What Is A ‘Ghost Gun’?

Ghost Gun

The term ‘ghost gun’ is used to describe any homemade firearm produced by an individual, without a serial number or manufacturer markings. As long as the firearm is made for personal use and not for sale, this is perfectly legal at the federal level as long as you’re not a prohibited person.

‘Ghost gun’ is a term much like ‘assault rifle’ used by politicians to make perfectly legal firearms, owned by millions of law-abiding citizens seem scary and dangerous.

PROHIBITED PERSON

Being a prohibited person means you are not legally allowed to ship, transport, receive, or possess firearms or ammunition. This includes anyone:

  • convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  • who is a fugitive from justice;
  • who is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act, codified at 21 U.S.C. § 802);

Ghost gun 1911

  • who has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution;
  • who is an illegal alien;
  • who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • who has renounced his or her United States citizenship;
  • who is subject to a court order restraining the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner or child of the intimate partner; or
  • who has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

This will come into play later on.

IS A GHOST GUN FULLY AUTOMATIC?

The majority of these homemade firearms are owned by law-abiding citizens. The Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 banned weapons that reload automatically and fire continuously with a single function of the trigger.

Both fully automatic as well as “burst fire” are considered machine gun features. The receiver of these weapons by itself is considered a regulated firearm as well as any non-machine gun that is “readily convertible” and are classified as a machine gun. Pre-ban weapons are “grandfathered” and therefore may be purchased legally as NFA firearms.

What Is A 'Ghost Gun'? 2

The only way to legally manufacture a machine gun is by obtaining the proper federal licensing. Therefore the firearms owned by law-abiding citizens who are not licensed, are not fully automatic and are not easily converted to be. The receiver an automatic variant is very different, and requires parts not legal for purchase without aforementioned licensing.

The penalty of owning an unlicensed machine gun is up to 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, or both. This is more than enough to deter any law-abiding citizen from manufacturing a machine gun illegally.

IS A GHOST GUN DANGEROUS?

No modern-designed firearms are inherently dangerous. This includes the AR platforms that many of these ghost gun laws are aimed towards.

Even with all of the technological advances in the past century, we still don’t have any firearms that can unlock a safe, load themselves and go on a rampage through town. The only thing dangerous about a firearm is the intent of the person on the other end.

According to the Washington Post the ATF speculated that there were tens of thousands of these ‘ghost guns’ in California alone. Even with such large numbers, very few have been used to commit a crime. A murder-suicide, a shootout with the police, a mass shooting by a prohibited person, and a shooting spree by a man with a restraining order against him.

What Is A 'Ghost Gun'? 3

If there were only 10,000 of these rifles in the state, that makes a .0004% chance that one of these homemade firearms will be used in a violent crime.

Somehow the laws against murdering innocent people had no effect on these criminals. Yet many politicians believe banning aesthetic features on a rifle or the magazine capacity is supposed to suddenly change their minds. Preventing law-abiding people from continuing doing something we have done for hundreds of years isn’t going to save a single life because we  never want to take one.

Robbing banks and murder have been against the law for a couple years now, and we still see these things happen every day. Pretending that criminals will follow laws is ignorance in it’s finest form.

ar10 lower receiver kit

Banning these previously legal firearms would have more effect on the 99.9996% of law-abiding gun owners far more than it would effect the criminals who still refuse to cooperate.

According to the FBI statistics, in 2018 there were over 1,500 deaths committed by knives or other cutting instruments. Over 400 deaths the same year due to blunt objects such as hammers or clubs. Even more surprising is over 650 people were killed with hands, feet, or other personal weapons.

The same year there were 297 deaths from rifles. This isn’t just the scary black AR style rifles, this is bolt actions, lever, and pump action rifles as well. This statistic includes self-defense and police use as well.

HOW ARE GHOST GUNS MADE?

The receiver is the only part legally considered a firearm. Most other components of a firearm are unregulated. There are several ways to build a lower receiver legally (again at the federal level only, check your local and state laws).

An AR style rifle made by a manufacturer for resale will have the serial number on the lower receiver. This is not necessary when making a firearm with intention of personal use.

A homemade firearm can be made several ways. Some are aluminum billets, while others are polymer.

pistol receiver

80% RECEIVERS

Several companies offer receiver blanks that do not yet meet the definition of a firearm. The ATF has held that items such as receiver blanks, castings, or machined bodies must have a solid and un-machined fire-control cavity. These blanks have not yet reached the “stage of manufacture” that would result in being classified as a firearm as per the Gun Control Act of 1968.

What Is A 'Ghost Gun'? 4

80% is not a legal number and is not stated anywhere in law except when trying to ban previously legal receiver blanks. This again only has an effect on those of us that actually follow laws and has zero effect on criminals that by pure definition do not follow the law.

The remaining work needed to complete a receiver blank can be done in several ways. CNC machines, a drill press, or a router may be used to finish the blank. Some companies sell jigs with the required bits to finish the job. You may need to learn some new skills to use this equipment and actually produce a usable product.

Since the founding of our country it has been legal to make homemade firearms from raw material. With 3D printing options becoming more viable it’s possible to produce the receiver yourself using plastics or even metal.

A company called Defense Distributed makes a CNC machine dedicated to completing 80% lowers. They do this as a means of safeguarding the freedoms guaranteed by the second amendment.

Kits can be found for carbines, pistols, and AK variants as well.

Build parties are also a great option. People will get together with their receiver blanks and machine them into a functional receiver. This allows you to machine your blank without investing in costly tools.

Build parties are legal on a federal level as long as nobody is profiting from it and you machine your own parts. If you machine a part for a friend, even making a single pass on their lower violates this law. Everyone at the party must do their own work and the host of the party is not allowed to profit in any way, shape, or form.

