J-B Weld – The magical fixit potion
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I spent much of my career working as a millwright in manufacturing plants so the value of J-B Weld isn’t lost on me. That being said, with the well-known “traditional” uses and formula of J-B Weld, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they have a whole line of innovative products.

I’d like to thank Anthony from Brandware Public Relations reaching out to me with some info about their other products. Coincidentally, I had just had the hinges pull out of my large cooler and I was stymied as to what might fix it. I asked Anthony and here is what he told me:

“The best product for fixing your cooler would be J-B PlasticWeld, an epoxy putty great for rigid and semi-flexible plastics as well as PVC pipes, fiberglass and several other surfaces. PlasticWeld sets in 25 minutes and cures to a hard surface in 2-3 hours. It cures to an off-white color and is rated at a tensile strength of 350 PSI. After it cures, it can be sawed, drilled, carved, sanded and painted.

Another product you could use is J-B WaterWeld, an epoxy putty specifically made for plugging leaks and patching holes in water and fuel tanks, pipes and boat hulls. The putty sets in 15-25 minutes and cures after in an hour to an off-white color. WaterWeld is rated at a tensile strength of 900 PSI and can withstand temperatures up to 300 degrees F. Similar to PlasticWeld, it can be drilled, tapped, filed, sanded and painted after it cures.”

Anthony was kind enough to send me some samples, so I gave it a whirl…

I mixed both products according to the directions and applied not just behind the hinge plate on the flat surface, but also in the stripped-out screw holes. I let them cure per the directions and am happy to report that both products worked! Now I haven’t really gone crazy trying to make the repair fail, but so far, under normal use, the hinges are holding up fine!

Yu all know the type of plastic that coolers are made of. It has that weird slick surface texture and I couldn’t imagine what would adhere properly. Don’t forget that JB Weld makes a whole line of products that can get you out of a bind whether you’re on a boat, in a tent, living in an RV, or fixing a quad. More from JB Weld:

“Hi Marshall,

Fishing season is in full swing and hunting is right around the corner – outdoorsmen everywhere are re-spooling poles, picking out lures, cleaning guns and stocking up on bullets. Question: What’s the one thing you should never leave home without for a fishing or hunting trip?

J-B Weld. Yep, you read that right. While the original J-B Weld is traditionally a great formula for repairing automotive issues, the creators also offer a variety of products for other aspects of life – including hunting and fishing! Out on the boat and it springs a leak? Your fishing pole breaks? Out on the hunt and your arrow breaks? Piece of your tree stand snaps off? Whatever the case may be, if you have J-B Weld, rest assured the crisis can be averted.

For example, WaterWeld is an all-around good tool to keep in a tackle box as it sticks to plastics, metals, woods and can even stop a small boat leak as it can be applied underwater. SteelStik is a great adhesive that is much stronger and more reliable than traditional glues and only takes 1 hour to cure for those emergencies in the middle of nowhere. KwikWeld is for more permanent fixes as it takes 6 hours to cure but by the next day, you’re good to go!

Additionally, all J-B Weld products are available at a very attractive price and at local home improvement stores everywhere, making them tools the average outdoorsmen should never leave home without.”

Welcoming In The New Year With Mtn Ops
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I’m always on the lookout for great products and cool companies so I am excited to be joining the Field Staff of MTN OPS outdoor performance supplements. It can’t come at a btter time – I embarked on a weight loss journey last year and although it went well (I lost over 30 pounds), I hit some hurdles with health problems and injuries. For 2015 I want to continue the quest, and lose another 30-35 in order to hit my goal weight.

Coincidentally, Mtn Ops has just launched the Conquer Challenge – an effort designed to help you be successful whether you goal is to get lighter, stronger, or both!

If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

Looking to get real results? Choose Your Challenge—weight or strength.
When you accept the ‪#‎ConquerChallenge‬, we’ll be with you to provide guidance including: 30, 60 & 90 day fitness programs, meal plans, and weekly emails filled with motivation and expert advice.
Every 30 day program receives a FREE Conquer Cap & MORE with purchase of a 60 or 90 day program.
Oh, and did we mention there is a $1,000 prize, including a one year supply of one MTN OPS product of your choice for the winners.

