For this article, I had called Birbari to see what they suggested for this article. He sent me one of their Liberty Mantleless Lanterns. This unit is a butane-fueled lantern that weighs just 8.3 ounces.
Little did I know that this lantern was going to come to really good use just after I received it. Some of you might have heard that the Buffalo, NY, area got a couple of feet of really heavy wet snow on October 12. This brought down trees and power lines all over several cities and counties. Most towns were closed on the 13th with no work that day. My town and family were without electricity for 8 days. Some communities were without for more than that.
The mantleless lantern has a platinum element that takes the place of the mantle as most of us know it. They say it is virtually windproof, which so far I can’t dispute, and it’s also hassle free. To light the Liberty you just turn on the gas and push a button. No matches are needed. The light is reflected to where you want it. So, no matches, no mantle and no glass globe. Nice!
A side feature of the Liberty is that it generates heat. We used the Liberty at my house during our power outage and the heat that it generates did help heat my house. We also had the fireplace going but that heat was pretty much restricted to the living room. The lantern was usually taken into the bathroom while people were showering. Remember to ventilate!
On an 8-ounce canister of gas, you should get about 6 hours of usage at the lattern’s highest output. The Liberty comes with a nylon case for backpacking and folds up into a neat little package that will hardly be noticed in your pack. The retail price is $119.
Ammo is always a good gift. I remember a few years ago when my daughter, Carrie, went out and bought all the .17 Remington ammo that she could find as a gift for me. The interesting part was that everyone sold it to her without questions while she was only 16 years old.
Winchester Ammunition (427 North Shamrock St., Dept. GWK, East Alton, IL 62024; phone: 618-258-2365; on-line: www.winchester.com) sent us some of their new waterfowl ammoXtended Range Hi-Density loads. These were of the 3-inch variety, in #2 and #4 shot, but #Bs are also available. The Xtended Range ammo is available in 20-and 12-gauge and in 2∫- and 3-inch shells, and also in 3˚-inch for 12-gauge. I intend to try them on coyotes. I haven’t shot them up yet, but I will be shooting in a few weeks after the weather has been cold long enough for the furbearers to get a good coat on them.
If your gift recipient doesn’t own or use a shotgun, try some of Winchester’s rifle or pistol ammo. They have a very extensive line-up of ammo to cover almost any need, so much so, that it can become mind-boggling.
However, regardless of the brand you choose, I always consider ammunition a useful and appreciated gift.
CamelBak (Products, LLC, 1310 Redwood Way, Suite C, Dept. GWK, Petaluma, CA 94954; phone: 800-767-8725; on-line: www.camelbak.com) is probably known best to most readers as the guys with the water backpacks. While that is true, they have ventured into a couple other arenas.
One new item for CamelBak is water bottles. They come in three different sizes.50L, .75L and 1.0L. The .50 comes in five different colors. The .75 come in 9 possible colors, and the 1.0L unit comes in 4 colors at this time.
The samples that were sent to us are the .75L size and have a closable drinking spout that is attached to a straw, with a bite valve on it. We received both tan and black opaque bottles. These are not your cheap, chintzy water bottles like you see some companies give away as regalia. They are a hard plastic in which you can put water, juices or most any other liquid. They are cleanable either by hand or in the top rack of your dishwasher.
The retail price for the .75L units is $12. Sorry, I don’t have a price on the other sizes but you should be able to find them at Dick’s Sporting Goods and similar outdoor stores. I’ve been carrying two on my motorcycle all summer. I fill them about ∫ full the night before with water and then freeze them so I have cold water all day. They work great, and it beats buying bottled water all the time.
CamelBak doesn’t recommend putting carbonated beverages into their bottles. It won’t hurt the bottle but pressure can develop inside the bottle that would be released like opening a can of soda that has been shaken up.
I have found these bottles to be far superior to those I have previously used.
The second item that CamelBak has ventured into is gloves. There are 10 or 12 different kinds of gloves with different features. The ones that we received are their cold weather gloves. They come in sizes to fit almost anyone including XS.
I’ve been wearing these while riding my motorcycle the last few weeks. While the temperatures haven’t really been that cold, only in the low 40s, they have kept my hands nice and warm.
Besides doing their job of keeping out the cold, their texture has also made gripping the controls much easier. They have a Velcro fastener that attaches at the wrist in the front. I have found that gloves with this type of feature stay on your hands better and allow you to grip and work better then gloves without.
I have found that these gloves allow you to feel much more of what you are gripping than most others. This is probably because of their thinness. I have also done some shooting in them with both my S&W 360PD and my M&P, and the gloves haven’t hindered shooting at all. From their construction, I think they will probably last forever. Their retail price is about $48.