WHY BAN GHOST GUNS?

Several states have started passing legislation banning “ghost guns”. With 3D printers becoming more common, the worry is that 3D printed firearms will be able to pass through metal detectors without setting them off. Places like New York require registration of any semi-automatic firearms with a detachable magazine that aren’t considered featureless. This makes a homemade rifle nearly impossible to accomplish legally in such states.

What Is A 'Ghost Gun'? 5

When used for illegal purposes, these weapons become very difficult to track down.

The issue with making new laws to cover this is that making an undetectable firearm has already been illegal for over 30 years. November 10th 1988 Ronald Reagan signed the Undetectable Firearms Act.

This act made it illegal to manufacture, import, or sell any firearm that is not detectable by a walk through metal detector or x-ray machine. It also made it illegal to manufacture any firearm with less than 3.7 oz of detectable steel.

This act was most recently renewed for another 10 years in 2013.

Banning the manufacture of homemade firearms quickly turns into a slippery slope. Lower receivers can be made from billets of aluminum, does that make a piece of aluminum into a potential firearm? Brass? Plastics that you buy for your 3D printer could even be considered a firearm if you reach far enough.

You can vote your freedom away in the name of safety, but you never really feel safer. And you never get that freedom back.

I understand anyone that doesn’t like guns and doesn’t want to own them personally. With the recent outbreak of the Covid-19, the government has told us our first line of defense is ourselves.

What Is A 'Ghost Gun'? 6

This is exactly what the 2A community has been saying for years. The police are minutes away when seconds count. In my area, I had to wait for a shift change when the 911 operator could hear the person trying to break into my home. Nearly 45 minutes later, (well after the situation was over) the local sheriff showed up just in time to take pictures.

WHY HOMEMADE FIREARMS ARE A GOOD THING

AR style rifles have been popular since they they were introduced by the ArmaLite Rifle Company in the 1950’s. They are very user-friendly and effective for hunting as well as defensive applications.

These are very modular firearms, and the serial number is applied lower receiver. This is where the trigger is held as well as the magazine.

A person in possession of a completed lower receiver is able to assemble the rest of the firearm with commonly available parts shipped straight to their house in most cases.

What Is A 'Ghost Gun'? 7

This allows law-abiding citizens to make a firearm for personal use without having to register the firearm and being on a list. This is huge for any advocate of the second amendment.

Firearms have been part of the American way of life since the founding of our great nation. We are a self-reliant people that are strong on our own and even stronger together. Our founding father’s were aware that this is our greatest strength and established the second amendment to guarantee that our country stayed free for future generations to flourish.

There are many countries that are considered “free”. Canada, France, England, and Australia are just a few. Out of any of these places, only America has the right to free speech as well as the right to life and liberty. Our founding fathers knew this was incredibly important to the longevity of our freedom.

They knew that a well armed militia was the only way to guarantee a free state, therefore the rights of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. To protect this country we need access to the same weapons the military has access to. This used to be muskets and has advanced with technology. Saying that the second amendment is outdated is like saying the the freedom of speech only covers the printing press or spoken word.

This thought process assumes that the people that founded our country thought we would never advance. In reality they worded the bill of rights to cover any changes that may happen over the course of time.

hong kong protest

This country was built on the strength of the individual people, taking away our right to protect ourselves can only turn out one way.

It seems nothing is more American than hating America, yet these people risk their lives to come here. People in China, Syria and Venezuela are murdered by their government in masses and have no way to keep their tyrannical government in check.

Let’s come together as a country and support each other. Let’s become the America that the people of Hong-Kong think we are.

Firearm Safety Is No Accident

Firearm safety is no accident book cover

-By Ryan Cleckner

A BOOK ON CHILDRENS FIREARM SAFETY

Table of Contents

Firearm safety has always been big in the hunting and competition communities. Even if you don’t have a firearm in the home, you never know if or when your child may encounter one for the first time.

What will your child do when a friend wants to show them their dad’s gun? Have you done enough as a parent to teach your child how to respond? Firearm Safety Is No Accident encourages a “Stop, get away, tell an adult” philosophy with firearms.

Jack and Alice, like all busy kids, make mistakes. In my experience, that seems to be a part of growing and learning. Firearm Safety Is No Accident teaches children that accidents happen and that’s okay. Most accidents can be fixed with a broom and some glue, things can be fixed and replaced and that they are still loved.

Firearm safety is no accident book cover

The book does this in a way that kids want to hear without making you sound like a nagging parent.

A firearm is introduced at the end of the book when Jack goes to visit his grandpa. Alice and jack both learn that an accident with a firearm can result in very serious injury that can’t be fixed with “glue or paste.”

After the children’s part of the story is a section for the adults that talks about firearm safety as well. Children must learn how to react in a bad situation, but real gun safety always starts with the adults. It’s up to you to keep your youngster safe, so do your part and keep it locked up.

The book also includes the four basic rules of firearm safety. This was kept separate from the children’s section. “Stop, get away, tell an adult” is a very easy message for kids to remember while also disarming a potentially bad situation.

If you decide that you would like to introduce your child to these rules, you can do so on your own when you feel that they are ready.

FROM THE BACK COVER:

Alice and Jack are busy kids! Like any busy kid, they make mistakes. Fortunately, their parents are understanding and quick to forgive. But when Jack goes to visit his Gramps, who owns a gun, Jack and Alice both learn that you cannot make mistakes around guns. There’s only one you!

Firearm Safety is No Accident is for parents who want to educate their children about the importance of firearm safety, whether the lesson relates to their own home, or going to a friend’s house. Ensure your children stay safe by knowing the proper response upon seeing a gun, so accidents don’t happen!

This illustrated, engaging book not only teaches children, but also illustrates how your child can inform their friends about firearm safety. What better way to keep kids safe than have them help one another?

