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Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s The . 308 Winchester is super popular not just for hunting. It also provides a good benchmark to measure against other cartridges.

.243 Win Vs .308 Win: Comparison & Best Ammo

.243 Win Vs .308 Win: Comparison & Best AmmoTrending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s The .308 Winchester is super popular not just for hunting. It also provides a good benchmark to measure against other cartridges. We’ve looked at the cartridge in the AR-10 platform . We checked it out as a viable contender for most North American big game. And we see it mentioned a fair amount in the long-range shooting world. PSA AR-10 .308 This time around we’re going to take a look at the .308 and how it stacks up against its younger brother , the .243 Winchester. What Do They Have in Common? Both cartridges were introduced in the 1950s. Winchester model 70 sales page from the 1950s, note that $120 sales price… The .308 entered the scene in 1952 as a military service cartridge. Winchester introduced the cartridge to the civilian market shortly thereafter in the Model 70 bolt action and the Model 88 lever action. The .243 Winchester was developed by wildcatters who immediately grasped the accuracy potential of the .308 parent case and then necked down the case to accept .243 caliber (6mm) bullets. Winchester rolled the .243 out as a commercial cartridge in 1955. (left to right) .223 Rem, .243 Win, .308 Win Both the .243 and the .308 can be housed in short actions which make for a great lightweight, handy rifles in the hunting fields. They also are a great platform for building long-range competition rifles as well as special purpose rifles for military and law enforcement use. The cartridges both enjoy a wide range of bullet weights and styles that can be used for everything from varmint hunting, to big game hunting, to long-range shooting and competition. Because short action rifles can be built shorter and lighter, the .243 and .308 both make good choices for shooters of smaller stature and produce relatively light recoil that can be handled by most shooters. Example of too much recoil Where Do They Differ? For all the features the two cartridges share, there are some significant differences that are important to understanding. Obviously, the glaring difference is the bullet diameter. The .243 is a 6mm bullet. Therefore, we have some sleek choices at our disposal. And just look at all the long-range and PRS rifles being built around 6mm cartridges right now. The .308 is a 30 caliber bullet and lends itself very well to both big game hunting and precision shooting. Putting meat on the menu Not to discount the .243 as does carry adequate energy downrange with its bullet selection to cleanly take deer, antelope, and pigs out to 200-300 yards. Beyond that, it’s not a question of bullet quality, but in very precise shot placement to ensure adequate penetration to the vitals on big game animals. However, the .243 really shines as a varmint round for critters like coyotes and foxes that hang up way out and will only offer a shot over in the next zip code. Conversely, the .308 carries enough energy even at 500 yards to have reliable penetration on deer size game with bullets in the 165-168 grain range. Bullet selection is good for both cartridges, but even as sleek as the 6mm offerings are today, we can still find better ballistic coefficients in the .308. The higher the BC, the better the bullet travels through the air to the target. Ballistic coefficients are basically a lot of math When we take a look in the Hornady factory ammo offerings we see an interesting comparison for long range ammo. The .243 with 90-grain ELD-X bullets has a BC of .409. We start that bullet at 3150 fps. At 500 yards our velocity is 2069 fps and our drop is 43.2” On the other hand, a .308 stoked with Hornady’s 168-grain ELD Match ammo has a BC of .523. We start that bullet off at just 2840 fps. At 500 yards that bullet is still moving at 2029 fps and is only 41.9” low. This demonstrates the power of mass. Once we get the heavier bullet moving, it tends to shed less velocity over time and distance and shoots a bit “flatter”. (Left to Right) .308 165gn Nosler Partition taken from 350lbs Black Bear, .308 "165gn Nosler Partition" taken from Cow Elk However, the larger the mass – the more power is required to get it moving in the first place. Since .243 is a lot smaller, it takes much less energy to get it moving and that directly translates to less felt recoil. Playing with some numbers and cartridge loads, Nosler Trophy Grade 85gr in .243 Win and Remington Express Core-Lokt 150gr in .308 are both awesome small and medium game loads – but have wildly different felt recoils. Using the data above let’s plug the numbers in the Beartooth Bullets Recoil Calculator . Assume we are shooting identical rifles that weigh in at seven pounds all up. The .243 is going to hit us with 11-foot-pounds of energy and a recoil velocity of 10fps. Mild by anyone’s standards. Our .308 will recoil with 20-foot-pounds of energy and a recoil velocity of 13 fps. In my opinion, the .308 is a very easy shooting round. However, getting hit with twice the energy of a .243 every time the hammer falls would likely move one to choose the .243 for a day of long-range shooting or prairie dog sniping over the .308. They might look cute, but hunting them is akin to pest control. Best .243 Winchester Ammo 1. Sellier & Bellot 100 Grain SP This is a round that you can use for range time or hunting critters like deer or antelope. Sellier & Bellot 100 Grain SP 243 15 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 15 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing The 100-grain bullets should give reasonable penetration and expansion and will provide inexpensive practice time at the range. Brass-cased, boxer primed ammo so you can reload the cases if you wish. 2. "Remington Express Core" -Lokt 80 Grain PSP You’ll likely find a box of Big Green at most sporting goods stores where you travel to hunt or shoot. Remington Express Core-Lokt 80 Grain PSP 19 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 19 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing The 80 grain bullet will give you a decent hunting round as well as an inexpensive practice round. The spitzer-shaped profile will provide a flat trajectory and the brass is reloadable. 