Tuesday, October 28, 2014

REVIEW: Chiappa Double Badger Folding .22 Long Rifle/410 Shotgun


Back in July, I wrote a review on Chiappa Firearms' new Double Badger 410/22 Magnum Folding Shotgun/Rifle. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was a great vehicle\aircraft-based survival gun, an off-the-grid small game-getter, and a great alternative to the increasingly expensive and hard to find Savage Model 24 Camp Combo guns. 

After being impressed with the .22 Magnum Double Badger, I soon became curious about the .22 Long Rifle version. Although I prefer the .22 Magnum over the .22 Long Rifle for survival purposes (read this to find out why), the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger could make a potentially great "woods-walkin" gun for off-the-grid small game hunting, plinking, etc.


Another distinct advantage the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger has over its .22 Magnum sibling is the ability to shoot ultra-quiet rounds such as Winchester's .22 CB Long Match ammo and CCI Quiet .22 Long Rifle ammunition. These rounds, when fired through the Double Badger's 19" barrel, are amazingly no louder than a pellet gun.

This feature makes the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger a great stealth small game hunting weapon in a survival situation, and if necessary, a great way to control pests at your off-the-grid property without annoying your neighbors.


Thanks to Chiappa, RMB was able to get hold of a .22 Long Rifle Double Badger and put it through its paces out in the Colorado wilderness......

The Gun

The .22 Long Rifle version of the Chiappa Double Badger is virtually identical to it's .22 Magnum sibling except for the difference in caliber. Since the guns are identical, this review will only focus on the performance of the Double Badger's .22 Long Rifle barrel. To check out the rest of the Double Badger's features, as well as a full review of its shotgun barrel, check out our July 2014 review of the .22 Magnum Double Badger.

The folded .22 Long Rifle/410 Double Badger, a spitting image of its 22 Magnum sibling:
(click to enlarge)

FIELD TEST


Trigger Pull

Right out of the box, the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger's trigger pull was unusually heavy. So I decided to drive over to Arkansas River Guns in Poncha Springs, Colorado and have them test its trigger pull to see just HOW heavy it was.

When they tested it, the trigger pull weighed a surprising 9.2 pounds. By contrast, the trigger pull on the .22 Magnum Double Badger used in the first review weighed just 3.5 pounds. Just for a reference, I asked Arkansas to test the the shotgun triggers of both guns. Both came in at exactly 5 pounds even.

My guess is that this .22 Long Rifle Double Badger had escaped factory quality control testing, because I've pulled the trigger on at least two other .22 Long Rifle Double Badgers (one at SHOT Show, and the other at a local sporting goods store) and both of their triggers were much lighter, more like the .22 Magnum Double Badger I reviewed.

Having such a heavy trigger pull, I knew it was going to be hard to extract maximum accuracy out of the Double Badger's .22 Long Rifle Barrel during testing, but I gave it my best shot anyway.

ACCURACY TESTING

Using a Nikon ProStaff 3 Laser Rangefinder to measure yardage, and a Champion Portable Folding Target holder, I went to a favorite wooded spot and tested the Double Badger's .22 Long Rifle barrel with a variety of ammo. All results are from a seated position on the ground, using my knee as a rest. Here are the results:

25 Yards

CCI Mini-Mag 36gr HP/Remington Yellow Jacket 33gr HP 
(click any photo to enlarge)




Winchester M-22 40gr Bulk Ammo LRN/Winchester Super-Speed 37gr HP

CCI Velocitor 40gr HP/CCI Mini-Mag 40 gr LRN

Remington Golden Bullets 36gr HP (these are both 5-shot groups, but the Visi-Shot target tended to obscure the small .22 holes when they were close together)


CCI Stinger 32gr HP:


Federal 550 Round Bulk Pack 36 gr HP:


RWS 40gr Subsonic HP/Ely Sport 40gr LRN:


Even with the heavy trigger pull, the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger showed exellent accuracy potential as evidenced by the quarter-sized group it produced with RWS\Dynamit Nobel 40 Grain Subsonic ammunition. With a lighter trigger pull, like the .22 Magnum Double Badger, I think it's possible that this gun could produce holes through holes at 25 yards using this ammo.

Among the high velocity ammo tested, results were fairly consistent with Winchester, Remington, and CCI ammo. The exception being any kind of Federal ammo and CCI Stingers, which the Euro-Centric Double Badger seemed to really dislike. In fact, I tried several types of Federal ammo, and the groups were very poor. I was also getting flyers with some types of otherwise accurate ammo, but I think it had more to do with the heavy trigger pull and an occasional mountain wind gust than with the ammo itself.

The Double Badger also seemed to shoot to the point of aim most accurately with Winchester ammo, followed closely by CCI Mini-Mag HPs and Remington Yellow Jackets.