Firearm Safety Is No Accident 8

PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

I was educated with firearms at a very young age. I had my first Red Ryder before I was 5, and I’ve been shooting ever since. Safety has always been the biggest priority when I was shooting with my father or step-dad.

By 10 years old I had saved up enough for my first Marlin 22LR. I still use this gun almost every time I got to the range. People are amazed when I tell them it’s almost 20 years old.

Remington 700 build long range hunting rifle

My son has always been very smart, and very interested in anything that dad likes. Being a stickler about safety, I made sure he practiced trigger discipline even when using a Nerf gun.

When he started showing interest in shooting with me, I started looking for books on gun safety. There are plenty of resources that go on about the four basic rules, but I wanted something that he would actually listen to.

He enjoyed Firearm Safety Is No Accident so much he was reading it on his own. He even read the section for adults in the back and started asking me questions about my safe gun storage.

We started with my old Red Ryder and really got into the four rules of gun safety. Once he had the rules down and practiced them at all times, we got out my old Marlin 22LR. At the age of 7 he started using my .223 Remington. The kick was a lot more than the 22LR he was used to, but he does a great job out to 200 yards.

I completely agree it is less convenient for safety when you keep your firearms unloaded and locked in a safe. In my personal opinion, it is far less convenient to go to your child’s funeral because they found a gun that was out where it shouldn’t have been.

Firearm safety has to start with adults that care about real change. We have far too many deaths in this country due to negligence of any age. Real education about guns and how to use them safely can save more lives than any gun control measure they can pass.

Firearms have been a part of American history since the beginning. Our citizens are the largest armed force in the world. Even if you don’t own a firearm, proper education about the subject for you and your children can only help. Books like this really help to get the message across at a very young age.

FOUR RULES OF GUN SAFETY:

1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded.

2. Never point a gun at anything you aren’t going to shoot.

3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.

4. Be sure of your target and what’s beyond it.

These rules save lives. If we start with quality safety education at a young age, we can all do the same.

WHERE TO PURCHASE

Firearm Safety Is No Accident is available as a paperback or on Kindle. At the time of publishing, you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited. You can sign up for a free trial of Kindle Unlimited here. The link below will take you straight to the sales page on Amazon.

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WHAT IS THE PERFECT RIFLE WEIGHT?

rifle weight

WHY DOES RIFLE WEIGHT MATTER?

Your rifle weight can ruin a hunting trip or a trip to the range. Just like driving an 8 second drag car to get groceries, some things are better when they’re built with a purpose. Nobody wants to carry a 20 lb rifle on an elk hunt. We’ll go over when you might want that kind of weight and what might be better for those long mountain hunts.

The weight of a rifle will change the recoil characteristics as well as the handling. A heavier rifle will heave less felt recoil than a lighter rifle of the same caliber. This means it is easier to keep on target at the bench, but can be harder to handle in alternate shooting positions.

Too light of a rifle can have a lot of effect on felt recoil. It can also be difficult to hold the rifle steady in windy conditions.rifle weight

HUNTING RIFLE WEIGHT

A hunting rifle generally weighs between 5 and 8 lbs before the scope is put on. These rifles sometimes rarely see the light of day before hunting season. When they finally do get to stretch their legs, it’s usually just to check the zero from last year.

When deer hunting, you generally have around an 8 inch target for a nice clean shot. Most factory rifles now have a 1 MOA guarantee from the factory. This level of accuracy is usually overkill for people that rarely use their rifles at over 100 yards. There are a lot of factory options under 8 lbs before you mount the glass.

Several Remington, Ruger, and Savage rifles perform very well for this kind of use right out of the box. They have tactical versions as well; while these might be great for tack driving from a bench, they get heavy really fast on a longer excursion.

elevation rifle weight

MOUNTAIN RIFLE

This is where a light rifle is worth it’s weight in gold(or more depending on the markets). Companies like Nosler and Proof Research have changed the game when it comes to lightweight hunting rifles. Aftermarket triggers, as well as carbon fiber barrels and stocks straight from the factory make these rifles a new breed entirely.

nosler m48 rifle weight

Nosler’s new M48 Mountain Carbon Rifle comes in at 6 lbs and is amazingly balanced. In calibers like 6.5 Creedmoor, 300 Win Mag, and 33 Nosler, there’s a cartridge that will get the job done. The carbon fiber wrapped stainless steel barrel is fully free floated. This allows the barrel to be consistent regardless of the weather or time of year. This rifle comes in at 6 lbs across all models.

Proof Research took this even farther with their Elevation rifles. The Elevation is chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor and weighs only 5 lbs before you mount your optic. Designed to be a small to mid-size trophy harvester, this is the lightest rifle in their hunting lineup.

These rifles can be great for stalking or a backwoods elk hunt, but may be a bit punishing at the range with larger calibers.

RIFLE WEIGHT WHEN HUNTING FROM A STAND

If you generally hunt from a stand, there are a lot of factory options that may fit your needs. Tikka makes a lot of very reliable rifles with a sub MOA guarantee. If you’re partial to Ruger or Savage, they also offer rifles with plenty of accuracy at a great price.

ruger american go wild 308

The Tikka T3X rifles have a mouser style action and directly feed the round into the chamber. The extractor on this style of rifle is generally much stronger than the Remington 700 style. The T3X Superlite comes with an adjustable trigger, and their module grips. This allows you to tailor the rifle to the shooter which improves comfort and consistency. Their Superlite models weigh in at around 6 lbs depending on the model.

rifle weight

Ruger has a great lineup with their American line of rifles as well. The standard version comes in at less than 6.5 lbs, while the American Hunter line is just over 9 lbs. These rifles all come with the Ruger Marksman Adjustable Trigger and are user adjustable between 3 and 5 lbs of pull.

