Mossberg FLEX System: When One Gun Is Enough

I’ve seen magazine ads for the Mossberg FLEX system for sometime now, but have not had the opportunity to kick the tires, so to speak, until now.

The Mossberg FLEX system allows you to swap stocks, grips and butt pads quickly and easily.

The Mossberg FLEX system allows you to swap stocks, grips and butt pads quickly and easily.

If you’re not familiar with the Mossberg FLEX, the idea is a system of interchangeable parts, like stocks, grips, buttpads and forends, that allow you to quickly and easily reconfigure a rifle or shotgun. There are plenty of good reasons you might want to do this.

  • Seasonal clothing changes. If your shotgun or rifle fits you perfectly in the cold months when you wear heavy clothing, it might be a bit long in the stock during the summer t-shirt months.
  • You may want to share the same rifle or shotgun with another person who requires a different length of pull than you – a child for instance?
  • Maybe you want to use one gun for hunting and home defense. Why not mount a solid stock for hunting outings and a collapsible for home defense use?
Butt pads are a piece of cake to swap. A button on the bottom of the stock releases one, so you can add a different size.

Butt pads are a piece of cake to swap. A button on the bottom of the stock releases one, so you can add a different size.

Before I saw the system I had hesitations about the about how solid this the mounts would be. After all, the stock is the focal point for heavy recoil forces in shotguns and rifles. At the recent Professional Outdoor Media Conference (POMA) I had the opportunity to swap some stocks and shoot.

I found the locking system to be rock solid and here’s why. Mossberg uses zinc fixtures on both male and female sides of the locking mechanism between the stock and receiver. The locking mechanism is similar and appearance and function to AR style barrel extension and bolt carrier the way the two pieces locked together. A semicircular lever lifts out of the stock itself and twists 90° to release the mechanism. A quick bump with your hand and the two halves come apart. It’s a tight fit and I could detect no “play” at all between the receiver and stock.

You can also swap the butt pad for different sizes with a simple button release on the bottom of the stock. The butt pads are designed to snap in place and are available in small, medium and large sizes. Mossberg also offers different sizes of stocks blanks so you actually have two ways to customize. First you choose the stock you want, then select the desired butt pad. Couldn’t be easier.

Mossberg makes the FLEX system for 12 gauge 500 series shotguns, 7.62mm and 5.56mm MVP bolt action magazine fed rifles, 20 gauge shotguns and now FLEX-22 rifles.

Cool stuff.

Winchester Ammunition’s Long Beard XR: Turkey Hunting or Home Defense?

Note how the shot column is standing on it's own as a result of the "shot lock" resin.

Winchester Ammunition Long Beard XR: Note how the shot column is standing on it’s own as a result of the “shot lock” resin.

While at the professional outdoor media conference range day I had the opportunity to check out some new shot shell loads from Winchester Ammunition. Winchester’s Long Beard XR is designed to create a tighter pattern at longer distances, resulting in twice the number of pellets in a 10 inch circle at distances up to 60 yards, according to the company.

Here’s what’s interesting about Winchester Long Beard XR: It uses a “shot lock” resin to bond all of the shot pellets together into a solid plug. As the load is fired, the resin disintegrates and turns to dust, leaving the shot pellets to fly on their own. The purpose isn’t that the pellets are bonded together in flight but rather that there’s no airspace between pellets at lift-off time.

This is a target set at 60 yards. While the point of aim is a bit off the neck and head, note the density of the shot pattern in the body.

This is a target set at 60 yards. While the point of aim is a bit off the neck and head, note the density of the shot pattern in the body.

In a normal shot shell the pellets are just piled on top of each other and only held in place by the wad and walls of the shot shell. When you fire it, the pellets get all smashed around as they are pushed to supersonic velocity from a standstill. This somewhat violent process creates mis-shaped pellets. Pellets flying out of round tend to spread out more rapidly, thereby creating a larger pattern. Because physics and aerodynamics.

The shot lock resin fills the air space, so the sudden acceleration doesn’t create a mashing effect. The pellets don’t get all squashed and therefore fly straighter in a tighter pattern.

So what happens when the pellets stay round?

The Winchester Ammunition folks set up targets at ranges of 25, 50 and even 60 yards. As you can see the patterns were perfectly usable for turkey hunting all the way up to 60 yards.

Winchester Ammunition Long Beard XR was designed for turkey hunters and is currently available in 12 gauge shot sizes of 4, 5 and 6.

I have to think this might also make an interesting home defense load for those concerned about over penetration inside. The 4, 5 and 6 shot sizes could help the penetration issue, while a tighter pattern might reduce risk of stray pellets. I’ll test this out against simulated walls soon and share the results.

You can find Winchester Ammunition Long Beard XR at Cabelas.

EOTech 300 AAC Blackout Holographic Site – Coming Soonish!

EOTech 300 AAC Blackout XPS2-300

The EOTech XPS2-300 features two 1 MOA dots positioned inside a 65MOA circular reticle.

We had the pleasure of spending the past few days at the 2013 Professional Outdoor Media Association annual conference in Columbia, South Carolina. One of the joys of the annual POMA gathering is spending quality time with corporate members like EOTech. Away from the bedlam of SHOT Show or the NRA Annual Meeting, there is opportunity for lot’s of questions. Even better, the range day event allows more leisurely trial of new products.