I’m excited to get the product in my hands, and to kickstart my weight loss journey again. I’m excited to be working with a cool bunch of folks like the ones at Mtn Ops. They’re already looking forward to working with me on some product reviews, interviews, and more! Stay tuned!

In the meantime, learn more:

Follow them on FACEBOOK

Check out their BLOG

Learn more about MTN OPS and their philosophy, their roots, and their goal.

Elk Hunt Follow-Up
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Well, you can read the story about the actual hunt here: 1st Elk.

I picked up the meat from Holliday Processing the other day and I couldn’t be happier. I had it made mostly into steaks, burger and green chile bratwurst. Mmmmmm. The guys at Holliday did an awesome job and the price was very fair too. They have shops in the east valley and Buckeye.

If that elk had been one smidgen bigger I would have had to buy another freezer so all’s well that ends well!

Survival Straps With Active Edge
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Well, survival straps weren’t new to me but I was excited when Jason Ovitt from Asylum Public Relations reached out to me to tell me about the newest innovation with the folks from Survival Straps.

Jason posed it to me like this: “Training for a four day backpacking trip, epic mountain climb, week-long kayaking trip or other great adventure puts great stress on a body and stretches anyone to their physical limits. Rather than wearing a fitness bracelet that just tracks the number of calories you burn and how you are sleeping you could be wearing an Active Edge Survival Strap bracelet that can actually improve aspects of your health. This new survival bracelet, treated with a waterproof frequency technology, is now capable of giving athletes and people training for any sport a 7% average increase in range of motion, 12% average increase in grip strength, 8% average reduction in fatigue with an increase in REM restorative sleep time. Clinical trials have proven that wearing an Active Edge Survival Bracelet activates the sympathetic nervous system resulting in an increase of blood flow and decrease in inflammation, which helps to enhance performance. Wearing an Active Edge Survival Bracelet can help improve flexibility, range of motion, strength, endurance and recovery. But when your in a jam out in the woods it can also be unwound to provide the wearer with a paracord rope for gear repairs or medical uses that is strong enough to hold up to 500 pounds.

Would you be interested in learning more about the Active Edge bracelets by Survival Straps and giving one a try?”

I was trying to get ready for an elk hunt, so “Heck, yeah!” I wanted to try one…

Active Edge technology is incorporated into an already great survival bracelet. Why?

“Our Active Edge products are treated with InBalance Technology, a scientifically proven, cutting-edge, proprietary frequency technology developed here in America. When you wear an Active Edge bracelet or necklace, it will help your body to perform at a more optimal level. It will not give you super human strength. However, it can give you an extra edge and improve things like your flexibility, range of motion, strength, endurance, & recovery.

Medical experts believe when the treated bracelet or necklace comes into close proximity with the body, it activates the sympathetic nervous system. This increases blood flow and oxygen intake, while at the same time decreases inflammation, which all helps to enhance performance.”

So? I bet you’re wondering…. “Did it work?” I’d like to say resoundingly, “Yes!” but I think the best I can do is “I think so”. Here is experience: I was in the process of getting ready for an elk hunt. A few months ago, I had changed my eating habits, lost some weight, and had started hitting the gym regularly. I was hoping that the Active Edge bracelet would make a difference in the gym. Unfortunately when the bracelet arrived, I was a couple of weeks into some sciatic nerve issues which were sidelining me from the gym. I was undergoing chiropractic care and getting frustrated. I put on the bracelet, and in 3 days I had a significant reduction in pain, it was almost at a negligible level. Two weeks before my elk hunt, I bent over to pick up a book off of the bathtub and “POW”. It felt like I had been shot in the back, right at the site where I had been having sciatic issues. The pain was substantial and I hobbled to the couch. I thought my elk hunt was gone. By Monday I could still barely move so I called my family doc. They squeezed me in and I was prescribed pain medication, muscle relaxer, x-rays and physical therapy. Within 4 days, and with minimal pain medication I was able to get around pretty good. I was cautiously optimistic – my elk hunt was the following weekend.

