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An excerpt from "Squaring Away the Bench: It Was About Time" by John Markwell

In discussing this project with John Anderson, TVHM editor, he offered and sent to me the RangeMate High Stability Optics Mount that he had received for evaluation.  Manufactured by GaugeMate, this nifty item clamps to the bench top and has a swivel head which fits the screw recess commonly found on most spotting scopes and cameras.  I had been using a small economy tripod to hold my old Leupold compact 20x spotter for a long time but was never quite satisfied with the setup.  The RangeMate, when clamped directly to the bench top (much like a C-clamp), is very stable and supports the spotting scope with no vibration whatsoever.  It's easy to adjust the height of the spotting scope (which is done only once if the mount is left in place) and get on target.  When locked in place the scope stays put (no "sagging" off target).  All the metal parts of this handy unit are either powder coated, anodized, or chrome plated and should prove to be pretty corrosion proof.  The ad I found for this unit states that it "... is better than a tripod."  When using the RangeMate as I intend to use it, permanently mounted to my shooting bench, the "better than a tripod" claim just may be an understatement.  Having now used the RangeMate fairly extensively, the final verdict on the RangeMate is in, and it has replaced the tripod for use on our bench.  Mounted on the left edge of the bench just off my left elbow, the RangeMate provides very steady support for my spotting scope.  It makes spotting easy as I can just lean over to take a look at targets instead of having to move the spotter and tripod around everytime I needed to look downrange.  The ball and socket base arrangement that threads into the spotting scope stays permanently attached and is removed from the vertical arm of the mount when the spotting scope is not being used.  Reattachment is as simple as threading the optic attachment back onto the vertical shaft.  The clamp/base and vertical stand remain permanently on the bench.  I must acknowledge some initial skepticism upon receiving the RangeMate and, quite frankly, my first thought was, "What kind of gimmick is this?"  Now, having put this unit to use for some time, I find i really do like the RangeMate Optics Mount.

 

To read more, see the full article in The Varmint Hunter Magazine, Fall 2012 Issue #84.

Product Review

GaugeMate Gold Product Review

GaugeMate Gold Sub-Gauge Adaptor

I love customizing equipment to meet multiple needs. For example, I would much rather buy a new barrel to convert a turkey gun into something suited for dove hunting than buy a new gun. Maybe that's why I enjoy using GaugeMate Gold Sub-Gauge Adaptors, which converted my over/under from a 12-gauge to a 20-gauge. These adaptors are cool, practical and can save you some coin.

Increased Flexibility

Sub-gauge adapters are popular among competitive sporting clays shooters because the adapters allow them to use 12-gauge shotguns to compete in sub-gauge competitions. During the NWTF Turkey Shoot sporting clays competition in mid-August I met many amazingly good shooters who relied on sub-gauge inserts. Since the adapters pass the test of competitive shooters who fire 10,000 rounds each year, I was excited to give them a try.

Sub-gauge adapters work by allowing a shotgun to shoot a smaller gauge shell than its chamber is built to hold. The adapter fits inside the chamber of a shotgun and mimics the shape of the shell the gun was designed to fire, while the inside of the adapter mimics the chamber of the smaller gauge.

GaugeMate Gold adapters are specifically designed to remain inside the gun when is the action is open so only the spent hull is extracted. This makes for quicker reloads. With the right GaugeMate Gold adapters you can convert your 12-gauge to a 20-gauge, 16-gauge, 28-gauge and .410 bore. This video shows the adapters in action, allowing a shooter to fire four gauges from the same shotgun in less than one minute.

Easy to Use

From a functionality standpoint, GaugeMate Gold adpaters are a breeze to use. They take just a few seconds to install. Simply apply a thin layer of grease to the adapters and then pop them in the chambers. GaugeMate performed extensive pattern board tests, and shotguns pattern just as well shooting with an adapter as they do shooting their original gauge.

Removing the shells is a snap when using quality ammo, though a few hulls briefly stuck on inexpensive ammo. The only other drawback is the adapters only work in break-action shotguns, which leaves pump and auto-loading shotguns out in the cold.

Reduced Recoil

The most important thing I noticed was a difference in recoil. After shooting 12-gauge shells all morning, my shoulder wrote me a very nice thank you note once I switched to 20-gauge. Not only was the recoil much less, but I never felt like I missed a clay because I was shooting a smaller gauge. This is where GaugeMate can really help everyday shooters.