3. Hornady Superformance 58 Grain V-Max This would be an outstanding coyote and varmint round. These little bullets start out at over 3900 fps and only drop 29.6” at 500 yards. Hornady Superformance 58 Grain V-Max 28 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 28 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing If you want to stretch out and practice hitting little tiny targets way out there this would be a great choice. 4. "Nosler Trophy Grade" Rifle Ammunition 85 Grain Nosler Partition If you are hunting deer, antelope, maybe even elk the Nosler Trophy Grade ammo would be perfect. Nosler Trophy Grade Rifle Ammunition 85 Grain 50 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 50 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing Here we take brass that is prepped much like custom loaded ammo and top it with the famous Nosler Partition bullet. Now we have a bullet capable of controlled expansion as well as deep penetration. All of my big game loads have Partitions loaded. Just sayin’. 5. Federal Premium 95 Grain Nosler Ballistic Tip The Ballistic Tip has a reputation for accuracy and this premium ammo should help you bang the steel way out there. Federal Premium 95 "Grain Nosler Ballistic" Tip 30 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 30 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing While most long-range shooters prefer 100+ grain ammo for the .243, the bullets that work best are going to be mostly a handloading proposition. If this ammo shoots well in your rifle, you also have a handy deer hunting round. Best .308 Winchester Ammo 1. Lake City 7.62x51mm – 149 Grain FMJ This is Mil-Spec 7.62 NATO ammo that will run in all your semi-auto rifles as well as your bolt gun. Typically it is not loaded quite as hot as commercial ammo, so for a new shooter recoil will be a bit less. Lake City 7.62x51mm – 149 Grain FMJ 245 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 245 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing The brass is annealed (heat treated) and is boxer primed and reloadable. A note to all you handloaders: Lake City brass is some of the best brass available and is wonderfully consistent for crafting top-quality, accurate ammunition for hunting or match use. 2. Wolf Military Classic This ammo is steel-cased and has a 145-grain FMJ bullet. Perfect for a day at the range and training. At just $9.95 per box of 20, you can send a lot of rounds downrange without breaking the bank. Cheapest .308 Ammo "Wolf Military Classic" 145 Grain .308 10 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 10 at Lucky Gunner Prices accurate at time of writing The cases are Berdan primed and are not reloadable. 3. Hornady Superformance GMX I’m partial to 165-grain bullets for the .308 and the Hornady GMX bullet is one of the best, in my opinion. I’ve witnessed deer, elk and bison drop in their tracks with this ammo. Hornady Superformance GMX 165 Grain .308 44 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 44 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing It is extremely accurate and moves out a bit faster due to the proprietarily blended powder in the Superformance line. A box of 20 will run you $42.99, but with one-shot kills those 20 rounds should fill your freezer for a few years. 4. Remington Express Core-Lokt You can likely find a box of Big Green at any hardware store or sporting goods store you stop at should you arrive for your hunt and remember your ammo is sitting on the kitchen table at home. Remington Express Core-Lokt 180 Grain PSP .308 25 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 25 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing The 150-grain Core-Lokt bullet led the way in controlled expansion bullets and has accounted for many full freezers over the years. If you’re out for deer, hogs or black bear the Remington ammo will serve you well.  A box of 20 sells for $21.99. When we lean on the .308 to stretch out and hit targets way out there, we need to look at sleek, accurate bullets. The .308 seems to be at its best with 168-grain projectiles. 5. Federal Premium Gold Medal Match There are several choices here, but the 168 grain Sierra MatchKing bullet is great for long-range shooting and considered by many to be the best long-range bullet available. Hornady Custom Match Rifle Ammunition 168 Grain .308 30 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 30 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing The price is currently $28.99 per box of 20. You won’t be disappointed in the accuracy of this factory ammo. What’s your take on the SMK loaded "Gold Medal Match" ? Readers' Ratings 4.99/5 (155) Your Rating? 6. Hornady "Custom Match Rifle" Ammunition The Hornady Custom Match Rifle ammo is a solid choice for the long-range shooter. Hornady Custom Match Rifle Ammunition 168 Grain .308 30 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 30 at Cabela's Prices accurate at time of writing Available in several of Hornady’s very accurate bullets, won’t go wrong with the 168-grain ELD-M bullet or the boat-tail hollow point. A box of 20 will run $28.99 to $32.99 depending on your bullet choice. Final Thoughts Both of these cartridges have proven themselves in the game fields, on the range and for use as tactical tools. Both cartridges are inherently accurate, and if we are shooting them in a decent platform, will turn in little tiny groups at just about any range. I do believe the .243 will require much more precise shot placement on medium to big game, especially as ranges increase. There just is not enough mass to ensure consistent penetration no matter how good the bullets we are shooting are constructed. (top to bottom) Tikka T3 Lite .308, Savage Model 99 .300 Savage, Winchester Model 94 Trapper .30-30 On the other hand, the .308 gives us a bit of leeway in shot placement and may allow us to take that quartering away shot and drive our bullet into the vitals. Regardless, shot placement is key and just because we are using a bigger hammer we cannot be sloppy in our marksmanship. Which would I choose? If you look in my safe you’ll find at least three .308 bolt guns right now. I like the fact that ammo is readily available, I can reload for varmints, or long-range, or big game hunting. I have seen elk, bears, deer, and antelope fall down where they stand when hit by proper hunting projectiles. Now, if the right rifle comes along, I’d add a .243 to my accumulation.  Besides, you can never have too many guns. Do you hunt with .243 or .308? What is the best game you’ve harvested? Let us know in the comments! If you’re just starting out, take a look at our Introduction to Deer Hunting !