The Ruger’s Power Bedding is an integral block that free-floats the barrel. This block makes a great home to their triple lug, dual cam bolt. Ruger uses a cold hammer forged barrel which provides great barrel life as well as exceptional accuracy.

AR platforms are commonly used for varmint hunting as well as wild hog control in the lower states. The weights of these rifles can vary widely as well. Some people want the lowest weight they can get and are under 6 lbs on their rifles.

Others like the Falkor Petra offer an AR platform rifle chambered in 300 Win Mag. Even with the carbon fiber barrel, this monster of a rifle weighs in at 10 lbs before an optic. A semi-auto rifle chambered in 300 Win Mag might seem like a great idea to anyone that’s ever been bear hunting.

LIGHTEST RIFLE FOR BACKPACKING

Sometimes you don’t think you’ll need a gun and don’t carry one because of it. This is exactly when Murphy will show up and you will wish you had. Even a single shot 22LR can be a life saver in a survival situation.

henry survival rifle

The Henry AR-7 is a semi-auto 22LR that packs away in it’s own stock. At 3.5 lbs and just over 16” in length this rifle is a featherweight ready for your backpack. Accurate and reliable, this rifle will be there for you in a pinch.

If you don’t mind adding an extra pound to your pack then you may be interested in the MAGPUL Backpacker for the 10/22 Takedown rifles. When stowed, this rifle hides 2 spare magazines under the cheek piece as well as a sealed area in the handle to stow a small survival kit or fire-starting supplies. You can find this stock here.

Either of these rifles can be a great option for a lightweight rifle to throw in your backpack for your next trip.

HOW MUCH DOES A BENCHREST RIFLE WEIGH?

This is where things start to get interesting. And heavy. Depending on the style of shooting, some rifles may weigh over 20 lbs. This includes lighter calibers like .223 Remington. The extra weight reduces felt recoil as well as barrel rise which gets you back on target faster after each shot.

An aluminum chassis is often used on competition and bench rest rifles. An aluminum chassis can add to the stability as well as the rifle weight. Some companies make weights that will attach to your mlok rail system and increase the weight of the rifle even more.

Different classes have different rules, so make sure you look them over before you start your build.

MDT ACC chassis system

LIGHTWEIGHT TRUCK GUN

Lightweight truck gun v seven enlightened ar15 pistol

Just to be clear, everybody has a different picture in their head for this one. A truck gun is usually something cheap, so you don’t care that it’s getting banged around. It also needs to be reliable enough to take that abuse and keep sending rounds. What really makes the difference in this category is the overall length of the firearm.

The Mossberg 500 Tactical weighs 6.75 lbs and comes with an adjustable stock to shorten the pull by up to 4”. You can get a folding stock as well for the states that allow it, making the package even smaller.

V Seven offers an AR pistol chambered in 300 Blackout that weighs in at under 4 lbs. If you like the idea of a Ruger 10/22, a carbine with the synthetic stock comes in at 4.4 lbs. The price difference between these two may just bring a tear to your eye.

The weight of your truck gun really depends on your needs as well as how much you’re willing to pay for a rifle that you plan on abusing more than any other you own.

HOW MUCH SHOULD MY RIFLE WEIGH?

At the end of the day you want the lightest rifle that you can handle effectively for the situation you have chosen. If you can handle the abuse of a 300 Win Mag that only weighs 5 lbs for hours at the range, that rifle will be great during hunting season as well.

You may even end up building a few rifles just because you find your favorite bench gun so lacking in the woods when you’re hunting for whitetail deer. Pick a purpose for your rifle and build with that goal in mind. And never judge a fish by it’s ability to climb a tree.

I built a rifle to use as a long range hunting rifle. All said and done, a Remington 700 in a MAGPUL Hunter 700 Chassis weighs in at just over 10 lbs when topped with the Vortex glass. More on that build here.

Remington 700 build long range hunting rifle

BUDGET CARP FISHING GEAR FOR BEGINNERS

carp fishing

All The Gear You Need To Get Started Carp Fishing
Without Wasting Money

A lot of people getting into carp fishing don’t have a lot to spend on gear. Finding out what gear is really going to be worth the investment in the long term can get expensive. You can spend thousands on gear you may never use.

This is a great way to get started carp fishing on a budget and get lines in the water to find out what you really need.

BUDGET CARP FISHING ROD

The rod you choose really depends on your fishing style. You can leave your rods out and wait, or you may want to walk the edge and stalk.

A longer, more flexible rod will allow you to keep pressure on the hook than a shorter stiffer, ocean style rod.

More rods in the water means more chances at fish, so I prefer using a rod pod. I have 3 Ugly Stik Gx2 9’ Medium rods for this. They really flex over the half way point and even when they run straight at you, they just aren’t going to be able to spit it.

When I’m stalking the edges, I like to use their 7’ Ultra-Light. Great for everything from pan fish, to 35 lb carp. If you’re trying to cut down on weight, this is a great way to go.

You can get them here from Amazon, I also have a more in depth review of the rods here.

CARP REEL ON A BUDGET

carp fishing

A quality reel is worth it’s weight in gold over the long term when you’re carp fishing. If you’re going to spend more money in any department, this is where it really pays off. I’ve landed huge fish on a rod that was far too light because of a quality reel with plenty of line. I also lost the biggest fish I ever had on because of a reel with too low of a capacity.

I had some cheap reels I had acquired over the years when I first started fishing. They could barely fit 100 yards of braided line. I was fishing a dam with some corn and had a runner.

I tightened into the drag so hard I thought my 25lb braid was going to snap. Holding the line to try and slow it down more only resulted in some nice cuts. After taking my entire spool of braid the fish hit the knot on the reel and snapped the shank of the hook.

