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Houlding Precision Firearms Muzzle Brakes

Believe it or not, despite all the challenges we have to face as firearms owners in this beautiful yet crazy state of ours, some truly great firearm companies are in the Golden State, such as Houlding Precision Firearms located in Madera, California.

While chatting with these folks about their family run business on social media and at SHOT Show, I learned that they were very likeable and like-minded people.

I finally had the chance to mount a couple of their muzzle devices to a couple of my rifles and give them whirl. First let me quickly cover the specs on the two brakes they offer.


HPF-15 Curse Muzzle Brake

  • Dual Chamber
  • 60 degree, off-set porting to prevent muzzle from rising
  • Smaller Ports to prevent muzzle blast on firing line
  • CNC Machined for precision
  • 1/2-28 RH
  • Melonite finish
  • Laser Engraved
  • Designed for competition shooting
  • Very effective muzzle brake and flash reduction
  • Bottom side of brake has 60 degree arc with no porting to prevent dust signature when shooting prone


HPF-15 Irish Curse Muzzle Brake

  • Identical to Curse EXCEPT shorter
  • Additional top port to compensate for smaller size
  • Single Chamber



Upon mounting the first thing I noticed aesthetically was the full size Curse brake was a little longer than I typically like, but I would later learn that attribute does give it better recoil mitigation. Otherwise the thing just looks badass especially with its claws on the muzzle crown.


The Curse is designed to not only mitigate muzzle climb and felt recoil, but to also suppress flash signature, which many brakes on the market fail dramatically to do. We noticed while shooting that there was far less concussion to a shooting partner or bystanders than many other competition focused muzzle brakes out there.


The Irish Curse, which is the shortened single chamber version of the Curse, also performed very well and made shooting a more enjoyable experience over a standard flash hider. While it didn’t mitigate muzzle climb quite as much as the standard size device, it was a barely noticeable difference. Plus I like the shorter profile of the Irish Curse for my personal taste.


*Quick video I took on my phone.

All in all these muzzle devices made it a much more enjoyable experience over shooting with the standard A2 flash hider on and more importantly made followup shots much faster. It’s nice to your reticle stay relatively on target as opposed to jumping off target completely and having to reacquire with every shot. And at just over $100 for the Curse and only $80 for the Irish curse, they are far more competitively priced than most devices out there that perform similar.


Houlding Precision Firearms also offers handguards, billet uppers and lowers, and high quality complete rifles as well. I’ll put a link to their website and contact info below, and if you get a chance to contact them, be sure to ask Todd the story behind their awesome Bee logo. I can’t wait to see what they have in the works for 2015!


Houlding Precision Firearms2980 Falcon Drive Madera, CA. 93637


My Top Favorite Buys from 2013

I wish you all a very happy New Year filled with joy, good health, and success. 2013 was an amazing and busy year for me.  I worked, traveled and hunted a lot.  Although I didn’t have a successful hunting year, I am so grateful for the opportunities I received and the memories I made from each trip.  One of my resolutions for the New Year is to continue to push my boundaries, improve, and keep my positive cheerful attitude.  I’m a strong believer that hard work does pay off, but I will admit there are times I get frustrated from the miles and mountains I’ve hiked public land hunting (not to mention all the gas dollars), but I have to remind myself…  stay focused and be thankful for the journey.  Find happiness even in the simple things in life.  After all, at least I’m burning calories!  🙂

I purchased several new items in 2013 for shooting, archery, and hunting.  Below are my personal top picks that I wanted to share with you.

The Remington Versa Max Sportsman shotgun, built on the same platform as the Remington Versa Max, is extremely comfortable, shoots very smooth, and costs $200-300 less (all you give up is the extra choke set and some rubber over-molding on the stock).  In the past I’ve shot shotguns which left my shoulder sore.  With this gun, I have yet to feel any pain.  The Supercell recoil pad is a shoulder saver making shooting clays even more enjoyable.

Remington Versa Max Sportsman

The Ruger 10/22 Takedown is fun and inexpensive.  It breaks down into one small pack, it’s lightweight, and it comes in multi-cam.  If you have kids, this is a great rifle to have them hunt small game.