The Friday after Thanksgiving I was sore but mobile. My truck was loaded and I was on the road by 5:30 AM. Two hours later I was on a hilltop in elk country, glassing for bulls with my friends. I only had Friday, Saturday and Sunday to hunt (you can read the story HERE) So 3 days of hiking up and down hills and rocky outcroppings and small canyons; 3 days of bouncing around in the Ranger, on some pretty hard-core trails.I honestly thought I was going to finish wrecking my back, and I would be looking at weeks to fully recover. Long story short, I shot a young spike at the 11th hour on Sunday. We packed him out, I picked up my gear at my friends and hit the road. I was home by 10:30 Sunday night. By Monday I was virtually pain free. I have been pain free for the most part, during the past 2 weeks. Was it because of the bracelet? I don’t know. I had a follow up appointment with my Doctor the other day and she couldn’t believe it – I was “cured”.

Honestly, based on the extensive clinical trials and my experience – quick resolution to an existing ailment, sudden extreme regression, and 2 weeks to pain free again…. I have to say, “I’m a believer”, and this technology works.

Here is what the clinical trials revealed:

Results of Clinical Trials

The results of the clinical trials with 2500 people were remarkable and consistent. The testing indicated that by wearing frequency treated products, physiological function had significantly improved in the areas of strength, flexibility, balance, and endurance. Ninety percent of the test participants showed statistically significant improvement in those areas. None of the test participants had any negative side effects or showed a decrease in physiological function. Test results showed the following:

Range of motion increased by an average of 15% – 20%
Strength increased by an average of 3% – 6%
Increased balance
Increased endurance
Increase in blood flow
Decrease in inflammation
In addition, many test participants reported the following:

Reduction in pain from things such as arthritis
Improved sleep
Improvement in breathing when exercising (many reported a feeling similar to getting a second wind)
Reduction in headaches

On my hunt, my “wind” definitely seemed better (I still have a ways to go, on my fitness quest). I do believe my arthritis symptoms have been pretty much absent, which is unusual. I have had some sleep issues however.

I believe in this technology.I certainly believe in the value and quality of Survival Straps, with or without the Active Edge technology. Seriously, I would encourage you to give it a try. I think it’s important to note that they offer wraps, necklaces, dog collars and more. You can visit them online HERE. Read the info, the testimonials, and decide for yourself. For me, I’m sold!

Another “first” – an Arizona Elk
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My friend John Greiss was AZGFD’s 2013 “Mentor of the Year”, and that was no mistake. John has been in on dozens of hunting “firsts”, for nearly every species, and all over Arizona. He was in on my daughter Mikaela’s first javelina, he led the way for my first Coues, and last spring he helped me with finally – my first javelina.

John really liked the idea of me going 3 for 3 on Arizona big game tags, so he was all about strategy on the elk draw. “Put in with me for the late season 22 south tag”, he said. “You’ll likely draw, and we’ll get you a bull.” Lo and behold, I drew that tag along with John and our friend Miguel. From the moment I saw the draw results, the excitement started to build.

John spends a ton of time in that Unit, and between hunting trips, scouting, and other outdoor adventures, he was confident we would score. In the old days, “the curse” would have had me stymied, but I was 2 for 2 with John, so the excitement was there for months. I started a quest to lose weight (ended up losing about 35 pounds), got side-tracked with a heart-health scare, had a job change, and finally, a bunch of back issues. As a matter of fact, I hurt my back bad, 2 weeks before the hunt and it was bad enough I was pretty concerned I wouldn’t be able to hunt. Luckily it had eased enough that the morning after Thanksgiving, I packed my truck and was on the road to Tucson. I only had Friday through Sunday to hunt, so the pressure was on!

John and good friend RL Gray had been watching bulls for a couple of weeks, and RL’s wife Sherri had shot an awesome bull in that unit during muzzleloader season. By the time I got there, they had a plan.

By 7:30 or so I was on a hilltop near Payson, helping glass for elk. My hunt was upon us! By mid morning the guys had spotted a couple of cows, a 4×4 and a spike. They asked if I wanted to chase them. I said to John “you tell me, what do you think?” John said he thought we could do better, and that we should pass for now, and that’s what we did. The afternoon was relatively uneventful, and the next morning we were up and at it early again.