One of this year’s range day highlights was the new EOTech .300 AAC Blackout holographic sight. On the outside, it shares primary features with other XPS models.

EOTech SM2-300 reticle

The EOTech 300 AAC Blackout reticle looks something like this.

For example, it uses a sideways mounted CR123 battery. There are two reasons for this. The sideways mount helps to shorten the overall length of the optic – handy for AR platforms with limited rail space. This is especially important if you also want to mount  a magnifier or backup iron sights. The hidden benefit of the sideways mounted battery is increased resistance to adverse recoil effects. As the rifle fires, the battery does not move back and forth against the battery contacts. The result? Longer life and improved reliability. Clever.

The XPS2-300 model also features rear mounted on/off and brightness buttons. This is primarily for true ambidextrous operation. Windage and elevation adjustments are 1/2 MOA, or about 1/2 inch per click at 100 yards.

The real deal with the EOTech 300 AAC Blackout is the multi-dot reticle. Like most other EOTech models, there is a 1 MOA center dot. With the XPS2-300, there is a second dot below the first. This is intended for an additional range zero with the 300 AAC Blackout cartridge. The idea is that you choose either subsonic or supersonic 300 Blackout loads and establish two range points corresponding to the two dots. For example, most 300 Blackout subsonic rounds, if zeroed at 50 yards, will have the lower dot corresponding to 100 yards. In all likelihood, supersonic rounds will match the top dot at 50 yards also and depending on your specific load, you can establish a range that corresponds to the lower dot. Or, with the wide variety of 300 AAC Blackout loads, you could zero the upper dot for your choice of supersonic load, then determine the range for your choice of subsonic load sighted with the lower dot. This will be a fun optic to experiment with if you’re a reloader.

The EOTech models for .223 / 5.56mm also have a 7 yard aim point. This is where the bottom post intersects the 65MOA circle. This aim point should also apply for the 300 AAC Blackout optic as there is minimal trajectory influence at just 7 yards – most of the difference between aim point and point of impact is a result of the height of the center dot over the barrel. We weren’t able to test this, but it should be pretty darn close.

We’re anxious to get one of these in so we can experiment with a variety of both subsonic and supersonic loads and report on the reticle function. According to EOTech, the unit will be out sometime in the late spring / early summer of 2013.

More to follow.

Gun Review: Crosman’s Rogue ePCP .357 Airgun: Best Zombie Gun Ever?

The Beautiful Beast: Crosman's Rogue .357 Air Rifle

The Beautiful Beast: Crosman’s Rogue .357 Air Rifle

We’re on our way back from the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Conference. Yeah, we know, it’s amazing that someone apparently considers us professional. Our perceived professionalism, or lack thereof, is hardly news. The real news is that POMA has been exposed as a secret Zombie Apocalypse Preparation Organization. We realize the POMA acronym is not easily identifiable as a secret Zombie society, but the proof is in the brain pudding.

You see, a high point of the conference agenda was the Range and POMA Camps day. Firearms, hunting, optics, accessory, archery, camping, and fishing manufacturers set up their wares at the Bountiful Lions Club shooting range and a nearby park for writers, outdoor television producers, on-air personalities and others to try out the latest and greatest in gear.

Perfect Rogue .357 Targets

Perfect Rogue .357 Targets

Sounds innocent enough. What about the Zombies? Being astute and observant reporters, we quickly noticed an underlying theme that identified nearly all the new products as “Zombie optimized.” The cornucopia of fun gear included new red dot optics from AimpointMossberg’s new Modern Sporting Rifles in .223/5.56, Hawke Optics crossbow and rifle scopes, GoalZero solar collection and storage gear, and the new Browning 1911-22. That alone says “Zombie Apocalypse preparation.”

The dead giveaway however was the Crosman / Benjamin Rogue ePCP .357 caliber air gun. Yes, you heard that right. .357 air gun. We first saw this specimen of anti-zombie technology and the product expo where Crosman guru Laura briefed us on the Rogue .357’s capabilities:

  • .357 caliber
  • Compressed air powered
  • Velocity up to 1,000 fps
  • Current projectile options in 95 grain, 140 grain, and 170 grain!?!
  • Electronically controlled eVALVE™ technology with LCD display to regulate precise air pressure and maximize reserve chamber efficiency
  • Optics mounting rings
  • Optional bipod
  • Bolt action with 6 round clip
The EPiC Console

The EPiC Console

Impressive features fur sure, but what really got our attention was how this beautiful beast shot. Silent and deadly. We took on 50 yard targets with ease using the 95 grain projectiles. The real surprise was not it’s deadliness, but it’s silence. Wow. Stealth capability included. We all know from movies and AMC’s The Walking Dead that Zombies are attracted by noise, so if you have to take out some of the more aggressive undead, the Rogue .357 is the perfect way to do it. As insurance, the Rogue .357 is one large and scary looking rifle, so it will serve well as a club for last ditch scenarios.

The compressed air reservoir is charged with a standard scuba tank but we’re confident that we could concoct a manually operated air pump when, not if, civilization ends and scuba tanks are in short supply.

We never could get Laura to admit that this gun was specifically designed for Zombie Apocalypse Survival but we all know the real truth, don’t we?

You can buy the Crosman Rogue .357 Air Rifle here.

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