50 Yards
(click any photo to enlarge)

At 50 yards is where the trigger pull became more detrimental to the Double Badger's accuracy. The groups opened up considerably with all ammo, though surprisingly, I still managed to get a nice group with CCI Mini-Mag 36gr HP. Here were the best results at 50 yards:

Remington Yellow Jacket 33gr HP/CCI Velocitor 40gr HP:


CCI Mini-Mag 40gr LRN/CCI Mini-Mag 36gr HP:


RWS Subsonic 40gr HP/Ely Sports 40gr LRN:



Ultra-Silent .22 Ammo

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, one of the big advantages of having a .22 Long Rifle barrel is the ability to shoot ultra-silent ammunition. This could come in handy in a survival situation because you'd be able to hunt small game quietly without scaring off other animals. It's also a feature that helps keep noise to a minimum when doing pest control on rural property, etc.

As I expected, both of these rounds offered their best accuracy at close range. My guess is that the range would be extended by 5-10 yards if this Double Badger didn't have such a heavy trigger pull on it.

CCI "Quiet" 40 Grain .22 Long Rifle 

20 Yards

25 Yards

Winchester .22 CB Long Match 29gr LRN:

30 Feet/10 Yards

75 Feet/25 Yards

Game Getter

Below are two rabbits that were harvested with the Double Badger. These were taken on private land. The landowner has a serious problem with rabbits destroying her crops, so she allows me to hunt these problem rabbits. 


The small rabbit was taken with the .22 Barrel using CCI .22 Long Rifle Quiet Segmented ammunition, and the larger one was taken with the shotgun barrel using Estate 2.5" #7.5 Birdshot ammunition. 

These rabbits provided good food, and their furs were harvested for bushcrafting purposes. The Double Badger proved to be an excellent game getter during my testing.

CONCLUSION

Unfortunately, the heavy trigger pull on the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger prevented me from discovering its ultimate accuracy potential. My guess is that this gun was a fluke and escaped Chiappa's quality control. Out of several Double Badgers I've held in both .22 Long Rifle and .22 Magnum versions, this is the first I've seen with a heavy trigger pull. Maybe other Double Badger owners can chime in and share their experiences?

Even with the heavy trigger pull, the accuracy I did see was very good. I believe that with a normal trigger pull, the .22 Long Rifle Double Badger would be a fantastic gun for off-the-grid small game hunting or as a survival weapon for those who prefer the .22 Long Rifle over the .22 Magnum.

Cheers, Jason

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Mora Pathfinder Knife UPDATE- Does the new revised Pathfinder stand up to the test?


As some of you may recall in our Mora Pathfinder Knife review last May, the Pathfinder I tested chipped and rolled its edge while chopping dead pine branches. Mora then sent a second sample for us to test, in case the first sample had a factory defect. The second sample also chipped/rolled it's edge.

Mora was understandably concerned, and set about revising the grind angle and Rockwell hardness of the edge on the Pathfinder knife. They promised to send us the improved version as soon as it became available. This new and revised Pathfinder arrived late last month, and after giving it a sound thrashing, here is what I found.......

Field Test

My goal was simple-- take this new revised Pathfinder out into the backcountry, and as Bob Ross would say, "Beat the devil out of it!" 

To test the edge and see how it would hold up, I found a Pinyon Pine tree with a bunch of dead, knarled lower branches and started hacking. It was a veritable chop-a-thon:

(click to enlarge)



The pile of branches chopped off with the Pathfinder. I cut through a total of 14 sections of various diameters:


Despite the fact that these branches were dry and very hard, the Pathfinder's edge suffered no damage:


In fact, the Pathfinder still had enough of an edge left to feather like a champ:


Conclusion

The engineers at Mora managed to fix not only the Pathfinder's chipping/rolling issue, but also pulled off a rather difficult task-- create a lightweight Scandi-grind knife that handles chopping like a survival knife, yet carves like a Mora.

Another plus is that the Pathfinder chops much better than you would think for its weight, and I attribute this to its scandi-grind, which bites into wood without much effort. In fact, the Pathfinder is actually fun to chop with (especially now that I know I'm not going to destroy the edge when doing so).

One thing I was worried about is that in fixing the chipping/rolling issue, Mora would have to compromise the Pathfinder's fine carving ability. Not so! This new version carves as well as the first production Pathfinder. Great job Mora!


Now that the Pathfinder's edge is finally up to snuff, where does it leave this interesting new design in the grand scheme of things? Personally, I love it. It has the excellent carving capability of the Mora Black Carbon, yet can baton larger pieces of wood, chop limbs and boughs for shelter/firewood duties, and at nearly 7" long, is large enough to give you a fighting chance if attacked by a dangerous predator.

What don't I love? As I mentioned in the previous review, I'm not a big fan of the Pathfinder's sheath, nor it's hefty price tag ($90 plus dollar street price).

Mora, if you're listening, sell this knife with the same survival sheath that comes as an option with the Mora Black Carbon Bushcraft Survival knife, drop the price by $10-$20 and you'll have a smash hit, I promise.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

RMB's "How to Survive with a Multi-Tool" in this month's issue of Backpacker Magazine



NOTE-- This particular issue is special to me, since this was the same knife my dad gifted to me as a starry-eyed kid (a Victorinox Swiss Army Camper model), and which ultimately inspired me to do what I do today. Unfortunately, my dad has passed on, so he's not here to see this, but I thank him for the good times we shared in the outdoors. 