It seems that I just can’t go to the range with only one product from Wheeler Engineering (Battenfeld Technologies, Inc., 5885 West Van Horn Tavern Rd, Dept. GWK, Columbia, MO 65203; phone: 877-509-9160; on-line: www. Battenfeld-technologies.com), but I usually have several of their products with me. The Fat Wrench is now included in my gun box. I’m not really sure why they call it a wrench at all, because it is actually more of a torque screwdriver. The Fat Wrench is adjustable from 6 to 65 inch/pounds
Whoever thought this one up is brilliant. We have known for years about torquing down items and the need to measure how much pressure you are exerting. No one ever did anything about it until now.
The Fat Wrench comes with a square drive adapter bit, three torx bits, two Allen bits, three flat blade bits and a Leupold/Buehler Windage bit. Combine this with the Wheeler Engineering Professional Gunsmithing Screwdriver set, and you are all set.
Save the packing the wrench comes in because it gives you several suggested pound settings for certain gun related items.
Battenfeld, you’ve done it again! The retail price of The Fat Wrench is $60.
I think that everybody who has ever spent a day in a cold treestand has heard of and used products from HeatMax (PO Box 1191, Dept. GWK, Dalton, GA 30722; phone: 800-432-8629; on-line: www.heatmax.com). They are those people who make those hot chemical hand warmers.
Over the years they have come up with several products incorporating their heater units to help keep those who like to venture out into the cold in the winter at least a little bit warmer. They have two types of watch caps that hold the heater units to keep your head warm. Each cap has a pocket on either side to hold an activated heater.
The one I like the best is the fleece cap. It just feels so soft and gentle that it seems to give off heat even without any heaters in the pockets. The fleece cap retails for $9.95 and comes with a pair of Hothand Heat Packs. The second, available in orange or black, is knit cap for $6.95, which also holds two heaters that are provided with the cap.
The company has also come out with a fleece Neck Gaiter to keep your face and neck warm. This is also supplied with a starter set of heaters. This one I think I’m going to keep for myself to use on those days in the fall and winter that I take the bike for a ride. The retail price of the neck gaiter is $9.95.
Over the last few years, the flashlight has changed drastically. A small handheld unit can now put out more light from its 5-inch aluminum case than a 5-cell D-battery flashlight did just a few years ago. Often these new lights are powered by 3-volt lithium batteries that do cost exponentially far more than the As, Cs, and Ds that we grew up with, but they are worth it.
Surefire (18300 Mt. Baldy Circle, Dept, GWK, Fountain Valley, CA 92708; phone: 800-828-8809; on-line: www.sure-fire.com) has been an innovator in the flashlight industry. With the improvements in LEDs, there are more advances.
Surefire sent us one of their new models, the E2L, to test for this article. It is a good flashlight. It is light in weight. It puts out 30 lumens of light, and best yet, it has a useful run time of about 6 hours. This is far more than some similar flashlights that will die after just an hour and a half.
During our power failure, several flashlights got tested. This was one of them. It never failed us. The E2L Outdoorsman is just 5 inches long and weights 3.5 ounces. It takes two 123A lithium batteries. The retail price of the Outdoorsman is $129.
The 123A Lithium batteries have a 10-year shelf life, so I do suggest you buy a box and keep them on hand. At the Surefire website, you can order them for just $21 a dozen.
Essential Gear or eGear (171 Wells St., Dept. GWK, Greenfield MA 01301; phone: 413-772-8984; on-line: www.essential-gear.com) is always a good company to turn to for your lighting needs. Now you can turn to them for your emergency lighting and radio needs.
They have a really neat dynamo-powered flashlight with a 5-LED light and a radio. During our 8 days without power, someone was constantly using the eGear radio. The only thing that I see lacking on this piece of gear is that it only works on FM, and not on AM. There is also a red emergency flasher on the back of the light for signaling. Luckily we didn’t need this feature. The flashlight head swivels 180 degrees, allowing you to put light where you need it.
Another feature that came in handy was the magnet that is attached to the back of the flashlight. This can be used to attach it as a worklight on your vehicle, refrigerator or anything made of steel. This can allow you to work hands free with the light being focused where you need it most.
One push of the light button will turn on three of the LEDs. A second push will turn on two more, lighting all five LEDs, and a third push will turn the unit off.