This is when I got the Yoshikawa Baitfeeder reels. They took over 250 yards of 50 lb braid and I haven’t had an issue since. They aren’t a Shimano, but I don’t fish for a living either. For my weekend excursions, they have done the job without fail for over 3 years.

Yoshikawa Baitfeeder reel side view showing controls and drag knobs

They also cost 1/3 or less what the Shimano Baitrunner can be found for. This means you can outfit your entire rod pod and get on the water a lot sooner. Four years gives you plenty of time to save up for the last reel you’ll need.

If you have $500 to spend on reels to get started then it can only help, but I personally don’t have that into my entire kit. Yoshikawa reels can be found here. If you’re looking into something more like the Shimano Baitrunner, they can be found here. I have a break-down of the Yoshikawa reel here.

GOOD FISHING LINE FOR A GREAT PRICE

There are so many options for line you can get dizzy. The general rule is, if you’re using bigger weights, plan on having 10 lbs of test for every oz of sinker weight.

BUDGET CARP FISHING GEAR FOR BEGINNERS 9

I generally use Spectra 20-25lb braided line with 1 ½ oz egg sinkers in calmer water.

The thing is, there are only two main companies that produce braided line. Most others that you buy just take those two and coat them with their own master blend of herbs and spices.

You can buy the line from the manufacturer for much less before others get their hands on it. The Spectra can take a beating although it is not quite as smooth as coated lines.

1000 meters of the Spectra 20 lb braided line will run you less than $20 and fill all of your reels. This could cost over $100 from competitors.

GREAT ROD POD FOR WEEKEND CARP FISHING

Rod pods are another area that can make carp fishing very expensive very quickly. They can cost from $20 to well over $700 depending on what you really expect it to do.

The biggest thing to remember is that none of these products can make fish bite your line. The best rods and reels aren’t going to make more fish bite. Start off with the basics and find out what will actually help.

BUDGET CARP FISHING GEAR FOR BEGINNERS 10

NGT has come up with a great solution for the weekend fishing master. For less than $40 you get a 3 rod pod, Bite alarms, as well as indicators.

Considering the rod pod is plastic with metal hardware, it’s certainly not designed for heavy use. If you plan on going out every week for the next few years this can be another area to spend a bit more money.

A good aluminum pod can last you a lot longer, but will be a bit harder on your wallet as well. I use this pod more than 10 times per year and I’m going into my 4th year with this pod.

If you’re on a really tight budget, you can set the rods on the ground, or even lean them on a log. This is another piece of gear that is more an accessory than anything.

RELIABLE BUDGET ALARMS

ngt bite alarms

The alarms that come with the NGT pod work great for the price. They aren’t wireless, but they are loud enough to hear when you’re farther away than you should be.

I wired them together and hooked them up to a single 18650 battery. This allows them to be rechargeable with an easily found battery.

They feature variable tones as well as a jack for using illuminated bite indicators.

You can get by with just listening to your drag as long as you plan to stay by your rods. If you like to walk around the shore, a wireless setup might work very well for you.

A wireless alarm system allows you to take a nap in your bivvy or a trip to the car for more bait. You can turn down the volume on the alarm and turn it up on the transmitter. This is great for those late night fishing excursions.

ngt rod pod with bite alarms

WHAT SINKERS DO I NEED?

carp fishing sinkers

Picking the perfect sinker for carp fishing depends on the water and style of your fishing. If you’re stalking the banks, you might want some light split shot. Faster water requires a heavier lead. Some of the heavier leads offer studs for grip.

There are method feeders as well to help chum the waters. Oatmeal and some chili powder makes a great bait to get the carp in the area. This gives them something to look for without giving them something to fill up on.

DO I NEED TO USE EXPENSIVE BAITS?

There are so many baits on the market it can make you dizzy. There are plenty of ways to spend your money here. A lot of the products may actually even increase catches.

If you’re on a budget and just looking to get started, there isn’t much better than sweet corn from the grocery store. There will be a lot of empty rigs pulled in with this one though, so keep an eye on your lines.

A favorite bait of mine is maize. You can find it in bulk bags at any feed store. Less than $20 usually gets you around 50 lbs of the stuff. This generally lasts me a few years when sealed properly.

When you first take the maize out of the bag, it will be very hard. To make it edible and release the oils in the corn, you will have to boil it. Bring the water to a boil before adding the kernels, after the water is boiling add however much corn you plan on using.

maize for carp fishing bait

WHY START WITH BUDGET GEAR?

When I started carp fishing I had been fishing for years and almost always hated it. When I was a kid we would use cornmeal and molasses and catch these HUGE fish, but years later with $7 lures being lost to the rocks I wasn’t catching anything like that.

I invested in about the cheapest gear physically possible. 3 Ugly Stik 9’ medium rods, a 7’ ultra-light, and a 6’ heavy for a spod rod. On sale they cost me about as much as one expensive specialty rod. I bought 3 of the Yoshikawa reels for the 9’ rods for less than one Shimano. No they will never be what a Shimano is, but 4 years of weekend carp fishing later, I feel like they paid for themselves.

If you get all top dollar gear and only end up fishing for 6 months, when you sell it used you will lose more money than what this simple setup costs.

carp fishing

Remington 700 Build

Remington 700 build long range hunting rifle

LONG RANGE HUNTING RIFLE

After finding out New York allows rifle hunting for deer, I decided it was time to begin building a reliable hunting rifle. I wanted something that could drop any game in my area without being too much for hours at the range.

Need to know how to build a quality long range rifle? Here are the steps I followed:

STEP 1: CHOOSING THE RIGHT CALIBER

The largest factor in finding the right hunting cartridge is what you will be hunting and where you will be hunting it. Hunting grizzly requires different hardware than prairie dogs.