Ruger 10/22 Take Down

I installed Trijicon HD Night Sights on my Sig Sauer P226 which is my main home defense handgun.  The Tritium-phosphor lamp lights up brightly in low-light or no-light environments for fast and accurate target acquisition.

Trijicon HD Night Sights

During Shot Show, I picked up some Manta Rail Guards and I love the way the grip feels.  It’s very similar to silicone material and it can endure high temperatures.  It comes in black, fde, and od green.

Manta AR-15 Rail Guard

Depending on the season, hunting in the California mountains can range from 15-110 degrees.  From hiking in the snow trying to climb steep mountains looking like I was on the NordicTrack, to blistering heat boiling water in my pack, if there is one thing I have learned is dressing properly.  I don’t mind the heat too much because I can wear light layers, but the cold is one thing I cannot stand if I am not moving around.  Hunting still in a tree stand or blind early in the morning I am miserable.  I hate the cold.  For females our core body temperature is approximately 10 degrees or so colder than a male.  I have purchased a lot of different hunting clothes, and one thing I will never go without hunting in the stand/blind is a PrimaLoft jacket.  I purchased a Russell Outdoors APXG2 L4 Primaloft Lightning Jacket for $40 because the brand was discontinued.  I had no idea I ran into such a gem of an item.  Although for me it is a little on the heavier side as far as weight is concerned for hiking, it has kept my upper body snug and warm while waiting in the stand/blind for deer to pass by.


I’d love to hear what products our readers enjoyed.  Please feel free to share and happy shooting!

Handgun Shopping

Catherine Kim

I love guns.  While some girls enjoy spending their money on shoes, I like to slowly build my armory and gear to appease my many hobbies.  I don’t limit myself to one brand, but I do have my favorites.  Although my collection is not enormous, it is growing and each addition is special in its own way.  I get quite a number of messages through my FaceBook from girls who want to purchase their first handgun, so I thought I would share my journey.  The important thing is that YOU feel comfortable handling and shooting it.  I can’t even count or recall all the handguns I have shot throughout the years, but as you continue shooting you will start noticing immediately what features you like and dislike.

Catherine Kim

Finding that “right” feeling “out of box” handgun was a bit of a struggle for me.  I started out with the Glock because that was the brand I heard the most about and let’s face it… it is inexpensive.  It shot good and it was lightweight, but one of the things I did not like was the way the grip felt.  With my tiny hands it felt so bulky and it was hard to get a grip with the huge hump on the backstrap.  However, a benefit to Glock was the customization potential and its durability.  There are many third party companies that develop add-ons and replacement parts to customize not only functionality but aesthetics as well.

Next I shot and fell in love with the Sig P226 at the range, so I went ahead and bought one.  It shot smooth and felt a little better in my small hands.  The only problem for me was the long double action trigger pull on the first shot. During that time I started dabbling in competitive shooting, and getting that first shot off was more time consuming than a striker fire.  After taking an IDPA class with my Sig P226, I knew I would have to find another gun if I wanted to dabble in competitive shooting (production class).

Someone brought to my attention the Smith & Wesson M&P series that had interchangeable palmswells for the backstrap. So I went and held one with the SMALL back and it felt amazing.  It was the best fitting “out of box” handgun I had ever felt for my tiny hands. It felt controllable, which is extremely important. Especially for women, if the gun isn’t very controllable, you will be constantly adjusting your grip.  Plus it was a striker fire so it was super easy to use and shoot.

Smith & Wesson M&P

So, I went on a hunt for a M&P 9L, which has a 5″ barrel for a little more accuracy and has a longer sight radius with an overall length of 8.38.”   The stars must have aligned because I found ONE (literally one) available in another state through Armslist.  The previous owner had installed a fiber optic front/black wide notch rear sight combo for faster target acquisition.  Although, the stock three dot Smith & Wesson sights are pretty good and personally I think better than Glock.  Every M&P comes with all three sizes of palmswells- small, medium, and large.  It is really easy to change out and does not require tools. Another aftermarket enhancement my M&P 9L came with is an upgraded trigger.  The stock M&P trigger is not very smooth. That’s the only complaint I have ever heard about them, but that can go for many other stock handguns as well. I have the APEX Competition AEK (action enhancement kit) which gives me about a 3lb trigger pull, and they also offer the Duty/Carry AEK which gives you about a 5lb pull. Both have a super crisp and short reset.

