Varmint Hunting Gear Guide

Varmint Guide 2010

A roundup of some great gear to pair with your AR varmint hunting rifle

1. Pair your AR with the new M-223 from Nikon, a scope that delivers 95 percent light transmission and is engineered to match .223 ballistics. The 3-12x42 version has side-focus parallax adjustment and is available with the new BDC 600 reticle or Nikoplex reticle with the new Rapid Action Turret (shown). $430 (Nikoplex), $450 (BDC).

2. Winchester's Fragmenting Varmint load is a new no-lead offering in the Ballistic Silvertip line. Featuring a fragmenting copper core, gilding metal jacket and a plastic tip, the loads—both with 35-grain bullets—include a .223 Rem. at 3,800 fps muzzle velocity and a .22-250 Rem. at 4,200 fps

3. Keep your guns running right with proper lubrication. The RIG Rag comes already coated with RIG Universal grease, making it great for field or shop use. $11 at local sporting goods stores.

4. Three pieces of removable foam allow you to adjust the Blackhawk AR-15 cheek pad to get your eye in proper position for a scope or other optic. The outer shell is made of a nonslip material, and the pad has 3/4-inch straps and a 1/5-inch retaining strap. $23.

5. Uncle Mike's Trunk Organizer measures 12x41x22 inches, weighs 20 pounds and fits easily into a trunk or the back of an SUV. D-rings at the corners keep it secure, and two side-carry handles allow easy in/out. Includes four movable compartment dividers, two large front pockets and removable lid with attachment points for accessories. $166.

6. CCI's new lead-free TNT Green bullet is available in the .17 HMR. The 16-grain hollowpoint leaves the muzzle at 2,500 fps and promises the same explosive terminal performance as the leaded TNT bullet.

7. You'll love the resolution and the light-gathering power of the new Steiner 56mm Predators, which sport a unique lens coating that makes browns, reds and other animal colors more visible. The Predator C5 series features a rigid polycarbonate chassis and ergonomic styling. $949 (8x56), $999 (10x56).

8. Water and rip resistant, the Shooter's Ridge shooting mat is constructed of 600-denier nylon over 1/4-inch closed-cell foam and is double padded in the knee and elbow areas. The 781â'„2x27-inch mat has six grommets to secure it in windy conditions and rolls up to a seven-inch diameter.

9. The six-times magnification of Burris' SixX illuminated scope makes it great option for shots from in-your-face coyotes to distant groundhogs. Fully multicoated optics with Storm-Coat to fight rain and mist. 2-12x40 and 2-12x56 in either German 3P No. 4 illuminated or Ballistic Plex illuminated. Real-world price: $800–$900.

10. Having used the compact, five-inch Surefire LX2 Lumamax in the field, I can testify to its versatility. On low beam you get 15 lumens to hunt for things in a dark vehicle or see the ground at your feet. Mash the tailcap and you get an impressively strong, 200-lumen beam that really pushes back the night. Hard-anodized aluminum body with O-ring seals and stainless steel pocket clip. $195.

11. The new Otis Mongoose is the perfect field accessory, offering one-pass, pull-through cleaning with a combo brush and swab to keep your bore shooting well all day. It's available in .17, .25 and .30 calibers, and the .25 caliber version works for .223 and similar bores. $16 for a five-pack.

12. The no-lead, compressed metal-powder NTX bullet is now found in Hornady's Varmint Express line. The bullet's exterior is similar to the V-Max (with copper-colored polymer tip to differentiate it), and ballistics are likewise similar to comparable Varmint Express rounds. .17 Mach 2 (15.5 gr.), .17 HMR (15.5), .22 WMR (25), .204 Ruger (30) and .223 Rem. (45).

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