Our Christmas wish list is so long that we need to break it into segments, but these items will thrill the sportsmen in your family.
It's hunting season, so you can't go wrong with a new rifle.
In Arkansas, most deer are probably killed within 125 yards. That's perfect for a traditional lever-action rifle, and we are increasingly impressed with those made by Henry.
You can get a Henry in many configurations. The Big Boy Classic, with its hardened brass receiver and octagonal barrel, is chambered in 45 Colt, 44 Remington Magnum and 357 Remington Magnum. There's also a silver edition.
They are almost too beautiful to take into the woods, but they are serious hunting rifles.
The Big Boy Steel is a more conventional design with a round barrel and matte blue receiver. It's available in 41 Rem. Mag., as well as the other three cartridges. I have one in 41 Mag., and I love it.
If you prefer more powerful cartridges, you can step up to .30-30 and .45-70 in various finishes and trim.
A "Long Ranger" version is available in 223 Rem., 243 Win., and 308 Win. It is similar to the Browning BLR.
For squirrel hunters, trappers and plinkers, Henry also makes a vast array of rimfire rifles in 22LR, 22WMR and 17 HMR.
They are available locally from about $300-$1,500, depending on model and trim.
After testing many compact semiautomatic handguns, I say that the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is about the coolest, most well-conceived concealed carry pistol I've handled.
I'm not alone in this assessment, since Smith & Wesson has shipped more than 1 million Shields since it introduced the model in 2012.
The Shield is available in 9mm Luger or the more powerful 40 S&W. The standard version is excellent, but a Performance Center upgrade features fiber optic sights, a ported slide for less weight, ported barrel for reduced muzzle jump and a lighter, crisper trigger.
I prefer the 40 S&W because I reload so much of it, but the 9mm version is reputedly easier to handle.
The Shield comes with two magazines, including a compact and extended. The 9mm magazines hold one round more than the 40 S&W magazines.
The Shield is small enough and light enough to carry comfortably and discreetly, and it's fun to shoot.
Mount an aftermarket green Crimson Trace laser on the trigger guard for precise target acquisition, but keep in mind that the laser pretty much eliminates all holster options.
The standard Shield costs about $390. I've seen the Performance Center version as low as $450.
Certain types of ammo -- particularly 22LR and 22WMR -- were scarce for a few years, but 22LR is now widely available, and the selection of hot 22LR cartridges is astounding.
Standard velocities for a 40-gr., 22LR range from 1,095 feet per second to around 1,200 fps.
For substantially more speed, you could get the Winchester Super Speed (1,300 fps), or you could pay a premium for the CCI Velocitor (1,435 fps) or the CCI Stinger with its sizzling 1,640 fps.
Now, the Browning BPR and Winchester Hyper-Velocity give the same performance as the Velocitor at half the price. A 100-round box of Browning or Winchester cartridges costs $10. The Velocitor costs $10 for 50.
I do a lot of target shooting with 22LR, and I love those "habanero" rounds. My CZ 452 shoots them like lasers, and my M&P 15/22 cycles them extraordinarily well.
The habanero rounds are overkill for squirrel hunting. You don't need that kind of speed for close shots, but for long-range work, you can't beat them.
A knife is a hunter's most important piece of gear, and my go-to, all-purpose knife is the QuickDraw Fixed Blade from knifeart.com.
Its 3 1/4-inch D2 blade has a hardness of 59-60 and holds a razor edge with minimal maintenance. I've processed four deer with it with only a touchup to the edge. Its drab green Micarta handle is impervious to dirt, moisture and blood.
The QuickDraw also comes with a Kydex sheath with a belt loop. The knife slides securely into the sheath with a satisfying click.
I have a lot of knives from a lot of makers, including some fine Damascus customs, but the Knifeart QuickDraw is my favorite. The fact that it's made in central Arkansas is a plus.
At $225, it'll last for generations. Check it out at knifeart.com/quickdraw.
Sports on 12/04/2016
Print Headline: Wish list features nifty items for hunters, shooters