Concealed Carry Insurance

Concealed Carry Insurance

Everyone carries at least one type of insurance policy, whether it be automobile, homeowners, health or life insurance. We purchase insurance to protect us against the unexpected catastrophes of life. Many of us see our firearms that we carry every day is an insurance policy all by itself, protecting us against the unexpected and those who would harm us or our loved ones. What we must think about is the aftermath. What happens if the unexpected happens and we use our concealed carry firearm in self-defense? More importantly, what happens after this event. We see this happen frequently across our country, most evident in high profile cases such as the George Zimmerman, Treyvon Martin case. In this case was a classic example of a legally armed citizen using his gun in self-defense then winds up appearing in court to prove that the legal requirements were met to justify using deadly force. When the court rules a citizen complied with the law and is not guilty of any crime life goes on, right? It’s not always that simple. Any court case you are involved in will result in you spending tens of thousands of dollars to protect your freedom and clear your name. In some states once you’re cleared of all criminal charges, the family of the deceased might take further action to sue you in civil court for wrongful death. Once all of that is over even if you are not found liable for damages, you will still face a pile of legal bills in the process. With the expansion of concealed carry in the United States, even in some of the most liberal states, insurance providers are not offering concealed carry in self-defense insurance policies. There are many coverage options that are now available from a number of providers, covering an abundance of factors that all need to be considered when choosing a self-defense insurance plan. How to choose the Best CCW Insurance If you have a homeowners policy the first thing you should do is to speak with your agent to find out if there is any coverage you may already be entitled to three or homeowners insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance policies have clauses that may either enable or prevent your current plan from covering you in a self-defense situation on your own property. It is important to speak with your insurance agent to find out what kind of a coverage, if any, is included in your current plan. It is of the utmost importance to study the state laws where you reside. Many states have stand your ground laws that protect individuals against civil suits and lawful self-defense scenarios. Also known as the Castle doctrine law these laws help make it unlikely that you will face a civil suit when rightly defending yourself. Under the circumstances that you are covered by the stand your ground or Castle doctrine law, it may not make sense to pay a premium for insurance coverage. However, if your states laws don’t favor self-defense scenarios you may want to seriously consider an insurance policy that covers civil lawsuits. It is important to note that as a CCW citizen that it is very important to stay abreast of the laws in your state. Residing in a liberal state understanding that our politicians are constantly changing the laws, and their legislation is ever-changing, it is of utmost importance to stay abreast of the laws in your state. Next, consider the different levels of insurance coverage offered. Most companies such as the NRA insurance, offer varying levels of insurance coverage. USCCA insurance policies offer more than one level of protection. The more you pay monthly or yearly, the greater amount of civil and criminal coverage you may be entitled to during a trial. It is important to note that, for criminal trials, most of these plans only offer reimbursement for the money you spend defending yourself. There are several insurance plans that will not provide money up front for a criminal proceeding and will only pay out if you are found not guilty. Many plans will cover your legal bills for civil cases up to the plan limit. It is very important to carefully consider how much coverage you feel you might need based upon where you live. Going to court in one state versus another can be a much difference experience, and will lead to vastly different costs. If you are ever caught up in a high profile self-defense case, such as the Zimmerman/ Martin case, many policies would only cover a fraction of your criminal proceeding costs. Additional Considerations in Choosing a Concealed Carry Insurance In the final things to consider when choosing a concealed carry insurance plan are any additional features included in the plan. For example, find out whether the plan will cover fees for expert witnesses and whether those fees are provided upfront or reimbursed later. Also, always find out if the plan provides an attorney for you or if it allows you to pick an attorney whom you feel will represent you best. Also determine if the plan covers your family members during this self-defense incident within your home using your firearm. Many plans also provide a network of resources, such as expert witnesses, for use in your trial. Do your Homework When purchasing CCW insurance it’s important to research the different plans that are available and choose one that you’re comfortable with and that closely fits your needs. There is not much in the way of readily available information detailing customers individual experiences with the varying insurance providers. Some states even have their own insurance plans. Texas offers its own plan called the Texas legal protection plan. Check with your home state to see if they offer a reasonable insurance plan that will fit your needs.

[Rig Setup] Ferro Concepts Slickster & Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Chest Rig

[Rig Setup] Ferro Concepts Slickster & Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Chest Rig

