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Simple Shooting Supplies to Make Life EasierWords by Brad Fitzpatrick
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Target shooting can be an exciting experience for the whole family, but if you’re going to spend a day at the range you’ll need more than guns and ammunition. There are a host of shooting supplies that can make your experience at the range safer and more rewarding, and since firearms are a major investment you’ll want to be sure that you have the shooting supplies needed to protect your gun and keep it in proper working condition. You don’t need a lot of gear to get started, but here is a list of 11 important shooting supplies that will help you get the most out of your time on the range.
Champion Shotgunner’s Gear Bag
Don’t let the name fool you. This supply bag works well for every shooting discipline, from pistols and rifles to airguns and, yes, shotguns. The large zippered center cargo pocket offers plenty of space for carrying cleaning kits, eye and ear protection, targets, and more, and the side pockets offer additional space for even more shooting supplies. The large center strap is comfortable and makes it easy to carry this bag even when fully loaded, and the zip-out pocket that is designed to hold empty shotgun shells offers a great place for organizing your gear while you’re at the range. There is a zippered choke tube carrying case inside, and if you’re not a shotgunner this is a great place to keep your cash, credit cards, and range ID. In addition, the nylon exterior is durable and will protect your gear from the elements. Having a range bag keeps you organized and makes traveling to and from the range more convenient, and the Shotgunner’s Gear Bag offers plenty of space to keep all your assorted shooting supplies neatly stored and secure. MSRP: $55.95
Hoppe’s 1.2.3 Done! Cleaning Kits
Powder and residues build up in your firearm after shooting. Over time, this buildup can ruin accuracy and reduce the value of your firearm, and portable cleaning supplies like Hoppe’s 1.2.3 Done! Kit allows you to remove these harmful residues before you even leave the range. The kit includes everything you need to clean your gun in three simple steps and is available in nine common shotgun, rifle, and handgun calibers. The caliber-specific BoreSnake provides 160 times more cleaning surface than standard patches to keep the bore clean, and this kit also includes a bottle of Hoppe’s legendary No. 9 bore solvent to remove residue inside the bore as well as high-viscosity lubricating oil that will keep your gun functioning properly. All of these shooting supplies come in one easy-to-carry kit that includes instructions on basic firearms cleaning and maintenance. Gun cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore, and with a compact field kit like the 1.2.3 Done! From Hoppe’s you can properly clean and lubricate your gun in the field. MSRP: $24.45
Bushnell G-Force DX Rangefinder
Having a rangefinder in your shooting supplies bag makes it quick and easy to identify the distance to your target, but you’ll need a model that is lightweight and compact. Bushnell’s G-Force DX is a great option since it offers instant ranging from 5 to 1,300 yards (depending on conditions) and offers a clear, crisp image even in low light. This compact rangefinder is just four inches long and weighs only eight ounces, meaning it won’t take up much space or add much heft to your bag of shooting supplies. With a 6x zoom it’s easy to identify specific objects even at long distances, and the rubber-armored metal housing and Rain-Guard HD coating makes the unit waterproof, so you don’t need to worry about inclement weather. The G-Force DX is loaded with great technology, including Second Generation ESP (Extreme Speed Precision) that returns reading to +/1 1/2 yard. It comes with ARC technology that gives true horizontal range and even provides holdover points for rifle shooters, but its easy and intuitive controls make it simple for anyone to use, which means it’s a great addition to your bag of shooting supplies. MSRP: $399
Champion Eyes and Ears Combo
Safety should always be your first priority when you shoot, so no range bag is complete without eye and ear protection. Champion offers their Eyes and Ears Combo packages, which come with a pair of 26 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR) ear muffs and a pair of wraparound safety glasses with ballistic-rated lenses for maximum protection. The muffs are available in either green or pink and come with cushioned earpieces that make them comfortable to wear for extended periods, and the safety glasses are equipped with a molded nosepiece, scratch-resistant lenses and slip-resistant temples. Both the glasses and the muffs fold up for convenient storage, so they won’t take up a lot of space in your shooting supplies bag, and they are light enough that you can carry several pairs, enough for the whole family. MSRP: $30.49
Uncle Mike’s Canvas Premium Gun Case
If you are transporting a long gun to the range you need to keep it safe and secure, so a gun case is essential. Not only do these cases protect your guns from dings and scratches during transport and handling, they also keep your guns out of sight when you are traveling. Uncle Mike’s Canvas Premium Gun Cases are available in either tan or green for shotguns and scoped rifles, and all of these cases feature 20 ounce duck canvas for maximum protection and years of use with minimal added weight. The interior is lined with padded, closed-cell foam that defends your guns against the elements, and an adjustable full-length sling makes it easy to transport your guns when you reach the shooting range. The zippers on the main compartment are made of durable antique brass so they won’t break or fall apart, and the exterior pockets are a great place to store choke tubes, lubricant, range badges, or other shooting supplies you’ll need to carry with you when you shoot. MSRP: $55.95
Bushnell Legend E Series Binoculars
No range bag is complete without a pair of binoculars, which will help determine your bullet’s point of impact. Binos like Bushnell’s new Legend E Series are ideal for this because they offer Ultra Wide Band Coating which is customized to every lens, giving you maximum color quality and clarity. These binoculars are available in both 8 or 10 power magnification with 42 mm objective lenses, and the magnesium chassis design makes them light and portable. PC3 phase-coated prisms add extra detail and clarity to images, so it’s easy to determine where the last shot struck on the target. Not only will you use these binos to determine where your bullet landed, they also work great for hunting birdwatching because of the RainGuard HD water-repellent coating that protects them from the elements. The comfortable design is easy to customize to your needs thanks to high-resistance twist-up eyecups, and with fine-click adjustments you can zero in on any object and you’ll get a precise image every time. MSRP: $216.45-$240.45
Champion Gorilla Range Bag
There are a variety of rests and sand bags on the market, but none are more versatile than Champion’s Gorilla Range Bag. Why? It’s easy to transport thanks to a sturdy carry strap, and the four compartment design allows you to use this rest in a variety of ways. With all four chambers in an X-formation, it provides a secure rest for your long guns and helps reduce recoil. Suede inserts protect your gun while it is on the rest, and having a sturdy platform makes it easier to shoot more accurately. The versatile design of the Gorilla Range Bag allows you to position it in a variety of ways depending upon what type of firearm you are shooting, making it great for pistols, rifles, and shotguns. It comes pre-filled with sand, and the tough nylon exterior stops rips and prevents leaks. And with an MSRP of $76.95 it’s one of the most affordable rests on the market.