Whenever a new person is introduced to shooting, whether they are a man, woman or child, recoil plays a factor in how much they enjoy their first experience. If a new shooter is overwhelmed by recoil, they are much less likely to come back for seconds. However, if you can reduce the gauge in a shotgun to ease someone into shooting, you may increase the odds of giving that new shooter a positive experience that makes them want to shoot again.

I am impressed with GaugeMate Golds and I am happy to have the added flexibility - and savings - that these adapters provide.

- Josh Fleming
NWTF Public Relations Manager

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Tom Roster’s March/April Shot Talk column ("Inside Sub-Gauge Inserts") gave us a good feel for the capabilities of each type of insert and its price/benefit tradeoff. However, the GaugeMate people, in California, were in the midst of their own independent testing when Tom's article was written, and now that the results are in, it seems appropriate to summarize them. I was tapped for this because in its go-to-market run-up the company picked my brain, which doesn’t take long, and provided me a couple of pairs of GaugeMate Gold inserts. So much for disclosure.

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Once we get past the functional issues of loading and extracting cartridges from GaugeMates which with the proper ammunition is easy and quick, what remains are questions about velocities and patterns. Intuitively, it’s beyond question: Launch a small thing (such as a 28-gauge round) through a big tube (such as a 12-gauge barrel) and the Velocity" title="Velocity" target="_parent">Velocity will drop — just think of all that propellant gas blowing by! And how could we expect decent patterns? Won’t a small shotcup full of ejecta tumble, like a .222 bullet from a .30-06?

GaugeMate hired Sherman Bell — no doubt a naughty boy who blew up stuff when he was a kid but who turned his black arts to good use as an "adult"— to test products. (Bell and Tom Armbrust, dba Ballistic Research, of McHenry, Illinois, have done a tremendous amount of research into internal ballistics, especially in double guns.) Bell fired 20- and 28-gauge ammunition through GaugeMates in a 12-bore gun, and 28-gauge ammo in a 16-gauge gun; all were Winchester AA or Remington STS shells. With strain gauges and an Oehler Model 43 ballistic laboratory, he recorded instrumental velocities four and six feet from the muzzles and combustion pressures just beyond the ends of the chamber inserts (not at the chambers, which are reinforced by the inserts). Bell factored in air temperature and pressure and calibrated with SAAMI (Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Institute) reference ammunition. The data came from a string of 10 rounds fired for each test.

The numbers (see table, p.16) show increases of roughly 100 fps for 20s and 28s shot through 12-gauge guns; 28s in 16-bore guns also exceeded nominal manufacturers' velocities, but to a lesser degree. Speculation is that reduced friction between a small payload and a big barrel is the cause — that and, presumably, little or no gas blow-by, as the shot wad expands under heat and pressure to fill the bore. (Bell also tested GaugeMate Silver adapters and found "no ballistic significance" between the two models in performance.)

12-20 GaugeMate Gold (7/8 oz No. 7 1/2 lead)
AA (1,200 fps nominal): 1,324 fps and 7,800 psi averages

12-28 GaugeMate Gold (3/4 oz No. 8 lead)
AA (1,200 fps nominal): 1,285 fps and 8,400 psi averages
AA 2nd lot: 1,318 fps and 8,200 psi averages

16-28 GaugeMate Gold (3/4 oz No. 8 lead)
STS (1,200 fps nominal): 1,215 fps and 5,100 psi averages
AA: 1,252 fps and 5,800 psi averages

And patterning? A series of shots at 30-yard targets fired with the same ammunition and adapters in a variety of guns showed no degradation of patterns whatsoever.

All of which helps explain why I had such a fine time shooting driven pheasants last fall with 28-gauge cartridges in a 12-bore gun. And why I'm really looking forward to shooting my Italian 24-bore as a .410 this season.

 

—Silvio Calabi

Think of the RangeMate as a third hand to hold your spotting scope, camera, binocular or anything else with a standard tripod mount hole. Its adjustable body clamps to nearly any table top or edge; its swiveling, screw-top head positions your optic so you can spend more time shooting and less time fumbling with your optic.

 

— American Hunter

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Adapter Info

See GaugeMate's sub-gauge adapters in action in our Gaugemate Challenge Video
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Learn more: "How Sub-Gauge Adapters Work

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