Where I am in New York, we don’t have anything bigger than black bear. This makes a .223 too small and a 300 Win Mag unnecessary as much as I’d love one.

Bullet Comparison

Dense forests make up most of the area due to heavy logging years ago. This prohibits most longer range shots. A shot across the field may be 400 yards, but any shots made in the woods will generally be under 100.

308 WINCHESTER VS. 6.5 CREEDMOOR

The two calibers I was having a hard time choosing between were the flat shooting 6.5 Creedmoor or the harder hitting 308 Winchester.

The 6.5 Creedmoor has a lot of great options for factory ammo, and prices have been dropping. This cartridge is excellent for reaching out to 1300 yards with a very flat trajectory. The ballistic coefficient helps the slim bullet in the wind as well. As great as the cartridge is, it was designed as a target round.

6.5 creedmore vs 308 winchester

The 308 allows for purchasing bulk military ammo for plinking and hand loads when more accuracy is required. Hand-loading my ammunition allows me to pay less than 50 cents per round for very high quality sub moa results. The 308 Winchester has the added benefit of being designed for hard hits and getting the job done.

I chose the 308 Winchester over the 6.5 Creedmoor because of the ranges I will be using this rifle for. My local shooting range is 400 yards and I don’t intend on hunting over that distance.

The 308 generally has a heavier bullet, which translates to more energy than the 6.5 within these ranges. With a hunting rifle, I want all the thump and energy dump I can get.

Any rifle I own doesn’t just see 5-10 rounds every year to check the zero before hunting season. I put at least 100 rounds through any rifle I take to the range with me, so reliability is a necessity.

SAVAGE 10 FCP-SR

When I went to my local gun store, I originally went looking for the newer Savage 10 FCP-SR with a 20” bull barrel and the Savage Accu-Trigger. This rifle features a threaded barrel and a 10 round drop magazine from the factory.

This rifle has a beautiful snakeskin camo finish on the synthetic stock. The tactical bolt knob gives plenty of real-estate to work the bolt even with a scope mounted.

Savage bolt action rifle

The fluted barrel helps to prevent overheating the barrel during long sessions. The threaded muzzle allows the mounting of a suppressor or muzzle brake.

I went to run the bolt on the rifle and it bound instantly. Any pressure on the outer portion of the bolt caused it to bind. This may have been because of the extra length on the tactical bolt knob.

RUGER AMERICAN GO WILD

Next up was the Ruger American ‘Go Wild’ edition. This rifle comes with a 22” threaded bull barrel, muzzle brake, aluminum bedded chassis, and a free floated barrel. The AICS pattern magazine that comes with the rifle only holds 3 rounds, but has a great low profile for going through the wooded areas.

The action has a durable bronze Cerakote finish shared with the cold hammer forged barrel and muzzle brake with a camouflage stock. The synthetic stock has the Ruger Power Bedding system which ensures a solid platform for the action as well as free-floating the barrel.

This rifle, like the Savage comes with a very nice factory adjustable trigger. The only problem I found with the rifle I felt was a gritty action. This is surprising with the Ruger Americans one piece three lug bolt.

ruger american go wild 308

REMINGTON 700 ADL TACTICAL

Running out of options at the local gun store, the last rifle that caught my eye was the Remington 700 ADL Tactical. When I was younger, Remington had a great reputation as a company the produced quality farm rifles that got the job done. Newer Remingtons have had questionable quality control over the last few years.

The price on this rifle is what caught my eye. This rifle was nothing special. Non-bedded synthetic stock that flexed in your hands. It didn’t even have the X-Mark Pro trigger.

Remington 700 ADL Tactical

The ADL Tactical had a threaded barrel, but no muzzle brake installed like the Ruger. It did, however, have a 20” bull barrel and an action as smooth as glass.

For the price of buying a better rifle and making it what I wanted, I might as well start with a well known platform with a ton of aftermarket options for any issues I may come to down the line. And so began the build.

STEP 2: BARREL BREAK IN

Before I started throwing money at the rifle, I wanted to see how it shot out of the box. Before I test a factory barrel, I always like to do a proper barrel break-in.

I don’t know for a fact that barrel break-in makes any difference at all. The thought process of smoothing out imperfections without overheating the barrel just seems like a very logical start to a new barrel’s life. My process could be very different from yours; I just use what I was taught 20 years ago.

I start with sending three rounds down the barrel and give it a good clean. Then I double it to six rounds and give it another good clean.

Repeat this process for 12 rounds and 24 rounds, cleaning each time with a good copper solvent until you stop seeing the green on your cloth. This is copper jacket left from the bullets and is now being removed.

If you want to see if barrel break-in makes a difference then you should start by shooting groups with your first 5 and last 5 rounds. At this time I had not ordered my scope yet, so I was just firing at a backstop for my break-in.

STEP 3: CHOOSING THE RIGHT SCOPE

The scope you put on your rifle is a critical component. You don’t want a long range precision scope on the shotgun you use for trap shooting. Not enough magnification and you won’t be able to reach out, too much and you may have a hard time locating a closer target while hunting.

Deciding on a purpose and a budget before you build the rifle can save you a big headache down the road. If you have $1000 to spend, you would be much better off with a $800 scope on a $200 rifle than the other way around.

The cheapest rifle you can find will benefit from good glass, but putting a $200 scope on top of a $5000 rifle wont let you reach out past 1000 yards. Always use the best glass you can afford for the build.

FIRST FOCAL PLANE VS. SECOND FOCAL PLANE

Another important decision to make is if you want a first or second focal plane on your scope. Second focal plane means you can zoom in on the target without your reticle changing sizes on you. The target gets bigger, but your reticle stays the same size.

The issue with this system is that your subtensions change as your magnification does. This results in your subtensions only being correct at a specific magnification. This isn’t a problem at longer distances when under high zoom most of the time.

