Friday, November 21, 2014

3 Years of Rocky Mountain Bushcraft, Upcoming Giveways


Hey friends, hope you are well! Come December 1st, it will be three years since Rocky Mountain Bushcraft first began. I originally started RMB as a hobby to write about products and techniques that interested me, never expecting it to grow the way it did.

Thanks to your support, it has become so much more. Leah and I are honored and humbled to still be doing this-- thank you!

As a way of saying thanks, I am setting up giveaways with the folks at Kelty Backpacks, Mora/Industrial Revolution, and Lansky Sharpeners to give you guys some great stuff.

Thank you all again for your wonderful support and hope you have a great rest of your week.

Cheers!

Jason and Leah

PS- Please make sure to stop by the Rocky Mountain Bushcraft Facebook page and "Like" us!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wintergreen Northern Wear set to reopen under original owners- UPDATED


Ely, Minnesota-based Wintergreen Northern Wear set to reopen this winter

As some of you may recall, RMB reviewed some of Wintergreen's fantastic US-made winter outdoor clothing last year. After spending time testing them, we became a huge fan of these durable, well-designed clothes. It wasn't long after we posted our review that Wintergreen abruptly shuttered its doors, leaving many people to wonder about the fate of this legendary Minnesota brand.


After a year of being out of business, Wintergreen has been revived by its original owners Paul and Susan Schurke, who plan to reopen Wintergreen sometime in the next few months. Check out the full story here.

You can also follow the progress of the reopening over at Paul and Susan Schurke's Wintergreen Dogsled Facebook page


Wintergreen's new website- http://www.wintergreenoriginals.com

Cheers, Jason

Monday, November 17, 2014

TV Guide Special Report: The Dangerous Side of Survival TV


"If this (Survival) TV craze was about the medical profession, people would be in jail." - Cody Lundin

This article from TV Guide contains shocking revelations about the biggest survival TV shows on the air over the last 10 years. TV Guide managed to get quotes from some of the biggest survival celebrities in the business. What they say is rather disturbing.

As some of you know, we have written extensively on this subject. It appears that reality show producers are pushing things more towards a gladiator-style mentality, as opposed to good survival-related programming.

LINK TO TV GUIDE ARTICLE

LINK to RMB's coverage of Cody Lundin being fired by the Discovery Channel

So what do you think? Are reality TV producers playing on a slippery slope, or do you think they are moving in the right direction?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

REVIEW: The Council Tool Boy's Axe - US Forest Service edition, is back!


Ok readers, here's a deal you won't want to pass up. As some of you may recall, Council Tool released a limited number of US Forest Service edition (FSS) Boy's Axes last year (check out our review here). 

For the money, this was just about the best axe on the market if you were looking for a full-sized, traditional Boy's Axe. The reason being is that these axes were spec'd by the US Forest Service, and included improvements over Council's Standard Boy's Axe such as an upgraded handle, plastic wedge (more stable and durable than Council's crack-prone aluminum wedges), better edge profile, as well as special attention to the alignment and handle grain.


Since there were only about 50-100 of these axes available at the time, they flew off the shelves and sold out in less than a week after we posted our review.


For those who weren't able to grab one of these excellent axes last time, the FSS Boy's Axe is back, this time, sporting a Velvicut handle!

The Axe


The return of the FSS Axe can be attributed to the Omaha Knife Company. They convinced Council to do another run of the FSS Axes.

In negotiating this deal, Omaha requested better handles, taking note of the issues Council had with some of their original FSS Axe handles, many of which did not seem to be within Forest Service specs (sideways handle grains, poor alignment, etc).

The result is that new FSS Axes now come with Council Tool's premium Velvicut line handles. Council Tool's Velvicut handles are some of the best axe handles on the market, so this is a huge score for fans of the FSS.

FSS AXE OPTIONS



Omaha decided to give buyers a bunch of options when buying the new FSS Axe. In order to to keep the cost of the axe down, the handles are left unfinished. For $59.00, you get a basic FSS Axe with Velvicut handle and factory edge (Forest Service requests their axes to be unsharpened, so they can be customized for the job and environment).

The basic handle has been sanded at the factory and is ready to use, but is not as smooth or has as perfect grain direction as a regular Velvicut Axe. For an additional $10, you can get a hand-picked handle with a smoother finish and better grain direction. (EDITED: The Velvicut handles on the FSS Axe are in fact standard Velvicut handles and fully sanded. The only difference is that they are not coated in Linseed Oil at the factory.)