It wasn’t long before we heard from John that he had a good bull located. He was on a point a couple of miles away, so RL and MIguel and I loaded up and made our way over towards him. He watched the elk the whole time, who were nonchalantly moving up a hill, away from a waterhole that we knew was in that area. He had a good 5×5, a spike, and a couple of cows located. RL and I started working our way around the bottom trying to get set up for a shot. Finally we had him spotted! RL was on him and I was getting set up but he moved into some brush. We reset, RL helped me get lined up and by the time I settled down,got my sight picture, moved off the safety, started my trigger squeeze…. a cow stepped directly behind him!He was quartering away up the hill and the cow was located in such a way that had I missed or passed through, I might have hit her. Arrrggghhhh!!! At that point he was near the top, and they ambled up over and out of sight. I was mad,and frustrated that I took too long and at the same time, glad I didn’t take the shot once I was ready.Later that afternoon we saw a spike and 2 cows in a different spot, but no shot opportunity. In the evening, John was in another area, and Miguel glassed up a 4×4, 2 spikes and some cows, but they were way too far away to chase, at last light.

We were confident with all the elk we were seeing, that Sunday we would have a great chance. The morning was odd. Miguel and John went one way, RL and I another. In spite of the fact we hadn’t seen a ton of cows and the days prior, we saw between 20-30 cows and calves in the space of an hour, and then the action stopped abruptly. Nothing was going on, and RL had’t had any sleep. His house wasn’t far away so he suggested a pit stop for lunch and a nap – so off we went. Miguel and John checked in and said they were going to check another spot, then meet us back up at the original hill for the evening shoot. We had a couple hours so RL was snoozing on the couch and I was watching a football game when the phone rang. It was John. He said “I got bulls”. RL said “We’ll be there in 10 minutes” and we scurried out the door.

To make a long story not quite so long, John walked RL and I into shooting position. We were fighting a stiff breeze and it was tricky getting set up. There was a spike and bigger bull feeding in the manzanitas. By the time we were ready, it was a 300 yard shot, a pretty good downhill angle. I was shooting a .270 WSM off of my tripod, using a TriClawps shooting aid. The bigger one stepped out, and I shot clean over his back! Ugh. RL was positive I missed, having watched the vapor trail pass cleanly over him. He scampered off, but the spike stayed put. I missed him underneath. I took a breath, shot him, and he took a step and faltered. RL says “He’s down, but trying to get up. Shoot him again”. I found him and could only see his face and brisket through the bushes. I shot him through his brisket. RL said “He’s done”. John was on the radio saying “Bull down!!”

True to form, John did most of the dirty work, expertly dressing that bull and getting every scrap of meat off of him. By pure luck, the bull went down about 120 yards from an ATV trail. I shot the elk around 4:30. With 4 sets of hands, a Ranger, and a lucky ATV trail nearby. I was cleaned up, packed, and on the road towards Phoenix by 8:30 PM

I learned a lot on this hunt, as I do on most of my hunts. I spent a lot of range time last year, getting loads dialed in, a new scope zeroed, and a custom turret by Kenton Industries installed. That was mostly bench shooting though. My whole off-season range-work this year will be spent shooting off my pack, off the Claw, and from sitting, kneeling and standing positions. I know these things happen, but I was not happy with misses, and needing to shoot that animal twice – regardless of how quickly it was over, it was unacceptable to me. I shot a lot in the military and in those days it was open sights – from 100-800 metres. I need practice getting set up quicker and being accurate – off a variety of positions, shooting angles, etc. I never had problems like this in those days. My glassing is getting better. I’m no expert by any means, but I am finding stuff now and then. Practice helps, but like I said – I’m always learning something hunting with these guys.

I am very indebted to John, RL and Miguel. RL did a lot of scouting before I got there, and was a huge help and coach on my hunt – usually operating with little or no sleep. Miguel helped, gave advice and is just a good guy to hunt with. He had the same tag and passed on opportunities so I could get a bull first. John is an amazing friend and truly is a mentor. I’m always learning from him and he is a warrior on these trips, usually doing all the heavy lifting – figuratively and literally. He sacrifices his time, opens up his home, uses his vehicles – to help people hunt. And he loves every minute of it. I need to thank my friend Greg McBride too. He helped me learn to relaod and develop great loads for my rifle, he always has good advice, he’s a good shooting coach and finally – an awesome taxidermist too.

