16 Oct

Midwest Outdoors TV Filming with OPMOD Strikefire, Nikon M-223, Lasermax Unimax Micro, and Pheasant Pie

Steven K. Ledin,

Midwest Outdoors TV asked me last week to film a few segments for one of their sponsors, Wiley X Performance Eyewear. This was not affiliated with OpticsPlanet. Midwest Outdoors  just wanted my semi-smiling countenance to bark their sponsor’s wares. I was flattered because they thought I was a good spokesperson, and I was glad to do it because Wiley X ROCKS!  Great products that I unfortunately don’t own yet.  Maybe someday when I’m more flush and classy, if ever.

I mentioned ANSI Z87 eyewear performance levels, lens color, adjustable temples, and on the Saber model, which I wore thoughout the filming, the adjustable nose bridge. With my formerly busticated nose that’s not entirely symmetrical, this is a great feature, since the glasses can actually sit on my face horizontally, like they’re supposed to.

I needed a gun to shoot during filming, and I thought that I had just the shotgun to match the quality of Wiley X glasses. It’s a Fabarms Red Lion Competition Imported by H&K, with the sexy large red HK logo prominently displayed on the carbon-fiber receiver that matched the sexy carbon-fiber covered barrel.  I absolutely STOLE this gun from Gander Mountain when I worked there as a Product Expert/Buyer. Gander Mountain at that time gave a 25% discount to every employee on used firearms, if the gun was on the rack for sale to the public for at least 30 days. In passing, I saw the gun with a price tag of something like 400 bucks. I screamed foul to management that someone left off a zero in front of that number. They were not to be bothered with such details. So I went up the ladder and stated that it was priced a thousand dollars too low, but if you don’t care to change it, I’ll buy it for my 25% off. So I did. A steal, indeed.  300 bucks for the best competition shotgun I own. I’ve had the gun for about 15 years and never put a shell in it, just looked at it in its factory leather hard case with its variety and quantity of extended choke tubes and velvet and occasionally rubbed some appropriate rust-preventative spit on it. It’s a gleaming lovely tool that although voluptuous and gorgeous, is still secure in its badass functional masculinity.  And it’s marked HK. I’ve never put a shell in it. I didn’t need it then and I still don’t, but I needed it. I know you all understand.

So I shot the gun for the first time during filming with some Winchester field loads. I think they were 1 1/8 ounce 3 1/8 dram loads of 7 ½ lead. I never adjusted the adjustable comb since I got it. It fit my physique well. I missed the first few thrown birds and then got back into the groove and spanked most of them after that. Last time I was supposed to break clay birds on film it took a lot longer than I care to admit. The sights on the Red Lion are fiber optic and bright and obvious without looking at them, like you’re not supposed to. You’re supposed to look at the bird. Don’t aim the gun, point the gun. When I got into the groove, I smoked most of them. Even I was surprised. I didn’t appear to be as clay-bird-busting-challenged as I thought I would.

Anyway, we filmed the Wiley X spots, and it took half a day. We filmed several different scenarios, with and without shooting, and with a lot of voiceovers and B-roll (after the fact) stuff.  I brought with me some old scratched shooting glasses that were also ANSI Z87 rated because I thought it would be cool to shoot them and see the results.

It wasn’t a real ANSI Z87 test because it wasn’t an OSHA-specific test, but ENTER DICK CHENEY. I put the old scratched glasses at 20 paces and secured them to an upturned wooden bench next to a clay bird and shot them with the aforementioned load with an IC choke, mainly to test the distance and pattern. It was perfect.  The clay bird disappeared and the lenses were pocked everywhere. I then put the Wiley X Sabers in the same place and repeated the experiment on film. The clay bird evaporated, and there were 24 pellet marks in the Saber lenses, and two in the frame. No pellet went through, and in the event of Cheneyism, your eyes would have been completely protected.

In case you don’t know, bird hunters often get sprayed with pellets. In a cornfield or other bird cover, you regularly don’t know where your hunting partners are. I’ve shot thousands of birds in my life, and I’ve been sprayed too many times to count, especially at hunt clubs where the shooting is close and there are sometimes multiple groups of hunters in different areas.

I’ve seen a person shot in the white of his eye when quail hunting as a young man. Glasses would have prevented this, no question. But this was at a time when folks never wore glasses, or even hearing protection. WHAT? WHAT?? I can’t hear you. I’ve shot too many times without ears, like my dad did his whole life with his Auto 5. The Browning Auto 5. More stories there. I never liked shooting them, but appreciate John Browning's genius and the manufacturing quality, and dad shot them like a dream and seemed to me never missed. The U.S. Navy and jet aircraft on a carrier taught me the importance of preserving my hearing. Save yours starting now.

Midwest Outdoors told me that they would reimburse me for my day off work and travel expenses, and give me a spot of my own. A spot of my own? I don’t have anything to sell! My body? My Shirley owns that, and it’s not worth a lot anyway. So instead of a spot for MY nonexistent website, I would use it to showcase something close to my heart as Father OPMOD…an OPMOD product! In this case, the AWESOME new OPMOD Strikefire red dot sight, made exclusively for us by Vortex Optics, one of my favorite companies.

