] In a bino pouch,

Paul Ballard: [00:59:19] We’re going to buy a good bino pouch.

Travis Bader: [00:59:20] You need that. You don’t want to be holding those things in your back pocket.

Paul Ballard: [00:59:23] You know, keeping the dust and the dirt off, especially if you’re bounced around on a off-road machine.

[00:59:28] You know, it’s worth having. And like I say, you can put a little survival kit now in that additional pouch on the bottom. And it’s always there because your binoculars should always be on you. And even if you were to step out of the truck and, and you know, and head off, maybe in a foot pursuit of, or a stock of an animal, you’re going to have that, that with you. So that’s a good idea.

Travis Bader: [00:59:49] Forgot your dog was under the table here.

Paul Ballard: [00:59:52] I think he’s getting a bit edgy now.

Travis Bader: [00:59:56] Well, let’s talk about knives.

Paul Ballard: [00:59:57] You know, let’s talk about knives and I love knives and I, you know, I’ve got to tell you that one of the things I do, um, absolutely cherish about our friendship is your ability to put an edge on a knife.

[01:00:10] I envy that you can, uh, you, you really take care of me in that regard. However, a good sharp knife is an essential part of, of a new hunters kit. And, uh. you can go to a custom knife makers and have the most incredible knife, uh, made for you, uh, and the chances of losing it are just as good as losing a cheap knife.

[01:00:34] That’s a quality knife. I’m really, you know. I have lots of knives and I have some really expensive ones, but I’m kinda down to, uh, looking at some of the, the newest thing, which is these razorblade knives. They, you know, they take a scalpel point into them. Uh, initially a company called Havalon started with that system and they were using a true scalpel.

[01:00:54] Uh, you had to carry a Leatherman tool to pull the scalpel blade out and change it over but, relatively cheap in that $50 – $60 range for the folding knife that they had and razor sharp. And we did, uh, you know, managed to get a couple of animals out of a blade, like a couple of deer. We were able, and for skinning and caping and everything else, an excellent product.

[01:01:16] But then I moved on and Outdoor Edge, Outdoor Edge, then moved in. A much stiffer blade with Outdoor Edge, a little bit more robust. That’s a good choice. Uh, if you see their disposable blade, and when we were at Shot Show, they’ve actually improved both Havalon and Outdoor Edge have improved on their disposable blades.

[01:01:36] So if you are incapable of putting an edge on a blade, not like you, sir, but if that’s not within your quiver of skills, you can’t pull that one out of there. These disposable blades are really the way to go. If you think you can kiss up your edge and keep it sharp. Um, the, the MoraKniv’s, uh, out of, out of Sweden, my gosh, for 20 bucks, brand new in a fantastic injection molded sheath, you know,  beautiful knife.

Travis Bader: [01:02:07] And they got those convex plaids on those Mora’s.

Paul Ballard: [01:02:09] Absolutely. And they have a beautiful edge of, with any, we’ll take an edge that, uh, I guess it’s sandvik, um, stainless steel, which is not particularly hard. But the holds a good edge for working the animal, but takes an edge easily. And that’s, that’s nice, uh, sticky grips on them for 20 bucks. You get a nice, uh, like molded handle to it that that’s, that still stays in your hand despite all the blood and gore and everything that you’re going to get on there.

[01:02:37] And it isn’t going to break your heart. If you look down and you’ve got an empty sheet at the end of the day.

Travis Bader: [01:02:42] And you bring up a good point and you’re talking about sharpening and working through on a big animal. You know, they used to be a big thing. Everyone would go out and have to bring their sharpening kit out with them, for 20 bucks, bring an extra knife with you.

Paul Ballard: [01:02:55] Right. Right. Lot easier and faster. And as the sun is setting and the predators are coming in to the smell of blood, you don’t have to take that time to try and put your head lamp on and try and put your sharpening kit back together. Just grab another knife and keep going and sharpen them up later.

[01:03:12] You know, back home or in the, in the camp or whatever. And having a couple of knives is, is really important too. That’s, you know, not just one, uh, for the money you would spend on a custom knife. You could put two or three, which aren’t particularly heavy, one of which could go in your Alaska Guide Creations pouch.

Travis Bader: [01:03:27] That’s what I do.

Paul Ballard: [01:03:28] You know, you’re to get to keep one knife in there, one on your belt, one in your day pack. You know, it’s, it’s all there. And again, they’re all sharp. A lot of times I have one knife that’s always dedicated to removing the scent glands from deer.

Travis Bader: [01:03:42] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [01:03:43] So that way if I do touch the scent glands with that knife, I’m not contaminating, uh, anything else that I’m going to do, uh, as far as the preparation in the animal that’s good. A cheap, offshore knife is a cheap offshore knife and not worth having.