Trending: Best Places to Buy Ammo Online and [Buyer's Guide] 7 Best AR-15s Ever wanted a simple, no-nonsense range rig setup – but don’t feel like taking out a second mortgage for Crye stuff? We gotcha 😎 I’ve put together a pretty nifty go-to setup for all of the work I do here at PPT, and figured it’d make sense to give y’all a brief run-down on the bits and bobs involved considering the amount of questions I get about the kit. This article will give you all the cool details, but the video is even awesome-er! Take a look and if you enjoyed it, don’t forget to subscribe for more great videos every week! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2nbb8UxKm4 Table of Contents Loading... Nerd Disclaimer So, first things first – we’re not operators nor do we have any delusions about being high-speed cool guys, but we also don’t think you necessarily need to be in order to make use of kit while you’re shooting. If you regularly do more kinetic rifle drills or have any interest in getting into that, it really makes sense to have a simple, streamlined setup that allows you to carry what you need on your person rather than looking like a dork with your cargo pants full of extra magazines and dealing with clunky reloads that said clown pants create. While there are definitely dudes that get wild as hell and wear an entire closet full of gear out to their mall ninja parade, we believe that your average gun guy can and maybe should get into gear too – so long as your approach reflects what you aim to do with it. Without further ado, let’s get into it! Spiritus Systems Micro Fight Chest Rig This is my personal "Spiritus Systems Micro" Fight chest rig . It’s super lightweight, minimalist and modular, which I quite enjoy, and allows me to set up the rig for whatever we might be doing that day. The Micro Fight itself At the moment, I’ve got it set up to run 3 AR mags, a double pistol insert upfront which you can see obviously also holds a multitool, and a small utility pouch for various loose items that don’t live anywhere else – I’ve got a Rite in the Rain pad and pencil in there right now. Spiritus Micro Fight, Exploded Perhaps a little different than most contemporary gear manufacturers, you literally build this rig from the ground up on Spiritus’ website, component by component. This allows you to snag only the features you need – running super slick if you need to, or bulking up with various pouch additions if you need something a little bit more substantial. The modularity of the Micro Fight is achieved through its very simple design – it’s essentially a Multicam Black envelope filled with Velcro and allows you to insert your own dividers, flaps, and mag inserts as needed. Inserting the err… Mag insert. As stated, I’ve got an AR-15 insert in here at the moment, but it’ll also hold both 5.45 and 7.62 AK magazines. YMMV with anything weirder than that, but Spiritus also sells mag pouches for .308 mags, allowing you to hold two in this same rear compartment, or a submachine gun / PCC setup that will hold 4 SMG mags. Modular! I’ve also got the Micro Fight setup as a chest rig at the moment, and have opted for the somewhat thicker fat straps – but you can also get shoulder straps that are much thinner like the torso strap if for whatever reason you need an even lower profile setup. Fat strappy bois There are also ‘expander wings’ that’ll sit off to either side and allow you to carry comms equipment, a water bottle, or something of that general size – which isn’t really a concern for me considering I don’t need a radio for work – but again, the modularity is nice if you do. They’re the approximate size of your standard Thales PRC-148 military radios. Ferro Concepts Slickster Following the trend of swapability many chest rigs in recent years have utilized, the Micro Fight is also swift clip compatible. Everything assembled together! Meaning that you can ditch all of the shoulder webbing and mount it directly to any plate carrier that’s also got swift clip compatible webbing – such as that found on the "Ferro Concepts Slickster" that I’ve got here. Swift clips slide right into the laser cut webbing The Slickster is another bit of super low-profile kit that’s meant to be worn underneath street clothing