Smith & Wesson M&P

Gun shopping is kind of like shoe shopping.  If you are going to purchase an expensive pair of heels, #1. You want to try it on and walk around, #2. You want to make sure it fits, and #3. You want to make sure it’s comfortable. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me.  Happy shooting.  😉

Smith & Wesson M&P

FIRST LITE merino wool clothing for the outdoorsman

First Lite Logo

Article Submitted by Landon Faulkner

When it comes to regulating your temperature in the outdoors, the base layer is THE most important thing in my opinion. Previously I had always believed Polyester blends were what I should get because basically that’s just what was out there. But after a half day out of wearing my poly I would notice I smelled so bad that I didn’t even want to stand close to another person out of embarrassment. Imagine what the animals thought of it.

I did some research and I came across some articles about Merino wool base layers that a lot of backpackers/adventurers were using that was apparently very comfortable and could go days without stinking to boot. After some research I found a brand called First Lite, a hunting apparel company out of Idaho who are all hunters and specialize in merino wool. After trying several pieces of their gear, I can tell you from now on merino wool is the only base layer I will be wearing whether I’m hunting in the early season 90 degree sun, late season rut with temps in the teens, or even just snowboarding, camping, whatever.

First Lite

First Lite


First of all, this is NOT the thick itchy wool your father and grandfather wore. Merino wool is a super fine, small diameter fiber, from New Zealand and Australia mainly, that feels good against the skin. It causes no itchiness or rashes. It insulates well, it holds its insulating properties when wet, and it dries out fast. It is also flame-retardant and does not melt when exposed to fire (which is a big selling point for Military operators who are exposed to explosions). This means you can get closer to the camp fire without having to worry about melting your clothes to your skin.

First Lite


First Lite has designed their stuff to be very durable to last you a long time. With a nice form fitting cut and triple stitching in places where it counts, expect to use these garments for days on end for many years before needing to replace. This value for your dollar is important, since Merino wool gear is a little on the pricier side.

First Lite

Odor Control

All of us hunters know how extremely important odor control is. Most of the game we stalk use scent as their number one defense. I promise you if you use polypro as a base layer, you WILL stink worse than normal after a single day. I am a fairly skinny guy and I don’t normally stink, but that stuff makes me reek. I am also not a big user of so called “scent control” carbon lined clothing because they literally lose their odor blocking properties with every wash, and it doesn’t take many.

Merino wool can be worn for numerous days without getting stinky. It is an anti-microbial fabric that does not hold bacteria like synthetic fiber, it wicks away moisture and disperses it better with a process called “glass transition”, and I have personally worn their Red Desert underwear for a whole 3 day trip and still smelled good enough to be comfortable stopping at a restaurant on the way home for a good meal without feeling like the stinky guy in the room. Coupled with some scent spray, it’s as good as it gets.

First Lite


First Lite offers many different options for weight and style of garment. Something for any hunt, any time of year. I wear their Llano long sleeve tee and Red Desert boxers for hot weather and it feels super light and dries fast when I sweat, and I add the Chama mid layer and Allegheny long underwear when its gets cold, and I hope to soon try out their Labrador full zip sweater as well for some even colder stuff. This year they have also introduced some very high-tech outerwear with the latest materials that I hope to try for late deer season if I can get my hands on some. It would also be really nice to see them make a women’s line or sizes in the near future. My girlfriend has been really jealous and wants some for her 🙂

Almost all of their gear is offered in the best licensed camo patterns available today, including ASAT camo, Realtree Max1, Realtree Xtra, Mossy Oak Infinity, and everything still comes in standard black or Dry Earth as well.

First Lite

Try some out and you will up your game in the woods.


SHOT SHOW 2013: New Bushnell Elite Tactical Rifle Scopes and Spotting Scope

We got a chance to spend some time with Tim Tanker who is the Bushnell Senior Product Manager for Rifle Scopes. Bushnell has really burst onto the tactical scene this past year with some optics from their Elite Tactical line for the precision shooters that are getting good feedback. They are even being seen with some regularity in the special ops community, including last year’s international Sniper Competition. Many are touting these scopes as being as good as the $3000-$4000 scopes from other companies at half the price, which is a huge selling point for most average shooters.

