HEVI-Choke and HEVI Magblend loads

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After many years of turkey hunting with low-end chokes, I finally wanted to upgrade turkey chokes on my classic Beretta AL-391. Many guns have come before it and many after, but for whatever reason, I am partial to the AL-391 in all outdoor situations. Like any other outdoor/hunting equipment, choke options are plenty and they all cost money. As a matter of fact, even in my 37 years, I have seen the hunting industry develop into a pattern like all other retail industries. Heck, I guess that’s what led me to wanting to do clear-cut, simple product reviews for the average person. Underneath all the options, marketing gimmicks, celebrities, etc… there has to be true, quality products out there.  Sometimes I laugh at it and other times I am grateful for it. But options are as plentiful as fashion designs and the best media and marketers often lead the pack regardless if their product is really the best.

Okay, okay… so back to choosing a turkey choke. So if I am honest with you, I was already leaning toward a particular brand. Thanks to many friends in the industry and the reports I was hearing on a certain turkey load, I was ready to buy. So a bit on this new turkey load and various field reports. HEVI-Shot Magnum Blend shotshells were proving to have awesome patterns down range. Designed with an equal mix of size #5, #6 and #7 shot; or their newest addition an equal mix of size #4, #5 and #7; and launching at higher speeds than the older HEVI-13® loads, this could create a devastating lethality zone. HEVI-Shot touts an average of 294 pellets in 10'' circle at 40 yards.

That pellet count had me sold at “Hello”. Next, I debated on buying a choke from the same company or reaching out to another manufacturer, but after a short ponder, it just made sense. After all, the results I was hearing included the use of HEVI-chokes as well. “Manufactured from aircraft quality 17-4 stainless steel, they’re guaranteed for a lifetime.  Available in 12 and 20 gauge, in ported and non-ported versions, HEVI-Choke™ choke tubes help you squeeze every bit of performance from your HEVI-Shot® ammunition.”

Once mail day occurred, I was anxious to send it downrange, I set up 36” targets at 40 and 50 yards ensuring most if not all pellets would be accommodated for. Choke installation was easy, as the choke comes with a heavily knurled fore-end and required no wrench.

RESULTS RESULTS RESULTS. Bottom line, this choke produced just as I had heard. I was beyond impressed and there can be no fancy way of explaining it other than in two pictures and with a few words.

At 40 yards shooting HEVI-shots Magnum Blend (5,6,7) load 250 pellets were within a 10-inch circle

At 50 yards I had 211 pellets within a 10-inch circle.

There may very well be other amazing choke/load combinations out there, but fact is my wallet doesn’t go that deep. Thankfully, I lucked out on my first purchase this time! After this pattern testing, I cannot wait for turkey season. This is a massive improvement from previous load/choke patterns I have used and without question I would recommend this set up on any turkey hunters gun!

SilencerCo Omega Suppressor

Truthfully, I have had this suppressor for several months now. I wanted to give a thorough effort using it, checking adaptability to various hosts and wait to see SiCo's customer support.

Let me first brag about the specs of this can since when it first came out everyone was immediately impressed with what it offered. SiCo touted an impressive combination “of all the best features from our .30 caliber centerfire rifle silencer lines in one silencer – shortest, lightest, quietest, most versatile, full auto and magnum rated with an integral recoil reducing Anchor Brake.” Once I read this myself and since I was in the market for a .762 can, well…… what can I say? I bit!

 

FEATURES:

SiCo used titanium, stainless steel, and Stellite in tandem for best in class results across the board. From the shop, each Omega comes with a 5/8×24 direct thread mount, a fast attach Active Spring Retention (ASR) mount complete with a Specwar™ ASR muzzle brake, and an Anchor Brake (from their Harvester Suppressor design).  I myself as well as many in the suppressor community were a little concerned that SiCo chose to use the ASR mount rather than their more recent MAAD mount adapter featured (as seen with the SiCo Saker suppressor). As a matter of fact any suppressor blog on the internet had users debating why SiCo would make such a decision and that it would prevent usability with MAAD system. Various rumors spread across the internet, some positive and some negative, but none the less they chose their older ASR mount.

One thing that should be mentioned is SiCos barrel length recommendations per caliber for this suppressor. Some say SiCo had to sacrifice somewhere either in durability or in weight. Either way, it has the amazing SiCo lifetime warranty that in personal opinion is bar none the best I have ever seen or dealt with. So regarding the barrel lengths. The Omega is rated down to 10" barrels for .223 Remington / 5.56 NATO, 16" barrels for .308 Winchester 7.62 NATO, and 20" barrels for .300 Win Mag. For some people this seems to have been a real deal breaker. That was not the case for me based on my platform preferences

 

SPECS:

Calibers: 5.7mm - .300WM

Diameter: 1.56”

Weight: 14 oz.

Length: 7.09”

Muzzle dB: .300BLK - 119.5 dB, 5.56mm – 130.1 dB, .308WIN – 133.9dB

 

ADAPTABILITY:

In addition to its impressive specs, the Omega’s design allows for maximum user adaptability and convenience. Several comments by various publics across the web have stated they think the anchor break is UGLY! Sometimes I feel so as well and other times I like it. Mind you the anchor brake serves its purpose. Regardless, this suppressor is packed with options that can be swapped out for user preference. It came with a direct thread mount (very rarely included in purchases) that functions flawlessly on my long range target rifles. User friendly design allows for fairly quick parts (mounts, endcaps) swapping. I also purchased flat endcaps for both 7.62 and 5.56 just to address any visual complaints I may have had and to open up can flexibility. Truthfully, while the 7.62 endcap functions great on a 5.56 host, I was able to reduce just shy of an addition decibel when using the 5.56 endcap on a 5.56 host. I am very pleased with the adaptability of this can. In my personal opinion adaptability is one of the most critical features when purchasing a suppressor. It keeps the hassle and wallet expense at a minimum.