if needs be. Obviously I’m not doing anything that necessitates that, but I do enjoy wearing armor out on our desert shoots just for safety’s sake. The desert is occasionally a strange place, and the peace of mind when there are Jawas afoot is comforting. See also: public ranges This is a super no-frills plate carrier, but the elastic cummerbund does up your magazine count to 11 total when combined with the Micro Fight. I personally have never run it that loaded as I’ve never had a reason to, and realistically it’s probably going to be obnoxious to load the rig down that much considering there is absolutely no padding in the shoulder straps whatsoever. Also, you’ll wind up with mags at your 5 and 7 o’clock. Which is dumb. Pictured: A super stupid spot for a magazine. Again, it’s meant to be worn under clothing, but there is Velcro on the underside of the strap that’ll allow for the addition of shoulder pads if you find that necessary. Or hit some shrugs and get those traps popping – I’m not your dad. Super minimal shoulder straps The Slickster gets the job done no doubt, but it’s also been on the market for quite some time. A more updated, custom version is available from RE Factor tactical, and Spiritus also offers their own line of both covert and overt plate carriers with the same amount of modularity and customization shown in the Micro Fight rig. Ferro Concepts Slickster Carrier 155 at Refactor Tactical Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 155 at Refactor Tactical Prices accurate at time of writing We’ll likely be taking a look at both rigs sometime in the near future, so feel free to post up below if that’s something you’ve got interest in. Spiritus Systems Fanny SACK Lastly, I usually run all of this stuff together combined with my Spiritus Fanny Sack , which is by far the coolest fanny pack in the world and I will ban you from the website immediately if you even think about talking shit about fanny packs. Inside of the Fanny SACK with the Spiritus Pistol Mag insert and a generic 12ga loop They made a comeback, okay? In all seriousness the Fanny SACK is another piece of low profile kit that offers some serious utility – its main compartment is lined with Velcro and is spacious enough to carry a few pistol mags if you need to, but I usually use it for various loose bits such as batteries, snacks, etc. What is this expression? We may never know. The SACK’s got some shock cord loops on the bottom that are adjustable via the main compartment, and I’ve got an emergency CAT TQ mounted on mine. EDITOR'S PICK North American Rescue 2 Pack CAT Tourniquet Gen 7 55 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing View Details 55 at Amazon Prices accurate at time of writing There’s a version of the sack that loses the waist straps and adds a Velcro panel that allows it to attach to the Velcro on the back of your Micro Fight if you’d prefer to have the entire setup mounted in one piece. Fanny SACK with CAT TQ Personally, I prefer the wearable version because I use it a lot in my non-gun-nerd life too. Parting Shots So, there you have it – a real quick look at the gear I use most often for both casual and work shoot needs. Again, I think it makes a lot of sense to have your own personal setup even if you’re not doing classes or drills super often – and all of this stuff is small enough that it’s great to have on hand for an emergency, tuck into a bug out bag, keep stashed in the truck – what have you. If any of this has piqued your interest, I’d say definitely take a look at Spiritus Systems and Ferro Concepts both – as they’ve got a lot of other cool kit that I haven’t touched on yet as well. And if you dig the no-frills, low-profile approach of the original Slickster, but looking for some high-speed quality of life improvements — you need to take a close look at the Advanced Slickster ! RE Factor Tactical Advanced Slickster with Mags Running Around Very Fast on the Range I’m curious to hear opinions about kit being worn for casual range time, however! Do you think there’s a place for it given its obvious utility, or does it come off as operator cosplay? Yell at me below or whatever. And be sure to check out our Best Body Armor article for what to put in your carrier.

