Unfortunately, I don’t own a sporting goods store. I don’t have any relatives that are executives at Bass Pro Shops or Cabellas. No buddies at Mossy Oak or Real Tree. Basically, I have to buy my equipment. Since I don’t have unlimited funds, I have to be careful what I buy – just like most everyone else. I’m constantly looking for value as a functional compromise between quality and price.
For the last ten or more years I have used a Remington 870 Express 12 Ga Slug Gun for hunting whitetail during firearm season. I have harvested MANY deer with this gun and probably shoot it better than any gun I’ve ever had. I’m not sure what it is about this particular gun, but it feels like an extension of me. I see the open sites perfectly and have 100% confidence when shooting it. I’ve taken deer out to about 140 yards with this remarkable little brush gun.
My alternative the the Remington 870 is my trusty Remington 710 30/06, complete with the stock 6×9 scope. I continually read trash about this gun and how junky it is, but I just don’t care. Mine has never let me down. It shoots great, is reliable, and I don’t worry about scratching it. I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment or be even remotely embarrassed to take it on $10,000 guided trip. It is a great gun and I don’t care what anyone else says about it.
My turkey gun is another Remington, the Remington 870 Express Super Magnum 12 Ga. This gun is tough. Black mat finish with black synthetic stock. I’ve put a turkey choke on it and it patterns well out to about 40 yards. For fun I like to load it with 2 ¾ target loads and then one 3 ½ turkey load and let my friends shoot it. They’ll get comfortable with the light loads and then almost drop it when they fire the 3 ½ .
For squirrels I have a couple .22s. My Stainless Ruger 10/22 with synthetic stock does a great job on squirrels. For close ones I use my Walther P22 pistol. This gun is awesome. For plinking you can use a factory laser that integrates on the bottom rail. However, hunting with a laser is illegal, at least in Missouri.
My brand new back-up gun is a Taurus 444 .44 Magnum in Titanium. This gun weighs just one and one half pounds (a fraction of the weight of a steel frame revolver). It is not cumbersome to carry. It is comfortable to the hand, as it has the raging bull frame and grips. Shooting 44 special loads through it is pleasant. Shooting .44 mag loads is not pleasant, but I think I can handle it if my life is on the line.
My bow is a Redhead XP-35 Compound Bow. I bought it at Bass Pro Shops in 2006 and had it loaded up with all the stuff you need in order to actually shoot it. I think it along with accessories cost me around $750, which is more than any of my firearms cost. I love this bow. I shoot it pretty well. I’ve been shooting daily for some time now and vary my shots between 15 yards and 60 yards. I’ll post the specs for this bow in the near future, as well as the accessories I use for it.
I have several other weapons, such as my old recurve bow. I took my first deer with this bow when I was 15. It is a Ben Pearson with 45# draw. I still love to shoot it and recently did some carp shooting with it. I’ve got a spear gun, which is absolutely awesome. A Hawaiian sling is also a fun way to bring up a catfish. Again, this isn’t legal in Missouri, but is great fun down in Arkansas.
I love Eureka tents. I have a basic dome Eureka camping tent that my family uses. I also have an Eureka Pine Lodge Tent which is the perfect place to live while away from home on hunting trip. It is a whopping 10′x12′, plus rain awning and sleeps 8 adults. Look at all the Eureka camping tents on their website (which is where I got mine from). They also make some pretty good equipment, like sleeping bags and cots. I’ve even got my eye one one of their folding hammocks which would be really nice after a long day of toting a rifle through the mountains!
My most important gear, other than my Buck 110 knife, is probably my range finder. I use (and highly recommend) a Leupold RX-II laser rangefinder with True Ballistical Range. This range finder is supposed to work out to 600+ yards, but I’ve found that it really works best out to about 450. This is fine for me as I don’t take 400+ yard shots anyway. What I like most is that it is small, lightweight, and perfectly fits my hand. Being waterproof is also very important. My original pair cost about $300. My second pair cost much less. Read about why I needed a second pair at my post: Losing my Leupolds
A pair of binoculars is also important. Unfortunately, binoculars are very expensive. I bought mine on Ebay from Bob Wards for about $60. They are Bushnell Dusk to Dawn 10×42. I bought them because they are waterproof and anti-fog. So far I like them fine. However, I’ve never used them all day long so I don’t know if eye fatigue is a problem or not. For my purpose, so far, they work great.
I post my opinion of other gear on my gear blog. Check it out!