Winchester Blind Side Waterfowl Loads
We’ve been shooting these waterfowl loads at ducks and geese for many years. They feature stacked Hex Steel Shot and a diamond-cut wad to produce a deadly shotgun shell. We’ve used the 12-gauge and 20-gauge models in 2¾-, 3- and 3½-inch sizing and from size BB through size 3 shot. We’ve always experienced consistent performance with these shotgun shells and they provide substantial knockdown power.
Henry Rifles All-Weather .45-70 Government Side Gate
Henry now makes a side-loading-gate version of its popular All-Weather .45-70. The All-Weather is a lever-action rifle built for the harsh climate conditions we often face in Alaska. Henry chose a different route to make the All-Weather less susceptible to weather. Instead of stainless steel, Henry chose to use a low-gloss, hard chrome plating on all metal surfaces (except springs and sights) and a durable, industrial-grade coating on the hardwood stock. It comes in two calibers: .30-30 and .45-70. We tested the .45-70. Each comes with adjustable semi-buckhorn rear and brass-bead front sights. The receivers are drilled and tapped for a scope, and both come with sling swivel studs. We mounted a Skinner Optics 1-6×24 scope mounted to the .45-70 with a Skinner Sights Picatinny Rail with Integral Peep. These rifles can be loaded through the magazine tube, or through the side gate. The rifles come with a black, ventilated, rubber recoil pad. In .45-70, this is a good match for moose and bear to moderate ranges, and is a fantastic choice for bear protection. Made in the USA.
Black Hills Ammunition Black Gold .270 Winchester 130 Grain Hornady SST
The Hornady SST (Super Shock Tip) bullet does the trick on blacktail deer and we think this 130-grain load is well suited for hunters of all ages and sizes. When this bullet strikes an animal, the polymer tip pushes into the lead core, causing it to expand and create a large wound channel. These bullets shoot flat and leave the muzzle at 2,950 fps with an energy of 2,512 ft-lbs.
Ruger Redhawk .44 Magnum Revolver
This 6-shot revolver with a 4.2-inch barrel has been our primary bear protection for better than a decade and we can recognize that the handgun is reliable, well-made, impervious to the elements, has a smooth trigger pull, and is built to handle magnum loads. The revolver is made from stainless steel with extra metal in the top strap, sidewalls and barrel-mounting areas which provides increased strength and rigidity to the frame, while the cylinder is locked into the frame at the front, rear and bottom, producing dependable and reliable operation. Thankfully we’ve never had to fire this revolver at a bear, but have spent enough time practicing with it at the range and carrying it into the field to appreciate that it is a quality firearm.
Browning Maxus II Shotgun
Longtime Associate Editor, Scott Haugen, has tested many shotguns over the years, and his new favorite is the Browning Maxus II. Adding to the established quality of the Maxus line performance, the Maxus II offers newly designed ergonomic features that enhance quick shouldering and precise follow-up shots. It’s easy to clean, and the dependable, gas operating system along with high-performance chokes make it a winner, wherever you hunt in Alaska.
TC Arms R55 All Weather .22 Long Rifle
We’ve been shooting this gun for about 15 years and think it’s worthy of recognition. It’s a quality .22 that shoots tight groups, is reliable, has remained corrosion free after many hours in the field and thousands of rounds, and continues to be among our first choices when hunting snowshoe hare, grouse and ptarmigan. The All Weather model that we shoot features a stainless-steel receiver and barrel (20-inch) a composite stock and a sturdy 5-shot mag. Our tester taught his boys to shoot with this gun. It’s no longer in production by TC, but is a quality rifle should you come across one for sale.
Please take a look at our other Editors’ Choice Awards