Ironically, in the weeks leading up to my hunt John kept asking me what kind of bull I was looking for. “Anything but a spike”, I’d say. “Spike elk look weird”. Well, we all know that our standards go down as the hunt draws to an end and honestly – I think my spike elk looks just fine! A muley and a bear are on my bucket list for the coming year. Truth be told though, I’m already anxious for my next elk hunt.

Swab-Its a Great Addition to my Gun Cleaning Kits
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A big “thank you” to Pam Den Hartog from Super Brush for reaching out to me about Bore Tipsand Swab Its and providing some samples to try!

I was curious as to how foam would hold up with different solvents and I have to say, they worked like a charm! I stripped and cleaned a few different guns including my .270 WSM and my Glock 32. I tried the foam products with Break Free, Butch’s Bore Shine and Hoppe’s No. 9 and they worked even better than advertised!

The foam held up like a champ, even after repeated usage.The Bore Tips were great for applying solvent, removing fouling and drying the bore.

The swabs worked great for the small nooks and crannies, including all of the places I would have used my small steel brush. They got the gunk out with ease, cleaned the shiny bits, and sparingly applied lube where needed. That foam is tough! It didn’t crumble, shred or deteriorate in any way. They cleaning implements come in several sizes and tip configurations, and the Bore Tips come in several popular calibers.

I have to say, when it comes to these products, I am now a fan – they will be the mainstay on my cleaning bench from now on, replacing brushes of various materials, slotted jags, and little bits of flannel patching.

Best of all, their products can be cleaned and re-used as seen on their website.

What a great family of products!

From Swab Its:

The Story of How Swab-Its® Changed the Way People Clean Their Firearms

This is the story of an innovative American company, Super Brush LLC, which, through its Swab-Its® division changed the way people have cleaned their firearms for the past 200 years.

For 60 plus years, the company has been developing and manufacturing products in the USA for the high tech, electrical, medical, cosmetic and aerospace markets around the world.

Because their employees were having problems cleaning their own firearms, the company decided to apply its high tech engineering staff to these problems and to engineer a solution and bring it to the rest of the world.

The first firearms cleaning products, Swab-Its® Bore-Tips® – were launched three years ago at the Las Vegas Shot Show and were deemed by bloggers at the Shot Show to be one of the best new products of the year. The Swab-Its® Bore-Tips® garnered similar accolades at the following NRA Shows.

Superior to patches, Swab-Its® Bore-Tips® save time, are simpler to use than a patch, follow the rifling better, are reusable for multiple times, and easy to clean with soap and water or mineral spirits.

Swab-Its® has continued to develop more firearms cleaning products, from the initial launch of just two sizes of Bore-Tips® through 20ga shotgun sizes, and including Gun-Tips®, new products designed to clean parts outside of the bore. Based on extensive research with a wide range of firearms specialists, and feedback from an enthusiastic public, these new Bore-Tips® and Gun-Tips® are much superior to patches and any other firearm cleaning product on the market today.

Seven Ways To Make The Holidays Warm & Bright – From Zippo
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Seven Ways To Make The Holidays Warm & Bright

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (November 2014) — Choose a practical gift that will make the holidays warmer and brighter for you and the people on your shopping list.

1. Zippo® Hand Warmers provide up to 12 hours of gentle, consistent, odorless heat — more than disposable warmers — and they’re refillable with Zippo Premium Lighter Fluid, so they don’t end up in landfills. Each Hand Warmer features all metal construction and comes with a fleece warming bag, so the heat is always gentle on your skin. Personalize your gift with engraving at zippo.com. Starting at $19.95, these are a great gift at a great price for anyone who enjoys cold weather activities.

2. When you want to warm up by a roaring campfire fast, Zippo® Cedar Fire Starter pucks are the way to go. Made from wax and compressed cedar chips, they take the place of tinder and light kindling fast. Each one is scored to break into 4 pieces, for 4 fires. This great stocking stuffer starts at $1.95.