Bushnell Rubicon Light
You may not think of including a flashlight with your shooting supplies, but this is one must-have item that you don’t want to be without. I use my range light for a host of different tasks, from checking the bore of my rifle after cleaning to examining the interior parts of my firearms during maintenance, and I’ve also used it to find small items I’ve lost in the dark and to work under the hood of my car. Bushnell now offers four different Rubicon lights including two handheld LED models with 250 and 500 lumens, plenty of juice to light up the darkest night. One cool feature of these lights is that they can be recharged using a standard USB cable, and both come with a charging indicator and battery status notification so you won’t find out you have a dead flashlight at the worst possible time. There’s also a headlamp version that generates 125 lumens, perfect for tasks that require both hands, as well as a 200 lumen lantern with four power options (low, medium, high, and red light to reduce loss of night vision) that can be recharged using a micro USB. The Rubicon lantern has an underside hanger that allows you to use it as an overhead light in tents, treestands or on the range. MSRPs for the 250 and 500 lumen Rubicon handheld lights are $59.99 and $89.99 respectively, and the Rubicon Headlamp carries an MSRP of $49.99.
Gunslick Match-Grade Gun Maintenance Center
The Gunslick Gun Maintenance Center is an invaluable accessory because it allows you to perform routine maintenance on your firearms without the risk of dropping or scratching your guns. Whether I’m cleaning my rifle or shotgun or mounting a scope on my air rifle I’ve got all the tools I need securely organized in twin drawers, and the built-in cam-lock vices make it easy to safely lock my firearm in place while working. The Gunslick Match-Grade Gun Maintenance Center is lightweight enough that I can carry with me to the range, and it provides the secure workspace I need to tighten scope rings or bases and perform routine maintenance should the need arise. Having a place to work on your guns in the field or at home is a real bonus, so add the Match-Grade Gun Maintenance Center to the list of “must have” shooting supplies for firearm owners. MSRP: $89.49
Primos Trigger Stick Short Bipod
Sometimes a trip to the range requires you to get creative with your shooting platform, and the Primos Trigger Stick Short Bipod is perfect for those situations. The Trigger Stick adjusts from 18 to 38 inches, ideal when kneeling or sitting to shoot, and the V-Yoke provides a safe and secure platform for your gun. With one pull of the trigger, you can adjust the Trigger Stick to your desired height and you instantly have a secure shooting platform anywhere. In addition, the V-Yoke is removable so the Trigger Stick doubles as a rest for your range finder or binoculars. Allowing your partner to accurately call your shots. The Trigger Stick’s compact design makes it easy to transport and carry, and it allows you to setup an instant shooting range in just a few seconds time. MSRP: $99.95
Champion Bug Slug, Duraseal and VisiColor targets
I must admit I’m a sucker for innovative targets, anything besides the traditional bullseye. Champion offers plenty of different targets to stave of boredom at the range including classics like the Bug Slug paper target, which appears to be crawling with beetles, moths, cockroaches, bees, and other disgusting insects and even comes with a scoring guide for friendly competition (hint: shooting the mosquitoes will earn you the most points and is extremely cathartic for anyone who’s ever heard these bloodsuckers buzzing around their head). You’ll also want to buy a couple Duraseal reactive spinning targets which are made of non-metal, self-sealing material and last for thousands of rounds. And no day at the range would be complete without shooting a few VisiColor targets, which create high-visibility multi-colored halos around each impact point for easy scoring even at long range. With a mashup of these three targets, you’ll get more enjoyment out of your time at the range while improving your shooting skills, and they promote a bit of friendly competition, too. And who wouldn’t like to shoot a cockroach? MSRP: $7.49 (25 count Bug Slug targets), $25.49 (Duraseal Wobble Target), $11.49 (VisiColor Sight-In with Four Extra Bullseyes).