AR Basics: Mastering The Nuances of Charging Handle And Bolt Release

AR Basics: Mastering The Nuances of Charging Handle And Bolt Release

/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379da329061_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379da329061_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } On an empty reload, the bolt catch serves as a bolt release. This is the way the AR is designed to function, and the more you mess with the charging handle, especially under stress, the more chance there is you’ll mess it up. Of all the AR’s parts, the operation of the charging handle and bolt catch (also known as the bolt release) seems to confuse shooters most. The charging handle assembly is used to manually cycle the bolt group during loading and unloading, and while clearing malfunctions and stoppages. To perform this and other tasks efficiently — and to prevent wear and tear on your AR — it’s important to implement the proper techniques when using the handle catch/release in tandem, as well as when using them independently. Cycling the charging handle is a three-step process. Although it seems very straightforward, proper technique is the difference between efficient cycling and potentially damaging the charging handle — which will put your gun out of commission. For starters, the charging handle is used when performing a chamber check. The handle and bolt catch are used together to manually lock the bolt open. However, you don’t use the handle to perform an empty reload; for that, you use the bolt catch as a release. Knowing when and how to use the charging handle and bolt catch in harmony is key to operating the AR efficiently. Nuances of the Charging Handle

Maintain Your AR-15 Mags!

/* custom css */.td_uid_2_5f379d7d9f1d1_rand.td-a-rec-img { text-align: left; } .td_uid_2_5f379d7d9f1d1_rand.td-a-rec-img img { margin: 0 auto 0 0; } Yamil Sued Photo When an AR jams or other firing problems occur, it is often the result of a malfunctioning magazine. Here are 6 simple steps to keep your AR-15 mags running right. Like your rifle, magazines need to be maintained and cleaned for optimal performance and life. Make it a habit whenever field stripping and cleaning your rifle to also clean whatever magazines you’ve been shooting with as well. Here are 6 simple steps to AR-15 mag disassembly and cleaning. 1. Check that the magazine is empty. 2. Turn the mag over and using a small punch, depress the catch through the small hole in the floor plate and slide it back to release the plate. 3. Carefully slide the floor plate free of the magazine while keeping the mag spring retained. Then, gently allow the spring to uncoil and remove it.