With a first focal plane system, as you zoom in on the target, you zoom in on your reticle as well. This allows subtensions to stay consistent at any magnification level, but under higher zoom settings may block out the target on longer range shots.

Constantly changing ranges within 400 yards pushed my decision towards the first focal plane option. Every build is different and think about what you really expect out of the rifle before you spend hard earned money on something that isn’t exactly what you’re looking for.

With the barrel broken in, it was time to do a preliminary accuracy test. By now my scope had arrived.

FFP vs SFP

QUALITY OPTICS ON A BUDGET – VORTEX DIAMONDBACK TACTICAL FFP

I went with Vortex Diamondback Tactical 6-24x50mm for the task at hand. I decided to go with Vortex mainly because of their warranty. For a hunting rifle, I thought their lifetime VIP warranty would be perfect for a scope that would be going up and down trees as well as through brush.

CVLIFE Scope Review

I have a Chinese manufactured scope on my .223 and my 22LR. For being $35, they work great, but I would not trust them on top of a 308 Winchester when I need reliability during hunting season. A fogged lens or bumped zero can mean missing the animal, or even worse, wounding the animal.

The CVLIFE scope is also second focal plane. I have missed a few crows because I didn’t check my magnifications and my subtensions were off. I know at 24x magnification, I can hold 1 Mil high and hit a crow at 100 yards. However, at ANY other magnification, this is not true.

This is why I went with the Vortex in first focal plane. The FFP setup is much better for hunting in closer ranges considering I never know what magnification I might be using at what distance.

The Diamondback Tactical comes with side parallax adjustment, exposed tactical style turrets, and some pretty clear glass for the price point. Yes, you can spend $5,000 on a scope and it will no doubt be much better. This is a hunting rifle, not an ELR build.

The clarity doesn’t really become an issue unless you’re at the higher end of the zoom range and at a farther distance. Over 20x magnification is about where the chromatic aberration begins. This likely won’t affect a 400-yard shot. However, if you’re building for longer ranges or a competition rifle, you may want to spend a bit more on the glass.

Vortex Diamondback tactical scope mounted on a remington 700 with a magpul hunter 700 chassis

The turrets track very well and return to zero easily. There is no zero stop, but there are clear markings on the turrets to give you an idea of what revolution you are on. Count the lines showing and just return it there when dialing down after your shot.

Vortex does a great job with any of their scopes. You get what you pay for every time. They offer scopes under $200 to scopes over $3000 and any price in between. Any of their optics have the VIP warranty.

If you pick the right scope for the rifle, your marksmanship can only get better. More on this scope here.

STEP 4: CHOOSING THE RIGHT TRIGGER

After a quick 50 yard zero, I was grouping just under 2 inches with factory ammo. This isn’t terrible for the cheapest Remington 700 I could get my hands on. The factory stock was not bedded in any way and the factory trigger was horrible.

The pull out of the box could have just about lifted the bull barrel rifle. When the trigger pull is just as heavy as the rifle, it makes it very difficult to make a shot without moving the rifle.

TriggerTech Primary Trigger

For this task, I turned to the TriggerTech Primary trigger. There were a lot of reviews on Timney and Jewell triggers on the market, but I didn’t like what I heard about their repeatability and break-in due to their sear engagement.

triggertech primary front view

The TriggerTech Primary trigger solves this problem with their FRT technology, which is their friction-less roller system. This design allows the pull weight to start at zero during manufacturing. They then engineer the required tension into the system.

This is what keeps their clean, crisp break and the consistent pull weight shot after shot, even when exposed to dust. The FRT system also helps keep the trigger system safer by not sacrificing sear surface area for trigger pull weight.

With a Timney trigger, I have had the weight change over the break in period. This has not been true with the TriggerTech Primary. Over 500 rounds through the rifle so far with zero malfunctions and every shot as crisp and clean as the first.

Even with their Primary model, I have heard nothing but “wow” from my range buddies. I have tried several times to get a malfunction on an empty chamber and the safety mechanism with these triggers just works.

Installing this trigger was a breeze. The install took less than 15 minutes with nothing but a hammer, my punches, and an Allen wrench for adjustments. I pulled the two pins holding in the factory trigger and left one pin partially in to hold the bolt stop and spring in place.

Next, take the old one out and put the new one in. Tap the pins back in place and do a function and safety test, then you’re good to go. If you would like to read more about the process, see this page.

triggertech primary side profile

STEP 5: PICKING THE RIGHT STOCK OR CHASSIS FOR YOUR RIFLE

Now it came time to find a stock for the rifle. This decision is almost as important as the scope. There are many options from MDT, Hogue, MAGPUL, and McMillan. Any of these aftermarket options will likely be much better than the factory synthetic.

Some stocks are designed for PRS matches, others are designed for hunting. Some are simply made to look pretty. You may want something with a rail that you can add weights to, or the lightest carbon fiber has to offer. Whatever your purpose, there are plenty of aftermarket options for the Remington 700 platform.

MAGPUL HUNTER 700

I decided to go with the MAGPUL Hunter 700 because of the mlok rails and adjustable length of pull, as well as the adjustable cheek piece. I prefer a hunting rifle style grip over a pistol style when hunting or even shooting from a bench.

The v-style aluminum bedding block makes sure the action is planted firmly, with no need for a glass bedding job. There is plenty of room for an aftermarket recoil lug as well, but the factory lug sits firmly against the bedding block.

The TriggerTech trigger dropped right in with no clearance issues. There is a spot for a QD cup, but I went with just putting my sling in the slot on the side of the butt-stock.