A final very handy feature that we used during the storm was the Dynamo Lights ability to charge a cell phone. Along with the light comes a kit that will allow you to hook your cell phone up to the flashlight and crank away at the dynamo to charge your cell phone. We did use this feature until someone realized that we could charge my cell phone in my truck. That was easier.
Our sample came in bright yellow, but red and silver are also available. Carrie and her husband, Mike, stayed with us during the whole power outage. She asked me where she could get one of these lights with the radio. I told her to wait until Christmas because she’d be getting one. The retail price is just $35 and the one that I have has already paid for itself over and over again.
As an option there are AC and DC chargers also available.
Birchwood Casey (7900 Fuller Rd., Dept. GWK, Eden Prairie, MN 55344; phone: 800-328-6156;. on-line: www.birchwood-casey.com) is a company that most gunowners have been familiar with for years for their gun cleaning products and Shoot•N•See targets. Now, they have a gun storage case they call the CopperTect gun sleeves that offers long-lasting, built-in rust protection. They use an innovative Intercept Technology®. According to their literature, the special copper lining prevents rust and blocks mildew for 20 years, allowing for worry-free, long-term storage of firearms. Intercept is free of volatile chemicals and is environmentally safe.
I received a sleeve for a shotgun and was really surprised by its design. The material is very thin so it won’t protect the firearm against being dropped or banged, but then that isn’t its intent. There are padded cases available for that extra impact protection. The CopperTect preservation sleeves and padded cases are available for rifles, shotguns and handguns.
The padded gun cases feature a tough, non-absorbent 600D polyester exterior with 10mm of closed cell foam padding which will float guns weighing up to 12 pounds. Their thin, compact size allows them to fit easily into gun safes, hard sided cases, or even original firearm boxes.
The suggested retail price is $38 for the rifle and shotgun cases and $26 for the handgun case. The suggested retail price is $19 for the rifle and shotgun sleeves and $13 for the handgun sleeve. The reasonable price makes them available to everyone. I have several guns that I would like to put away in long term storage but haven’t until now known about a way to successfully do it.
A second product that we have from Birchwood Casey is what they call the Barrel Boss. This is basically a 12-gauge shotgun Cleaning Rod Combo Kit. It comes with a 36-inch fuzzy cleaning rod, a heavy-duty 36-inch one piece aluminum rod and a brass bristle brush. The entire kit is packaged in a durable plastic tube for easy storage and portability.
The fuzzy rod is threaded on both ends so you can switch the handle to the other end when the rod gets dirty. You can also thread the brass brush onto the end of the rod for extra cleaning power.
This is going to get a lot of use around my gun room. Use the brass brush and aluminum rod with Bore Scrubber solvent, then finish the job with the fuzzy rod for a clean barrel. I bet you know several people who would like this baby. The retail price of the Barrel Boss is $16.
We have already talked about recent flashlight innovations.
Streamlight (30 Eagleville Rd, Dept. GWK, Eagleville, PA 19403; phone: 610-631-0600; on-line: www.streamlight.com) is another company that produces specialty lights, and we have two of them to present to you today.
The first is their Twin-Task Rechargeable flashlight. This light has three blue LEDs, three green LEDs and one Xenon bulb. Each press of the switch progresses the light to the next stage.
The battery is a rechargeable 3 “4/5subC” size, and will run either set of LEDs for about 16 hours but will only run the Xenon bulb for about 50 minutes. With brightness you sacrifice time.
The light is 7.14 inches in length and weighs .66 pounds, which is about 10.5 ounces.
Streamlight has a “No Excuses” warranty and warrants the product from defect for life. The retail price of the Twin-Task is $84.95. Extra batteries are available at a cost of $15.
The next light that we have from Streamlight is their Task-Light. I found this light to be a bit unusual at first. It is fatter than most of the lights available today in its length, which is 4.5 inches.
When I opened it to put batteries in, I found a carrier that holds three AAA batteries. That isn’t a problem because I have a stock pile of AA, AAA, D, 9 Volt and the 123A batteries. Mostly, I have the AAA for different control units around the house. I’ve never used them in a flashlight before. Using the AAA batteries I consider a plus in the flashlight’s favor. They aren’t expensive and are easy to acquire.
This is another LED flashlight with two intensities. There is a three-stage button switch; one press for high; two for low power, and three presses for emergency strobe. On low power the light will last for about 45 hours, another good feature. Retail price of the Task-Light is $32.95. To me this seems to be a real bargain for its price.
Well, that wraps it up for this Christmas season. This should have given you some good ideas on possible gifts. I hope I was helpful. Don’t forget that when contacting any of these manufacturers to let them know that John at Gun Week sent you. Merry Christmas!