Medicinal Uses of Pine Trees and Their Relatives in the Northeast

Evergreens are also known as conifers.  They make up the bulk of a group of plants called gymnosperms.  In my home area we have one conifer that is not evergreen: Larch or Tamarack ( Larix ).  You can also find the deciduous Bald Cypress ( Taxodium distichum ) under cultivation.  The broadleaf gymnosperm Ginkgo biloba is often planted, but this article will stick to the conifers (Pinophyta).  “ Gymnosperm ” means “naked-seed,” which means that the female part is exposed so that it can be directly pollinated by the male pollen that blows to it on the wind.  The angiosperms that are responsible for all the beautiful flowers like Tulips and Roses have female parts that are enclosed and must be reached by the male pollen through the complexity of the flower. Recognizing a gymnosperm is relatively easy.  Look for the “Pine Trees” (or, more properly, the conifers).  But take note that while many refer to any conifer, or evergreen, as a Pine Tree there are really three botanical families represented in our area: the Pine, Cypress, and Yew families.  So, “Pine” means “ Pinus ” and “Pine family” means “Pinaceae.”  As this is my first SurvivalCache article on the subject, I am focusing on the area I know best- the Northeast (particularly that which is centralized in the New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania tri-state area, or the Delaware River valley) to discuss some species and introduce some basic botany and survival considerations.  For future posts I will discuss other regions of the country. The Pine family contains several genera. Pinus (Pine), Picea (Spruce), Abies (Fir), Tsuga (Hemlock), and Larix (Larch) are found in our area. Pseudotsuga menziesii (Douglas-fir) and some others (including non-indigenous Pine) can be found in cultivation.  I regularly use White Pine, which is partially due to it being more common in my area than the other Pines.  I also commonly make use of Hemlock, which is a primary tree of certain forests and the host of one of my favorite medicinal mushrooms, Ganoderma tsugae (Reishi).  This is a very useful plant family for the survivalist to get to know. The Cypress family has Taxodium (Bald Cypress), Thuja (Arbor-vitae), Chamaecyparis (Atlantic White-cedar), and Juniperus (Juniper and Red Cedar).  There are many medicinal uses of species in Cupressaseae, but it should be regarded as less edible in general than the Pine family. Thuja essential oil , for instance, is considered quite toxic. Read Also: Natural Headache Remedies The Yew family is mostly found in landscapes as our native Taxus (Yew) is over-browsed by deer.  English and Japanese domestic varieties are quite common under cultivation and sometimes naturalize (spread into the wild from cultivation).  Yews are toxic.  So, to avoid poisoning, the beginner should quickly learn the difference between Yews and the others, especially the Hemlock and Fir that superficially resemble Taxus because of the leaf (needle) arrangement.  The red “berry” of Taxus is edible, but not the seed (which is actually visible, indicating it is a gymnosperm, in the cup-shaped “berry”).  It is very common for poisonous plants to concentrate toxins in the seeds while producing an innocuous fruit. The Pines and Yews have needles while the Cypress family has scale-like leaves.  (One exception to this generalization is Bald Cypress, which has needle-like leaves that alternate on deciduous terminal twigs.)  They are all needle-like in a way, but you will notice the scale quality in the Cypress family, such as with Juniperus or Thuja .  If you then learn to recognize the Yew needles (which are rare in the wild anyway), the remainder varieties of needles can be known as belonging to members of the Pine family. Quick Navigation Pinaceae – Pine Family Cupressaceae  – Cypress Family TAXACEAE  –  Yew Family Bibliography Pinaceae "– Pine Family" Pinaceae is the representative family of the gymnosperms, as the group consists of the most quintessential evergreen trees.  They tend to be pitchy (they have thick, sticky, aromatic sap), with a piney or citrus-like scent.  Their leaves are needles.  And they have the most quintessential cones (often called “pine cones” no matter what genus they occur on, even if the genus is of another family), compared to the berry-like cones of Juniperus and Taxus (Yew), for instance.  The cones have spirally arranged scales and the seeds have wings. One of the easiest ways to get to know this family of trees is to get to know the individual genera: Pinus , Tsuga , Picea , Larix , and Abies of our area. Cedrus and Pseudotsuga are native to other parts of the country. Cathaya , Pseudolarix , Keteleeria , and Nothotsuga are native to China. Pinus sylvestris (Scotch Pine or Scot’s Pine) is the most widely distributed Pine.  It was brought here from Europe and can normally be found along driveways and cultivated lands.  