MAGPUL Hunter 700 Review
pew pew reviews

A screw on the butt-stock releases the pad so you can add or remove spacers to fit your length of pull. After removing the butt-stock, you’re also able to swap out the cheek riser to the height of your liking. There is a tab on the riser locking it into the butt, so you don’t have to worry about that falling out when you’re walking through the woods.

I always follow the old trick for sizing a rifles length of pull. Hold your forearm and bicep at 90 degrees while holding the rifle. The butt of the stock should rest just against your bicep with your hand on the gun comfortably.

1 moa group

This is an easy way to know if the gun is still just too big for your youngin’ or your wife to shoot. MAGPUL has made the Hunter 700 adjustable for this exact reason. You can adjust the length of pull from shooting in the summer to your layered hunting clothes as well. Only downside is it’s not a quick adjust, but it’s a much more solid system than most buffer tube style chassis.

This stock is a bit hefty for those deep-hills elk hunts. With the bull barrel and Vortex scope, the rifle weighs in at just over 10 lbs. That adds up quick on a long hunt when you’re looking for a rifle that weighs less than 7 lbs scoped. On a long trip ounces make pounds and pounds make pain.

This didn’t discourage me considering that we don’t do week long, 5 man elk hunts in New York. This chassis is perfect for a day hunt or time at the range. The extra weight makes the rifle a blast to burn through ammo with when compared to a carbon fiber 300 Win Mag that weighs just 5 lbs.

The bedding and free-floating that this stock provides cut my group size to ¼ what they were before. When I purchased the rifle, the best group I could get with hand loads was just under an inch.

Any factory loaded ammunition I used was closer to a 2” group. This chassis brought a 10 round group under 1 moa including the fliers. A 5 shot group of hand loads was consistently under a half inch at 100 yards.

I may not be the best shot in the world, but I like to know my rifle can perform better than me. At least if I miss a shot, I know the rifle and ammo are not to blame.

They also offer a bottom metal that allows the use of AICS pattern magazines. This allowed me to turn my cheap internal magazine ADL into a drop mag style for a very reasonable price. More on this stock here.

Remington 700 Build 11

STEP 6: INSTALLING A MUZZLE BREAK

The 308 doesn’t really kick like a mule, but 100+ rounds was leaving me sore the next day. I knew finding and installing a muzzle brake was the next step, especially if I wanted to convince my girlfriend to shoot this baby.

Installation was pretty simple. I tried using a crush washer to begin with, but wasn’t a fan of the one time use. I got a lock nut for the brake and used that in place of the crush washer.

The first step is to make sure your rifle is level in the vise. You can generally place a level on the scope rail as long as it is true on the action.

Thread the lock nut onto the threads at the end of the muzzle, all the way down. Next, thread on the muzzle brake. The lock nut should be at the bottom of the threads. You want as much engagement as possible here.

Most brakes have a flat spot on the top for timing. This makes sure the gases are expelled in the right directions. A brake not timed properly could result in the rifle pulling left or right during recoil.

Run the muzzle brake down to the lock nut and back it off to level. Use the flat area on the top of the brake to level your brake true to your action.

JP RECOIL ELIMINATOR MUZZLE BRAKE | IS IT ANY GOOD?

I went with the JP Recoil Eliminator Muzzle Brake. When looking for muzzle brakes, I noticed there were a lot of negative reviews about this brake because of the size, but there are smaller options if that’s what you’re looking for.

The Recoil Eliminator brake is big for a reason. It cuts the recoil of the 308 to right around what the .223 is. The muzzle rise is cut considerably as well.

The shape is what really makes the Recoil Eliminator interesting. It has a triangle shape vertically and horizontally. Wider at the bottom than the top, and wider at the front than the back.

The large surface area to the front helps soften the recoil, while the smaller surface at the top allows for more gasses to be vented in that direction. The gasses expanding up help reduce the muzzle rise.

jp recoil eliminator

Due to the effectiveness of this brake, it tends to be very loud. It is not really suggested for hunting situations if you hunt with anyone else. Using their shoulder as a rest may destroy their hearing and your friendship irreparably.

stainless recoil eliminator

The muzzle blast doesn’t kick any gasses or debris in your direction, but stay clear of the sides.

The Recoil Eliminator is build like a rock. The only marking is the JP logo engraved on the front at the top. They offer this brake in Stainless and a matte black coating.

The installation was pretty simple as well. I used a vice and leveled my action, then leveled the muzzle brake to the now level action. I went with using a nut instead of a crush washer. I can remove it for hunting season without needing to replace any pieces.

Overall, this is a great brake that really does the job well. The round is still going to kick, but it removed any harsh recoil feel.

STEP 7: ENJOY YOUR NEW RIFLE

This is the rifle I’ll break out at a party when my buddies and I want to have some fun ringing steel. If your wife is comfortable with a bit of kick, take her to the range and let her have it.

My lady was scared to shoot the rifle because of the volume. After she built her confidence with smaller rifles and even a few pistols, she decided it was time to try the 308. She sat down and emptied the magazine, ringing the 8” steel every time at over 200 yards. The JP Recoil Eliminator Muzzle Brake turned a rifle I wouldn’t let her shoot into a rifle she’s already asking me to shoot again.

What Was the Final Cost of My Long Range Rifle Build?

  • New Remington 700 ADL Tactical: $200
  • Vortex Diamondback Tactical: $400
  • TriggerTech Primary trigger: $150
  • MAGPUL Hunter 700 stock: $179-$260
  • MAGPUL AICS Bottom Metal: $65-$75
  • JP Recoil Eliminator: $90-$100

Total Cost – $1,084 to $1,185

Remington 700 Build 12

To have a reliable ½ moa rifle that should fit all the requirements, this seems like a steal. It may be more than necessary for a hunting rifle, but when you build it yourself, you can turn it into anything you want. This was an excellent building experience and I hope to do it again in the future.


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