3. Light up the night with luminaries lining your sidewalk and driveway. Zippo® Flexneck Utility Lighters make it easier to light the way. Dual-flame technology keeps the flame burning strong even in stiff wind. A flexible neck precisely positions the flame in any direction. The narrow gauge head is small enough to reach into other tight spots in lanterns, BBQ grills and camping stoves. Outdoor enthusiasts and holiday decorators will appreciate the sturdy, all metal construction with a suggested retail price of $19.95

4. Zippo® Rugged Lanterns brighten your night. Designed to be the most durable on the market, the lantern can survive drops from as high as five feet. The waterproof Zippo Rugged Lantern even floats. LED lights are popular with campers because they don’t cause fires or emit terrible odors. The Rugged Lantern draws power from a rechargeable lithium ion battery and offers a battery life / runtime of 10-hours, 15-hours or 40-hours at the high, medium or low brightness setting respectively. A flexible and detachable handle lets owners hang or carry the lantern anywhere. While most LED lanterns barely last beyond one season, this durable lantern has a 5-year limited warranty. Suggested retail is $89.95.

5. The Zippo® Emergency Fire Starter doesn’t even rely on a flame to start a fire. It uses a simple flint wheel to spark water-resistant, waxed tinder sticks that store in a waterproof case. In emergencies, where matches or lighters are unavailable, this kit can start a fire almost instantly and may save lives. Some of the outdoors’ top people think so, too. It was awarded the Seal of Approval by the North American Hunting Club. Retailing at $9.95, this is a thoughtful gift for the outdoorsy person on your list.

6. The Zippo® Heat Gift Set includes a windproof lighter, chrome hand warmer, and premium lighter fuel (4 fl. oz. can). The windproof lighter is refillable, has an easy one-hand operation with flint wheel, and backed by our lifetime guarantee. The hand warmer has a sleek, thin metal design that fits in and out of pockets, provides 12 hours of warmth, and is reusable and virtually odorless. The premium lighter fluid provides optimum product performance. From hunting to hitting the slopes, this set has everything needed to stay warm in the outdoors from $39.95.

7. Going to an event and need a gift for the host? The Zippo® Fire Gift Set (from $29.95) is a practical gift that literally helps start the festivities. The gift set includes a cedar fire starter, satin silver flex neck utility lighter, and premium butane fuel (1.48 oz. can). The cedar fire starter is made of compressed cedar and wax, lights quickly, and will start 4 fires. The flex neck utility lighter has dual-flame advanced burner technology, adjustable flame, and precision lighting in a slim, powerful nozzle. The premium butane fuel provides optimum lighter performance.
Zippo products are available for purchase at many fine retailers including zippooutdoor.com.

About Zippo
Born from Zippo’s legacy of fire, durability and reliability, Zippo offers a full line of products designed to enhance the outdoor experience. Whether in the backyard, the campsite or tailgating, Zippo offers the performance consumers expect while establishing a new standard for quality that sets the brand apart in the marketplace. Celebrating more than 80 years of business in Bradford, PA, Zippo is one of the most recognized brands in the world, and has produced over 500 million windproof lighters, each backed by an unparalleled lifetime guarantee.

Lint Free, Cleanable, and Reusable Gun Cleaning Foam Swabs
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There seems to be constant new innovations and products regarding cleaning solvents, but little evolution has occurred in regards to cleaning patches. Most of us are still using little flannel patches, pieces of cotton pillow cases or underwear – you name it. The folks from Bore Tips are changing all of that! ~Desert Rat

Swab-Its® family of innovative Lint Free, Cleanable, and Reusable gun cleaning foam swabs just got bigger.

Swab-Its® introduces its extraordinary .177 and .22cal Bore-Whips™. These new members of the Swab-Its® family are pull-through gun cleaning products that can be inserted from the breech and outperform any product on the market with tight, complete bore coverage. The new .177 Bore-Whips™ work great with precision air guns and .17 caliber rimfire and centerfire rifles alike. The .22 Bore-Whips™ are especially useful with airguns, semi-autos and lever actions. Both the .177 and the .22cal Bore-Whips™ function as Empty Chamber Indicators (ECI) as well.

Swab-Its® is known for its popular Bore-Tips® that are superior to patches for cleaning and lubricating firearm bores, and their Gun-Tips™ that can get into all the nooks and crannies. These new Bore-Whips™ bring faster, easier pull-through cleaning for.17’s and .22’s.

Swab-Its® .177 Bore-Whips™ are available now at Bore Tips. Swab-Its® .22 Bore-Whips™ will be available mid-December.