Our test unit was a "hand picked" model, and had near perfect alignment and grain direction/tightness:


Another excellent option is Omaha's free sharpening. For no charge, Omaha will sharpen your FSS Axe with a mirror polished, razor-sharp edge. I was frankly surprised at how sharp my test sample was, easily cutting through paper like my sharpest Mora knives. Omaha assured me that this is how all FSS Axes with the optional sharpening will come. 



SHEATH OPTIONS

The FSS Axes do not come equipped with sheaths. However, Omaha has a couple of options if you want to order it with a sheath. The cheaper option is a universal Council Tool buckle-style leather sheath, shown below:


At $16, the sheath is not on par with a custom-fitted sheath like on Gransfors Bruks axes, but seems very well made and durable. The only issue I had was that the strap didn't have enough holes to adjust it tight to the FSS's head. I had to punch a hole in the strap to get it to fit right. If you don't have a leather hole puncher, just lay the strap on a 2x4 and drive a small to medium sized nail through it to punch a hole.

For $25, Omaha will sell you a Velvicut leather sheath, which is the same sheath used on Council's Velvicut "Bad Axe" Boy's Axe and a perfect fit on the FSS:


FIELD TEST

I was curious to see how the FSS Axe felt with the new Velvicut handle, and also wanted to know how well it would chop with Omaha's sharpening job. After using it to buck this large pine log in half, I have to say that the handle felt fantastic, and the razor sharp edge cut deep and threw big chips in the process. Great job Omaha!




CONCLUSION

As I stated in our original review of the Council Tool FSS Axe, this is simply the best full-sized, traditional Boy's Axe on the market for the money. Even though it is a little more expensive than last time ($59 vs $45), when you factor in getting an upgraded Grade "A" Velvicut Hickory handle, plus Omaha's outstanding free sharpening, it's an even better deal than before.


Even if you add one of the optional sheaths, the FSS Axe is still a whopping $56 to $65 dollars cheaper than Council Tool's Velvicut "Bad Axe" Boy's Axe. That's what I call an outstanding deal. I don't know if Omaha will be able to get more of these after this batch runs out, so you may want to grab one ASAP.

5 out of 5 Stars (Highly Recommended)


The Council Tool Boy's Axe Forest Service edition is available exclusively from Omaha Knives

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Just Arrived: Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle

 

Hey folks, just picked up this super cool Marlin Papoose .22 Survival Rifle today. The Papoose is a semi-automatic .22 Long Rifle with a detachable barrel, 7-round magazine (10 round magazines are optional) and it comes in a case that is supposed to float in water (we'll find out!).

Here is the official description of the Papoose from Marlin's website:

"If you like to take a rifle with you when you're backpacking, boating, four-wheeling or just taking a hike, the Model 70PSS, with its 7-shot clip magazine, is a natural for you. You can take it apart or put it together in a matter of seconds. 

This all-weather version of the famous "Papoose" enjoys the versatility of stainless steel construction, combined with a rugged fiberglass-filled black polycarbonate stock. 

It's also equipped with an automatic "last-shot" bolt hold-open. It comes in a padded carrying case with built-in flotation."



I have been trying to get my hands on one of these Papoose rifles for over two years, so it's great to finally have one in hand. My dad gave me a Marlin Papoose for Christmas when I was 11 years old, so it's going be a real nostalgia trip to review this gun. I plan to field test the Papoose over the next couple of months and post a full review this winter.

Cheers! Jason

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Council Tool releases new Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe with 19" handle


Long time axe maker Council Tool has just released a 19" handled version of its popular Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe. The original Velvicut Hudson Bay Axe, which we reviewed back in December 2011, has a 22.5" handle. This shorter-handled Velvicut Hudson Bay should appeal to hikers and bushcrafters who need a compact axe that can easily fit inside their packs.

Rocky Mountain Bushcraft in 2015 Tropical Forestry Handbook


Looks like some of the text from our Primitive Bow Saw article is going to be included in the 2015 Tropical Foresty Handbook, due out next summer. Specifically, they asked to use our explanation of the two different types of bow saw blades (Raker Tooth vs Peg Tooth blades). Being as I'm a lifelong nut about trees, it's an honor to be included. 

Cheers, Jason 

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