Tim showed us three variable magnification models for this year that stood out.

The Bushnell Elite Tactical ERS 3.5-21x50mm comes in FDE or Matte Black, is a first focal plane optic with a G2DMR reticle, and locking zero stop turrets. Price point will be about $1999.

Specs for ERS 3.5-21x 50mm (ET315215GZ, ET315215GZA)
Power / Obj Lens: 3.5-21x 50mm
Finish: Matte, Flat Dark Earth
Length (in / mm): 13 / 332
Reticle: G2
Mounting Length (in / mm): 6 / 154
Field of View (ft@100 yds. / m@100 m): 26/8@3.5x / 5/1.5@21x
Adj Range in@100yds/ m@100m: 50 / 1.3
Weight (oz. / g): 35 / 992
Exit Pupil (mm): 10@3.5x / 2.4@21x
Eye Relief (in / mm): 3.7 / 95
Click Value in@100 yds / mm@100m: 0.34 / 10

Bushnell Elite Tactical ERS 3.5-21x 50mm

The Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS 4.5-30x50mm is he big boy and comes in Matte Black only, is also first focal plane with G2DMR reticle, and locking zero stop turrets. Price point will be about $2199.

Specs for XRS 4.5-30x 50mm (ET45305GZ)
Power / Obj Lens: 4.5x-30x 50mm
Finish: Matte
Length (in / mm): 10.2 / 265
Reticle: G2
Mounting Length (in / mm): 6.4 / 162
Field of View (ft@100 yds. / m@100 m): 24/7.3@4.5x / 3.6/1@30x
Adj Range in@100yds/ m@100m: 50 / 1.3
Weight (oz. / g): 37 / 1049
Exit Pupil (mm): 9@4.5x / 1.7@30x
Eye Relief (in / mm): 3.7 / 95
Click Value in@100 yds / mm@100m: 0.34 / 10

Bushnell Elite Tactical XRS 4.5-30x 50mm

And for the close-medium range shooters who need an optic that can work up close or reach out to longer ranges, like 3 gunners for example, they’ve introduced the Bushnell Elite Tactical SMRS 1-8.5×24 with illuminated red dot. It comes in Matte Black with a first focal plane illuminated BTR-2 reticle w/ 10 brightness settings, and again zero stop locking target turrets. Price point will be about $1999.

Specs for SMRS 1-8.5x 24mm (ET18524)
Power / Obj Lens: 1.8.5x 24mm
Finish: Matte
Length (in / mm): 10.2 / 265
Reticle: Illuminated BTR-2
Mounting Length (in / mm): 7.4 / 188
Field of View (ft@100 yds. / m@100 m): 105/32@1x 14/4@8.5x
Adj Range in@100yds/ m@100m: 60 / 1.5
Weight (oz. / g): 23 / 652
Exit Pupil (mm): 13.2@1x / 3.2@8.5x
Eye Relief (in / mm): 3.5 / 8.9
Click Value in@100 yds / mm@100m: 0.34 / 10

Bushnell Elite Tactical SMRS  1-8.5x 24mm

All three scopes have good optical clarity when zoomed in and feel durable as would be expected.

They will also introduce this year the Bushnell Elite Tactical LMSS 8-40x60mm Spotting Scope. This compact spotter has a durable coating around the outside, and will come with or without a reticule to match your rifle scope.

Specs for Elite Tactical LMSS 8-40x 60mm (780840)
Magnification: 8-40x
Objective: 60
Prism Glass: BaK-4
Lens Coating: Fully Multi-Coated
Field of View: 50 / 16@40x / 250 / 83@8x
Exit Pupil(mm): 1.5@40x / 5@8x
Close Focus: 30 ft.
Weight(oz. / g): 37.1 / 1053
Length(in / mm): 12.7 / 323
Waterproof / Fogproof : Yes
Other Eye Pieces Available: –
Eye Relief: 30
Color: Sand

Bushnell Elite Tactical LMSS Spotting Scope