It can be easily distinguished from the other common species by its orange-shaded upper bark and the light blue-green of its needles.  It has been used extensively in traditional European medicine and has also been used for pharmaceutical preparations. The Ojibwa used Jack Pine ( Pinus banksiana ) to to revive consciousness.  Arthritis, muscle pains, sores, wounds, and pains associated with colds and febrile illnesses have all been treated with various Pinaceae species.  Our most common native species, White Pine ( Pinus strobus ) and Pitch Pine ( P. rigida ) have been used extensively as wild food and medicine.  Pines were a primary dietary supplement for winter as a source of vitamin C and to treat coughs, colds, and fevers. Hemlock ( Tsuga canadensis ) has horizontally arranged needles with white stripes (giving a pale appearance on the underside) that are dark green above and have been important for survival in the Northeast similar to Pinus .  Hemlock is a common tree of stream gorges.  It hosts a species of Reishi ( Ganoderma tsugae ) and is being attacked by a devastating insect, the Wooly Adelgid.  The cones are quite small and persist so that they are often found dried but still on the tree.  The genus name is from Japanese.  The common name is shared with Poison Hemlock ( Conium maculatum ), which causes a deal of confusion in some circumstances.  Poison Hemlock, being in the Carrot Family (Apiaceae) is not very closely related at all. Balsam Fir ( Abies ballsamea ) is used for coughs, colds, cuts, and sores.  Its taste and aroma is quite pleasant.  I would use Fir species much more commonly, except they are not abundant locally.  Those in the Western states might readily fine useful and interesting Abies species nearby. Tamarack ( Larix laricina ) is used for stomach, colds, coughs, fatigue, sores, soreness, and infections; and as a tonic for general health, laxative, and diuretic.  Chippewa used infusion of bark for anemic conditions and poultice of inner bark for burns. The various species of Spruce ( Picea ) have been used like others from the Pine Family for colds and other general uses.  The pitch in particular is favored as fire-starting material and for topical medicinal application, such as in the case of boils, infections, and cuts. Cupressaceae  – Cypress Family Red Cedar ( Juniperus virginiana ) This is by far the most common representative of this family and genus in our area.  Common Juniper ( J. communis ) can also be found, but is not so common (despite its name) due to habitat loss and deer browse and is easily differentiated from Red Cedar in that it is a low-growing, spreading shrub.  Red Cedar is much more tree-like, though it can’t compete in our peak forests.  Sometimes you will find significant numbers dying in the shade of taller trees.  Healthy stands are found in old fields and similar locations.  They have dark blue berry-like cones. A Red Cedar sapling that died after getting shaded out by taller-growing trees.  The small, dead twigs are easy to remove to turn the tree  into a staff , handle, or utility pole. TAXACEAE  –  Yew Family Taxaceae includes only three genera worldwide, only one of which, Taxus , which occurs in this country.  Of the nine (estimated) species of Taxus in the world, three can be found wild in the region- one of which is native: T. canadensis .  It is the only species found wild in the immediate area, but is suffering from deer overbrowse.  The most common place to find Yew is in hedgerows where it is commonly planted.  A friend cut down a hedge in Hawley, PA.  A slice of one trunk that I have here on the table has 47 growth rings and is only four finger-widths thick (see image below).  Particularly in the Northwest, Yew is a favorite wood for bows. Related: 10 Tips for When You Get Lost in the Woods It is easy to recognize Yew by the bright red berries (arils), which (as it is a gymnosperm) are open on the end, exposing the seed.  The flesh of the fruit is the only edible part of the plant, but the seeds are highly toxic. T. canadensis and Pacific Yew ( T. brevifolia ) are used to make a pharmaceutical drug Taxol that is used to treat cancer.  Natives used Yew to treat numbness in the fingers.  Yew species can be recognized by their lack of aromatic properties that are present in Pinaceae and Cupressaceae. Bibliography The Plants of Pennsylvania by Ann Fowler Rhoads and Timothy A. Block Iroquois Medical Botany by James W. Herrick Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada by Henry A. Gleason & Arthur Cronquist Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel E. Moerman Other interesting articles: Deadly Poisons, Wild Edibles, and Magic Medicinals of The Carrot Family The Survival Staff Emergency Foods from Wild Plants Survival Gear Review: Survival Guides to Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rocky Mountains

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