Reviewing the Vapr Boot from Irish Setter
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A reprint from my review originally posted over at Outdoor Hub

I’d like to thank Kim Emery from Firefly Publicity and Irish Setter Boots for sending me a pair of the VaprTrek boots to do a review on. These boots looked ideally suited to the deserts I frequently hunt, here in Arizona.

From Irish Setter, here are some details on these boots:

New VaprTrek boots are 40% lighter than traditional Irish Setter big game hunting boots without sacrificing support or stability. RPM Technology, a breakthrough composite material, significantly reduces the weight of the boot, providing extreme comfort without the extra weight.

The RPM sole features a bi-directional lug pattern for increased traction and balance during heel strike and toe off. The wrap-around instep provides protection and aids in gripping tree stand rungs or ATV foot pegs. Armatec™ heel and toe protection guards against ground hazards. Underfoot comfort is enhanced with an anatomically-correct polyurethane and high-rebound foam footbed with a ScentBan™ odor inhibiting top cover. And a ScentBan lining delivers scent control through a process that kills odor-causing bacteria.

Irish Setter VaprTrek hunting boots incorporate UltraDry™ waterproofing so feet stay dry and boots stay breathable. A memory foam collar forms to fit the ankle for comfortable stability in the boot shaft. The Cushin™ Comfort Tongue offers long-lasting comfort in the shin area. A speed lacing system with one-tug tightening provides fast, snug lacing.

While waiting for hunting season to roll around, I tested these boots over the course of several hikes in the San Tan Mountain Regional Park, which is within a few miles of my house. Temps and weather varied from 107 and sunny, to about 100 and blustery with summer thunderstorms rolling around. This terrain is typical of the Sonoran desert, hard-packed and rocky, with lots of prickly things.

These boots are very comfortable, first off. The bottom of the boot on the inside is soft yet supportive. The sole is firm enough that stepping on sharp rocks didn’t feel uncomfortable, but they were thin enough that I always had a good feel for the terrain underfoot. The treads worked as advertised, providing good footing whether I was on smooth rock, gravel, or shards. The boots and stitching held up well. The soft sides seemed relatively impervious to accidental contact with cactii, a constant nuisance in Arizona. They were light, as adevertised, and I enjoyed wearing them.

I tend to roll my ankles a lot in rough terrain. These boots provided enough support that I never rolled my ankles, but they weren’t so stiff that I felt like I was wearing ski boots either. Again, I found them to be comfortable, rugged and supportive. Having no body of water to verify that they were waterproof, I came home from one hike, snuck into the bathroom with my boots on and filled up the tub. They are indeed waterproof as I spent several minutes with them fully submerged in the tub. Luckily my wife didn’t catch me. If I could find one “con” – these boots were oddly warm. Not so warm that I was dying, but warm enough that I went and double-checked the box to make sure that I had received the non-insulated boots. They weren’t insulated, but they were pretty “cozy” nonetheless. Of course, it was over 100 degrees out, every time I hiked.

All in all, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend these boots. They are sturdy, well-designed and can handle rough use. I didn’t baby them out in the desert, and there was no sign at all of wear, stitching breakdown, separation, etc. A great product from Irish Setter Boots.

Desert Rat Talks to Doug Giles
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Well, I’m hoping that you read my review of Rise, Kill & Eat by Doug Giles. This was an awesome book, and I’d like to thank Lyn over at Liberty Alliance Publicity for allowing me to do a follow up interview with Doug.

I received a release from Doug’s publicist with his take on hunting:

“Five Reasons Why I Love Hunting”

1. Hunters are the salt of the earth. Matter of fact, I’d say that 95% of the people I have met in the hallowed hunting camp have been upright, pleasant, courteous, grateful, hard working, God-and-country-loving, family oriented folks with whom it was my deepest pleasure to be able to share a few days pursuing game.

2. Hunters put their money where their mouth is. What I’ve seen in 30 plus years out in the hunting fields is this: The family that hunts together stays together. Hunting requires communication between the hunting parties. There’s a lot that goes into being a successful hunter, and it demands plenty of quality time spent between the tribe discussing safety, terrain, conservation, the particular animals to be pursued, and choices of weapons, boots, clothes, bullets, bows/arrows After all the aforementioned prelim stuff is done with, then the hunt commences, which includes sitting, walking, stalking, and then relaxing around the sacred campfire, where it’s just talking, laughing and anticipating the next day, you are all together. The hunter understands this: Family is everything.

