2013 turned out to be great year for supporters of the Second Amendment. Our government threatened the masses again to create more restrictions on our constitutionally guaranteed right. There is very few things I am more passionate about than this issue. As I’ve mentioned many times before, this is as important as standing up for the First Amendment. Surprisingly too many people in this country do not want to recognize it. Well, sometimes it’s good to have spineless politicians in Congress.They were not willing to pay the political price to accomplish any major changes. Great news not only for gun owners but for everyone else. United States of America is a better place for it and the whole world can envy our ability to coexist peacefully.
I had a wonderful and exciting year. I improved my pistol shooting skills, participated in fund raisers shooting clays, harvested mule deer buck and fell in love with upland bird hunting.
I usually write about the events or trips I have experienced. Today I would like to recap some of the guns I used. Keep in mind I am above average in size and bellow average in shooting skills. I try to compensate with great passion for all things involving guns.
The few things that matter the most to me and I assume to most shooters are reliability, comfort and accuracy. I personally prefer it in that order. I never want to shoot a gun with the slightest doubt about its reliability. If the gun does not fit well or it is not comfortable to shoot, it will not reach the gun’s and the shooter’s potential. All the guns I have shot so far were more accurate than me. I’m hoping one day I will be able to say “this gun is just not accurate enough for me”. I still have a lot to learn at the range, on the course or in the field.
CZ 85 B 9mm. This is a fully ambidextrous (slide stop, manual safety, magazine release) cousin to the world famous 75. All steel frame came with plastic grips. I immediately exchanged them for rubber ones. I always preferred bigger, heavier hockey sticks during my playing days and the rubber grips fill my hand up better. I also found them to be the most forgiving in temperature extremes. Standard three dot sights are great way to start to evaluate the gun’s accuracy and could be easily upgraded to anybody’s personal taste. The trigger is nice and smooth and adjustable to fit your needs. I shot this pistol consistently throughout the year. It will handle any kind of ammunition without a problem (big plus in today’s ammo shortage era). I have yet to encounter malfunction of any kind. I always look forward to cleaning it too. CZ pistols are very simple to disassemble, clean and put back together. There is not a better choice for a “family” handgun that everybody can enjoy, especially with adding CZ 75 Kadet .22LR adapter that comes with adjustable sights. Great feature during extensive cost effective practice rounds.The combination of the CZ 85 and the Kadet adapter makes great training, plinking, personal protection, concealed carry or entry level competition gun.
CZ 75 SP-O1 Tactical
I picked up the SP01 for the first time at a gun counter in one of outdoor chain stores in Florida. Being Wyoming resident I had no chance of buying the gun right then and there. The initial reaction was how comfortable and tightly put together this handgun was. It slipped into my hand and stay there as attached by Velcro. That particular model was a .40 caliber but same characteristics as the 9mm. I had to wait for some time to shoot one. The handgun is built on the 75 platform with improved ergonomics. The modern manufacturing technology, rubber grips, extended beavertail,1913 accessory rail and corrosion resistant black polycoat are some of the features. The weight distribution lessens the recoil and makes the target acquisition during rapid fire easier or with some practice quite fun.
I’ve reviewed this rifle after my last year’s hunt but there is always more I learn every time I use it. It became my favorite deer and elk rifle. Harvested two deer and one elk so far at distances ranging anywhere from 150 yards to 340 yards.
The Walnut stock is a classic. I also own one with Manner’s composite stock, a gift from a friend. The wood is beautiful, feels welcoming every time I pick it up. I try to use it during the nicer days. Does not always work out that way especially in Wyoming where the weather is unpredictable. The rifle with the composite stock is my all around rifle. Truck gun, swamps, dessert, high mountains. Very durable and practical. I think you getting the sense I’m all about practicality. The action gets better with frequent use. I have not encountered any issues except when the buck fever got the most of the shooter for brief moment. It was not the rifles fault, I did not keep my composure there. The set trigger is very helpful at the range for some but I don’t want to have any more to think about when ready to make the shot. I have used it but did not improve MY performance. Many shooters prefer lighter trigger. I’m not one of them. The rifle has some substance to it and it reduces the recoil to minimum during a practice session. We all know, nobody ever worries about recoil in the field. The 23” barrel with a 1:12 twist prefers the 168 grain bullets. There is no elk, deer or a hog (hopefully soon) that can get away from this round if it’s well placed. I just love this rifle’s size, the way it shoulders and its well balanced feel. I’m ordering custom made leather slings as I love carrying CZ 550 into the woods as much as I can.
CZ 452 Training rifle
I first shot the Training rifle couple years ago at the Maverick fundraiser. At one of the stations we were shooting steel prairie dogs at 125 yards with iron sights trying to win raffle tickets. It became popular station on the whole course as no one ever outgrows nice rimfire rifle. It comes with iron sights, 24 inch barrel and beechwood stock. Dead on accuracy was proved by hitting gongs at two hundred yards testing the elevation adjustable rear sight. The european style stock with hog’s back gives this rifle a look of times gone by but the performance is of the twenty first century. It is hard to believe that one very inexpensive rimfire rifle can give as much fun to ten year old and sixteen year old girls and forty three and seventy year old men during the same afternoon. I’ve shot many rimfires but this one made an impression the rest will have a hard time living up to. Florida squirrels be aware!
The gun is the first ever side by side I shot. I love the look of this shotgun probably just as much as its performance. No matter where you are, shooting the Ringneck will bring you back at least couple of generations. If your grandfather was a bird hunter, he had a side by side. The engraving and the walnut stock are lot nicer than what I would like to take to the field. (Three days of upland bird hunt in Idaho and the 12ga Upland Ultralight looked like the manufacturer put it through torture test.) My expectations were of different type of shooting than over/under. It was not the case. I brought it along to the sporting clays course in southern California and gave it a fair opportunity to perform. Few cases of shells later I could not believe the easiness of this shotgun to shoulder and turn the target into dust. Other people tried it and came to the same conclusion. Although this compact side by side is on the smallish side for a guy who is 6’4″ and 240 pounds, it is a perfect choice for someone looking for package of performance, heritage, quality and reliability.
12 gauge Upland Ultralight
I can not write about this gun without mentioning the great time we had bird hunting in Riggins,ID with the people from Heaven’s Gate Outfitters. Upland Ultralight is perfect gun for hunters planning to spend long days in the field. The gun has aluminum alloy frame. There is quite a bit of space between barrels, saving lot of weight and not compromising accuracy. The metal parts are coated with non reflective matt weather resistant finish. It is truly working gun. You can not fully appreciate the benefits of such a light shotgun unless you spend a hard day hunting chukkars, blue or ruffed grouse or the wild bird of your choice. Your confidence will be sustained throughout the day as you will not tire carrying, shouldering and shooting this over /under. I sure did not and we worked some hard terrain.
All CZ double barrel shotguns come with five chokes. I am not at the comfort level to take full advantage of the variety of chokes but I’m getting there. I had some thoughts recently about changing the chokes in my Sporter on some difficult long shots. Did not do it but next time out I’ll be ready. Progress comes with practice.
I’m guessing what happened to me happens to most hunters. The guns
we use on our first big game hunt or the ones we carry on our first bird season find special place in our hearts. I am very excited about the new products from CZ-USA, but the CZ 550 .308 and Upland Ultralight will always be part of unforgettable memories.
It is interesting how the least capable shooters always talk the most about the technical data. Trying to impress me or the whole group with their theoretical knowledge. I’m all for knowing more about the firearms but when you can’t hit the side of the barn, it’s time to read less and practice more.