[01:04:00] Especially some of those folders that you see and they go for like, you know, no money at all. They’re going for $18 or $20, that’s a waste of money. But if you’re looking at a good Mora fixed blade made in Sweden, it’s a different kettle of fish altogether.  And they can make those fixed blade dives cause they do ’em in, in high quantities for that price.

[01:04:24] But you’re getting something, those other ones that you see, uh, you know, uh, typically at, uh, the county fair, for lack of a better term,

Travis Bader: [01:04:32] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [01:04:32] Or should we say the, you know, the, you know, the, um, the arcades and stuff, it just junk, not worth having. The size of the knife is less significant. I see a lot of people get way too big of a knife.

Travis Bader: [01:04:46] You don’t need a big knife.

Paul Ballard: [01:04:48] If you look at your index finger, that’s about as long as you want the blade to be, because that way you can learn to use your index finger as a guard so that the short, sharp tip or point of the knife isn’t going to puncture the paunch of the animal. You can use it, uh, uh, very effectively.

Travis Bader: [01:05:07] You know, there’s so much kit that a new Hunter would need when they’re going out that it can become overwhelming, and it can, it can really break the bank when you get into it. I think this episode could go on and on.

Paul Ballard: [01:05:21] and I, and I think you’re right, and we kind of discussed this beforehand, but we’ve covered sort of the basics to get you out there hunting.

[01:05:27] I think what, you know, Travis, we should talk about at a future podcast. And if we get back from people who have listened, uh, that information do you want to hear about, you know, what you should have in your day pack? What’s the kind of clothing that you should be wearing? Cause that is a huge thing, back in the day and you had rubber, leather, and wool.

Travis Bader: [01:05:50] Right.

Paul Ballard: [01:05:51] And, and trust me, I never had dry feet when I was, uh, other than if I wore rubber boots, and that was usually only if we were going to go duck hunting. But, um.

Travis Bader: [01:06:00] Man, things have changed.

Paul Ballard: [01:06:01] They have, and you can break the bank on that stuff too.

Travis Bader: [01:06:05] Oh yeah.

Paul Ballard: [01:06:05] Or you can search out and find, you know, manufacturers that are making reasonably priced equipment. Clothing equipment, uh, that, that will make your, your hunt so much more comfortable.

Travis Bader: [01:06:15] You know, one thing I’m going to be looking into, we saw them when we’re down at Shot Show was a company called Klymit. I guess KLY, MIT?

Paul Ballard: [01:06:23] Yes.

Travis Bader: [01:06:23] They’ve got sleeping pads, pillows, sleeping bags. Looks like some pretty good stuff, and the prices and breaking the bank and for a new Hunter getting out there.

Paul Ballard: [01:06:33] Well, I think we should do that. I think we should be looking at a, at a podcast in the future. We discussed some of the Ancillary equipment around everything. Hatchets even too

Travis Bader: [01:06:42] Sure.

Paul Ballard: [01:06:42] Should talk about what’s a good hatchet they have. You know, what kind of, um, socks you should be looking at. All those things.

Travis Bader: [01:06:48] Darn Tough, full-stop. Darn Tough, best socks I’ve ever had.

Paul Ballard: [01:06:52] I love, I like good old boiled wolf nordic socks, man oh man. Well, you know, it’s just that real thick, you know, cozy wool that you can pull on there. And man, I think.

Travis Bader: [01:07:03] And these are Marina wool, ah, there’s. Swear by them they’ll last you years.

Paul Ballard: [01:07:09] Yeah.

Travis Bader: [01:07:10] Anyways, sounds like we’re plugging a lot of people here. I’m just, it, cause this is, this is stuff that I use and I, and I like.

Paul Ballard: [01:07:15] It is, and I, I mean, I don’t own any of these companies. I don’t make money from any of these companies, but I’m impressed. And, you know, like I say, Vortex can’t go wrong. Absolutely can’t go wrong. And, uh.

Travis Bader: [01:07:27] we’ll see. The response we get on this.

Paul Ballard: [01:07:29] It is, it’s up to you though. You’re the listener here. What do you want? And I mean, you know, and who do you want to hear it from?

Travis Bader: [01:07:37] There we go. Maybe we should be seeing if we can get Vortex on the line to talk about their optics and to answer any questions that people might have on that as well.

Paul Ballard: [01:07:44] I think so.

Travis Bader: [01:07:46] Okay. Well let’s, let’s wrap it up there.

Paul Ballard: [01:07:47] All right.

Travis Bader: [01:07:48] Thank you.

Paul Ballard: [01:07:49] Thank you. Hey, when you handed me these, I am….. nice. Boy. those are heavy though. [01:08:05]

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