Cheers, Jason

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Larch Tree Pitchwood Necklace

One of our readers in the UK was inspired by our "An easy way to find Fatwood in the Rockies and Beyond...." to find pitchwood in his native woods. He ended up finding it in the knot of a Larch Tree and made his own pitchwood necklace. Check out his post on Twitter.

Very cool!





(photo used with the permission of Woodsman Wales)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Nature of the Mountain Man

"Born into every generation are restless men with feet that will not stand still, eyes that search for distant mountains, hearts that long to go where the scene is new and the promise of adventure alive. The possibility of danger only whets the appetite." -George Laycock

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

LONG TERM UPDATE: Leatherman Charge AL Multi-Tool- The Do-It-All Pocket Companion



It's been almost two and a half years since I reviewed Leatherman's Charge AL Multi-Tool. How has the Charge held up? Brilliantly. In fact, I like it so much that it has become my main EDC tool. In spite of the fact that I have a large collection of high quality folders, I still find myself grabbing the Charge over my other blades when headed off into the unknown. Why? Simply put, the Charge is the best of both worlds-- a convenient one-hand opening folding knife with a pocket clip, and a full size multi-tool, all in one.

The Leatherman Charge 2 1/2 years later: Well used but still going strong, the Charge AL has been a fantastic pocket companion:


Surprising Portability

Now don't get me wrong, when compared to a typical EDC folder, the Charge is definitely no lightweight, weighing a rather hefty 8.3 ounces (about 3x the weight of a typical EDC folder). The key to the Charge being such an excellent EDC tool, is that despite its weight, its excellent deep-carry pocket-clip makes the Charge feel almost as light as a standard EDC folder when carried in the pocket.

The Charge AL sitting comfortably inside the pocket of my 511 Pants:

Infinitely Handy, Extremely Versatile

I've found the various tools of the Charge to be so handy that I feel practically naked without them. In fact, I misplaced the Charge last year for about a week and practically went into withdrawal until I found it! Since I spend the majority of my time living off-the-grid or field testing on private property and in national forests, I've found the Charge's tools to be indispensable when I don't have a larger toolbox close by.

PLIERS/WIRE CUTTERS- The pliers and wirecutters have been more useful than I ever imagined. I've used them for pulling fish hooks, lifting hot pot lids during campfire cookouts, performing emergency repairs on the Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Mystery Van, pruning pieces from edible plants and a myriad of other things.

FILE- The diamond-sided and course-sided files have been used many times to file off burrs and sharp edges on everything from the corner of my aluminium backpack frame to the tip of the front sight on one of my wiilderness rifles, saving me from lots of cuts and scrapes. The diamond-sided file has come in handy for sharpening my axes when I don't have access to my axe sharpening stones.

SAW- The saw has been used to make multiple shelter poles, and to harvest pitchwood knots when my larger folding saw was unavailable.

SCREWDRIVERS- All of the screwdrivers get used on a regular basis, including making sight adjustments on wilderness survival guns I'm testing.

SCISSORS- The scissors proved tough enough to cut through some thick leather I used to make a field pouch for my ceramic sharpening stone. They also come in handy for cutting loose threads, trimming nails in the field, etc.

MAIN BLADE and SERRATED BLADE- The 154CM on the main blade still amazes me with its ease of sharpening and edge holding. It has also proven to be extremely tough, because in spite of some very rough use, the edge has never rolled or chipped- great job Leatherman! The 420HC Serrated blade has been great for cutting through cardboard, and pulled double duty as a crude potato peeler to scrape edible roots clean.

CAN OPENER- When the 2013 Colorado Flood Disaster hit us, the Charge came in especially handy. All the mountain roads leading to town were blocked for over a week by boulders, running streams, and debris, cutting me off from civilization and leaving me stranded for the duration at a friend's mountain cabin. Most of my tools and equipment were at another location, so the Charge was pretty much the only real tool I had on me. When my fresh food supplies dwindled, I had to dig into my emergency supply of canned food. The Charge's can opener was a Godsend! I also once used the can opener as an awl to punch a new hole in my leather belt during a backpacking trip.

CONCLUSION

What else can I say? The Charge AL's superb pocket clip, rugged durability, and "pocket tool kit" abilities make it one of the best EDC/portable preparedness tools on the market today. Having a combination one-handed folder and a full-sized multi-tool with me at all times has been more handy than I could have imagined. In fact, I didn't know how much I'd miss the Charge's multi-tool functionality until I misplaced it for a week and nearly freaked out!

The only drawback is that the Charge is thicker and heavier than a typical folding blade. Even with its excellent pocket clip (which makes it feel light in the pocket for its weight), it's still no Gerber EZ Out or SOG Flash II. Still, the Charge AL's advantages far outweigh any of its disadvantages, and it is without a doubt the most handy and complete EDC tool I've ever owned.

4.5 out of 5 Stars ( Highly recommended)

For more information visit Leatherman's site at www.leatherman.com/5.html

Thursday, September 25, 2014

More Fall colors

Hello readers, hope you are well. Here is a self portrait on top of Kenosha Pass near Grant, Colorado. Beautiful Fall colors there. Cheers, Jason