 

PERFORMANCE:

Before I mention my opinion on performance, I have to give a kudos to SiCo’s customer service as I mentioned earlier. The only sadness I had once I took the suppressor home was I noticed the ASR mount would come loose occasionally. I contacted SiCo and without hesitation they sent me a new mount and prepaid shipping label to send the faulty one back! No issues at all with the new ASR mount.

Decibel Reduction results, huh? Please do not get me wrong. I know there are as many options in the suppressor world as there are ice cream options at Baskin Robbins. I have shot many of them and there are some amazing products being offered by some standup companies. Now saying that, the Omega suppressor simply broke the mold in terms of sheer performance. Especially, when you bring in weight and length factors. My dB readings came back with the following averages.

Custom 5.56 AR15 (18 inch barrel) shooting a myriad of 55gr loads – 131.3 muzzle dB average

Custom 5.56 AR15 (16 inch barrel) shooting a myriad of 55gr loads – 130.9 muzzle dB average

Happy, Happy, Happy. I own several SiCo cans just because they never let me down. I recommend taking a hard look at any SiCo products for individuals looking to add to their suppressor line-up or just break into the game!

Theis Single Clip Holster (Tuckable)

Working out of a one-man shop in Arkansas, and pronounced "Tice", Theis Holsters are handcrafted with quality and crafstmanship in mind.  Theis Holsters' website states "each holster is custom-made to perfectly fit your gun. My holsters are kydex with a leather backing. The kydex holds the firearm firmly against the leather while offering you a much more comfortable way to carry your firearm with the leather against your body." After reading this description, I decided to order one for our new G42.

Customers are offered options including standard cowhide leather backer or premium leather backer. The premium leather is treated and hand rubbed making it sweat resistant. It's smooth on both sides, making it pleasant to wear against your body. Since it's a little thinner, it molds to your body quicker, and shortens the break in time. In short, I went with the standard cowhide and due to preference, I chose the IWB tuckable holster, a preferred carry method of mine.

The Inside-The-Waistband (IWB) single clip, is tuckable and designed to be worn around the 4 to 5 o'clock position for optimal comfort. The leather backer is matched to the size of your firearm. The holster comes with a heavy duty powder coated metal belt clip to hold your holster firmly in place. There is no doubt it's a heavy duty clip - excellent quality! If you need clips to fit a larger belt, when ordering you can just note it in the special instructions. The cant and ride height of your weapon is fully adjustable with this model. It should be noted that the Single Clip holster is one of Theis' early designs. It was designed for small 380 and 9mm pistols.  It's tuckable and you can adjust the cant and ride height. Theis Holsters offer full slide coverage option for individuals that prefer this, a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a lifetime warranty.

One of the most impressive offerings from Theis Holsters was a simple, yet invaluable email received as my order was shipped. This email states:

"I just finished your order and it is shipping 1st class USPS, I hope you enjoy it ... your holster will squeak until it gets broke in good, but don't worry it will totally stop! You can put a little baby or talcum powder on it around the clip area and where the kydex meets the leather from time to time to help stop the squeaking. You can also use any commercial leather conditioner. Apply liberally to the front side only...

The retention level is different for everyone so I try to go middle of the road where it firmly holds firearm in place while allowing you to draw your firearm comfortably from inside your waistband. If it is a too tight, twist the grip to the right or left as you start to draw to see if that releases it from the holster. It will loosen up a little as it breaks in, it will help to draw it 20 to 30 times to let it start to groove and mate with the leather and kydex. Depending on the gun it may shave a little kydex during the break in period but this is normal nothing to worry about. The ejection ports of some guns are a lot sharper than the blue dummy guns I use. If you just want to loosen it up a little put the gun in a thick sock and push it into the holster and leave it overnight...."

The email goes on to talk about adjusting the retention level with detailed instruction, as well as numerous other potential concerns, design questions and just about anything else a cutomer might be wondering.

One particular statement that impressed me was:

"When you get your holster you will find a few marks on the leather where a gun has been! Unlike a pretty new one you purchased in a store that was made and packaged by someone in china. That is because I put your holster on and stuck a gun in it! I drew it and re-holstered several times. Making sure it works like it is supposed to. That is the difference in a truly handmade holster, I do them all that way. Not only because my name is on it, but because your life may depend on it!"

While in fact this is a significant amount of information in an email, it offers reassurance that you're dealing with a reputable company who cares about the satisfaction of their customers. After significant usage of this holster, the leather has formed magnificently with body contour and the pistol.  Retention level has also stayed fairly similar to the initial level when the holster arrived day one.  Originally, I had concerns about switching holster styles and this particular setup. It has proved to be incredibly comfortable with the G42. I can wear it all day, tucked/untucked and with an array of clothing styles without noticing the firearm's presence. 

It's obvious that the holster market is flooded as are many consumer markets with an often absurd number of options to choose from. However, after having the holster in hand, completing a solid break-in period and knowing the gentleman behind the name, it's no doubt Theis Holsters are a great option for individuals searching for the right holster.