3. Hunting provides massive amounts of food for the poor. The reality is that we provide a massive, benevolent source of high-protein, low-fat food to the poor at our own expense. In the last couple of years alone, my buddies and I have paid for the hunting, butchering and processing of, conservatively, 10,000 pounds of sweet venison for the poor in Africa and at risk kids, Christian ministries, and abused and battered women here in the U.S. of A. That’s 10,000 plus pounds of meat just between a few guys in the last few years.

4. Art by God. The hunter gets an ocular overload, as he is fortunate to behold the handiwork of the Creator in an intimate and intimidating way. The hunter understands what King David meant in Psalm 23 when he says that God “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul.”

5. Hunting revives the hunter’s primal roots. Just getting out in the wild reconnects me with my original spiritual and physical moorings. When God created Adam and Eve, He made certain that their initial crib didn’t have cable TV or a home association.

Honestly, Doug really seems like my kind of guy, so I thought it would be cool to ask him some questions. Thanks again to Lyn for doing the legwork, and Doug for taking time out of his bus schedule to answer some questions…

1. Why do you think we have gotten so far in society where hunting is frowned upon more and more? Urbanization?
Changing social values?

I think, we think, hunting is ‘frowned upon by more and more people’ because the morons have been given a massive megaphone, via social media, to make their emotional imbecilicy heard.

In addition, the concrete jungles of the malls and the game room basements of Any-Town, America has squelched the provider, protector, hunter, hero vibe from the American collective. Especially, the metrosexual males.

Lastly, the doe-eyed bunny loving tree-humpers also are in control of TV and motion pictures and they wash their dain bramaged masses with the message that anyone who puts the bam to Bambi is evil. The reality is, if it weren’t for hunters and the 100s of millions of dollars they put towards conservation annually … that our flora and fauna would be screwed, glued and tattooed.

2. Do you think we can swing the pendulum the other way or should we simply attempt to slow or delay the inevitable?

I think the pendulum is swinging our way. Women are entering the hunting fields in record numbers. Slowly but surely great reality and food shows are showing the fact that hunting is a legit way of life and and the food taken in the hunt is better than that store bought, poison choked, crap grub you get from the grocery.

I think if we give up countering the lunatics’ anti-hunting rhetoric then we’re to blame for the possibility of hunting being verboten.

3. Christian values seem to be sliding too. Same problems or different? (than hunting)

Our nation has been systematically hijacked by secularists who don’t give a flibbertigibbet about traditional values and it is way past time that Christians got vocal, not only about God loving bad people, but that we too have equal rights, under the law, to enjoy our beliefs without having some godless ‘progressive’ tell us what to think and how to behave.

4. As hunters, what is our biggest mistake? Infighting? Insensitivity? Lack of education and outreach?

I’d say, lack of education of the amazing blessing hunting and hunters bring to real life in the preservation of land and species. Additionally, I gotta say we need some cojones and comedic relief to confront and ridicule the obstreperous when they start to slam our grand tradition. It’s time to get on the offensive because science and truth is on our side.

5. What is the best thing the hunting community can do to promote our lifestyle?

Aside from buying my book, we’ve got to be an example to all men: we’ve got to be sharp, solid and smart and counter the knuckle draggin’-Neanderthal-Bubba cartoon the anti-hunting dipsticks have made us out to be.

6. What is your favorite hunt? What is on your bucket list that you haven’t done yet?

Geez … what’s my favorite hunt? There has been so many from Alaska to Africa. Some successful and some not but all equally enjoyable because I only hunt with great friends and family. That said, I must put at the top of my list my Alaska brown bear hunt when I took a 10′ prehistoric toad with my .375H&H and my buffalo hunt in Zimbabwe last year when I finally got my first cape buffalo bull with my wife on our 25th anniversary.

My bucket list? It includes, but is not limit to; elephant, lion, leopard, dry ground hippo, bongo, lord derby eland, markhor, the various ibex species, mt. goat, yukon moose, roe deer and an Amazon fishing trip. After that … I can die and go eat some ice-cream in heaven with Jesus.

Loving you some Doug Giles? You can read more here: Town Hall.com – Doug Giles

Buy his newest book here: Rise, Kill & Eat