Seven guys from L-3 EOTech were here last Tuesday. A few of us from OP had productive meetings with them most of the day. These were to be our hunting partners for Texas hogs. After work we went to my favorite restaurant in the whole world, the Italian Kitchen, where we feasted like kings until the wee small hours of the morning. John and Emerald really outdid themselves this night above all others. Incredible. I especially enjoyed the buffalo steaks, raspberry chicken, and Australian high jumping rabbit among the dozen or more courses they brought out, and the Kentucky molasses custard was one of the most exquisite desserts I have ever had in my mouth. Too complex and layered with flavors to be described in words. Otherworldly and I felt unworthy. Great job again, thanks.
The next morning we got our gear together, and WOW, what gear. Every kind of black gun and caliber was involved. Every option you could think of from every manufacturer was installed. It looked like a catalog of possibilities. Lowers, uppers, stocks, barrels, triggers, foreends, muzzle brakes, all different and built for the specific tastes of these familiar users. Many of our group had military backgrounds, but all were real shooters. No posers. Calibers were 5.56, .308, .30 Remington AR, .450 Bushmaster, and .50 Beowulf. A bunch of us also brought handguns, including 1911s, a Glock 20, H&K Mark 23, and my Freedom Arms .454 Casull. Pistols for around the camp were a Ruger SR9, a S&W M&P, Mark's Walther P-22, and my pink Sig Mosquito. Friend Mark and others ran the big Mark 23 with the new Insight WL1AA weaponlight well. We had one failed opportunity that night. These damn hogs are smart. Trick them once and they learn not to let it happen again. Their sense of smell is comparable to a deer. Hard to get close. Night time is the best time to hunt them because that's when they're the most active. They hole up in the daytime in brush that is absolutely impenetrable. We used the superb Insight Technology WTM (Weapon-Mounted Mini Thermal Monocular) as handhelds, and they were easily and instantly mounted in front of any EOTech HWS, night vision compatible or not.
Friday morning I went out with friend Tom to sight in guns. At 100 yards we zeroed my Colt Comp II H-Bar, friend Mark's Barrett Rec-7, Tom's CMMG and his DSA FAL, all with EOTech ESPS3-1 sights in front of equally superb EOTech G-23 magnifiers, and then sighted in my .454 with the new loads I rolled before I left. 35 grains of H110 under a 240 grain Hornady XTP Magnum moving at around 1700 fps, a few hundred fps faster than a healthy .44 mag. I mistakenly said in the top video the handgun sight I used was an EXPS2-1, but it was an EXPS2-0. The ammo I shipped wasn't available, so Byron gave us a case of Remington Premier 62 grain match that he said stays together well. Surprisingly, it did.
After sighting in we went out with Byron to call dogs. After a few unsuccessful sets, we tried a clearing that looked promising. Byron shrieked and called like a baby stuck in a garage door. Unnerving to say the least, but the dogs responded. I was on my BOGgear sticks when a big coyote ran into the middle of the road and stopped. I drilled him. We sat still. Another dog came out and I drilled him, too. Two shots, two dogs down. Byron is a magician.
Devin the videographer and I set up in a tripod stand 30-40 yards away from a feeder set to throw corn every hour for a few hours. Just before dark a group of hogs came in. I still had some light and had not yet installed the CNVD-T. I dropped the hammer on the biggest hog. He took off, but I called the shot good, and I threw another shot at another one in the half second it took for the group to haul ass. Hogs are FAST! I heard a hog expire a short distance away, and was reasonably sure I connected with the other one while it was running away. We found the first one, but had no signs of a hit from the second one, so I suppose I missed. Hard running shot to connect with anyway. Nice pig, under 200 pounds, and another non-kosher animal off the earth. I have such a taste for a pulled pork sandwich as I'm writing this….We took some photos and got back to the lodge for congratulations, a couple of beers, and a giant mess of Texas mudbugs. Some of the mudbugs were really spicy, and some were REALLY spicy. Delicious. Not just food but a way of living for some.
Byron and his family and Kyle and the friendly folks from the North Star Ranch were so accommodating, the food was great, the lodge was clean and comfortable, and everything was as good as could be. We were even able to ship our firearms, so we didn't have to deal with the hassle of carrying gun cases through airports. What a great trip. Thank you all for everything. Great job, and you made us all feel very special. I sure learned a lot from Byron. My thanks to all. The guys from L-3 were the most fun bunch of gun monkeys I've ever been hunting with. I so enjoyed fondling the guns they put together from components from so many manufacturers, chock full of aftermarket parts suited to their likes and perceived needs. Real professionals, and a couple of the tasks to be accomplished on this trip besides to have fun was to teach and learn about the new night vision and thermal equipment, and this we did intimately. Great job, guys, and I will debrief Technical Sales when I get back. Product familiarity really comes from wringing out products in the field, rather than my office. Thanks for everything, and sharing your knowledge.
We got through lots of mud and snoring hunters and finally arrived back at the freezing Chicago O'Hare airport for the trip back to OpticsPlanet to pick up my car, then on my way home to see my beloved soulmate Shirley and our boy Rad. This is always the best part of any trip, getting home to where I really belong the most.