I showcased the versatility of the OPMOD Strikefire by installing one on a favorite .22 pistol, a S&W 2206 with Aimpoint mount and Vortex low rings, and also my favorite 10-22, also with low Vortex rings. I had a couple of Pic mounts to use with the Ruger, but they’re all a bit too high for my liking, and I used the standard Weaver TO-9 base that’s really low. This is an excellent setup with the 10-22. Perfect for new shooters, perfect for fast, perfect for light.  Great as an optic on my 870 for turkey, also.

Where the OPMOD Strikefire really shines, though, is on a black gun. I installed one on my S&W M&P 15-22 with the quality cantilever mount that the Strikefire  comes with. This height shows a lower 1/3 cowitness, which I prefer at this time. It matches the height of the Vortex VMX-3T magnifier with flip mount, and also standard night vision mounts, which again shows the versatility of the ingenious and affordable OPMOD Strikefire, since one of my favorite attributes of it is that it’s night vision compatible. I use mine a lot with our OPMOD PVS-14. That means that when you’re viewing the dot with a night vision unit behind it, the intensity of the dot can be adjusted low enough to offer a good aiming point without blinding you with bloom or being so intense it shuts off the night vision unit. I’m a night vision guy, and although most folks don’t think of these products as something they’ll own, RETHINK IT! These are today’s products du jour. They are readily available and more affordable every year. SHOOT IN THE DARK LIKE YOU CAN IN THE DAY! THIS IS REAL AND AVAILABLE NOW! I wish I could loan you one to see what you’re missing. The future is now. Be prepared for anything, and be versatile. The dot on the Strikefire through a night vision unit is the cleanest I've seen.

I found out late the evening before filming that I could do more than one spot, so I had to scramble to come up with another product or two to film. Luckily, I still had a gun from my friend Chuck the vet that I installed one of the superb new Nikon M-223 1.5-6×24 Illuminated scopes on his M&P 15. I suggested this scope to him for his new gun out of all others available at this time. His was the first I’ve seen. The wide magnification range, BDC reticle, excellent illumination levels and on/off switch made me choose it as one OpticsPlanet’s best products of the year. Really a great scope for black guns and many others.

Another product that I like and had handy was an excellent Lasermax Unimax Micro laser. Super-small and handy, you hardly know it’s on a gun. I had it originally on my M&P 15-22, but since it’s really made for a subcompact pistol, I installed it on my hot pink Sig Mosquito. A great choice for small guns of all kinds. No matter how bright your scope is, if it’s dark out, the scope is useless. A laser is easily seen to a hundred yards and farther in the dark. Try one.You can see it below on the front top of my .22 black gun fore-end, and my Mosquito.

On the home front, I lost power for a couple of days because of storms, and decided to take advantage of the situation and defrost my main game freezer. It’s an ancient, inefficient box, but as I was cleaning the last traces of water out of it I found myself talking to it with love like a dog. Like, “C'mon, baby, be good to me…Power up and keep my fish and birds and meat well frozen…” It’s funny how easily you can get attached to material goods. Especially when they are irreplaceable, like venison

I got home from work last week and there was a dead hen pheasant lying in my driveway. My neighbors saw it get hit by a car. It was fresher than if I had brought it back from the field myself, and I didn't have to pick out any shot. It helps that I live across from a game farm and they start releasing birds October first.

I breasted it and made one of my favorite recipes: pheasant pie.

I usually make the bird in a 350 degree oven, seasoned with salt and pepper and basted with butter. Cover and cook for one hour, basting a few times. Let cool and shred with fork.

Thaw and unroll one of two frozen pie crusts and place in ungreased 9 inch glass pie pan. Pierce the crust with a fork a bunch of times.

In medium sauce pan, melt about 1/3 stick butter and sauté about 1/3 cup chopped onion until soft. Add about 1/3 cup flour and stir until creamy. Add about ½ teaspoon salt and about ¼ teaspoon pepper. Stir in about 1 ¾ cup chicken broth and about ½ cup milk (or cream) and cook until bubbly. Stir in pheasant (up to a couple of cups) and about 8 ounces fresh sliced mushrooms and about a couple cups of your favorite thawed frozen vegetables until everything is coated. Pour into crust and top with other crust. Seal top crust and cut several small slits in it. Bake in 425 degree oven about a half hour or more until brown. Put some tin foil strips on the crust if it’s getting too brown too quick. I say "about" before all ingredients because it's just a guide. Do what you want and experiment.

Eat, enjoy, and repeat for leftovers.

And the equally yummy Crash Almighty says Hi!

God bless and have an awesome weekend. I will. It's my birthday Saturday, and I'm three years over my 2012 expected cancer-expiration date. Enjoy and behave like there's no tomorrow!

About Steven K. Ledin

Steve has never not known guns. Before motorcycles, money, or girls, they have always been part of his life. He was tenured as General Manager of one of the country’s largest gun stores and ranges, a buyer in a big box sporting goods store, and is currently OpticsPlanet’s Director of Product Intelligence. He was a US Navy gunners mate, and is an NRA certified instructor in ten categories, as well as an Illinois CCW instructor. He shoots competitively and has hunted from Alaska to Africa. He thoroughly loves life with his beloved wife, Shirley, and their three wildish dogs Tinker, TranRek (pronounced “Train Wreck”), and Crash Almighty. He is a stubborn stage 4 cancer survivor not yet ready to cash in his chips.

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