Having hunted many many years, and been a police officer all my life, I have strong opinions about which companies and their products I really like, and those that I will never buy again. Not all of these are hunting products, but most are. I try to be objective about a product that performs poorly. Any reputable company has probably made a lemon. But, if so, how was their service/warranty/return policy? If it is good, I tend to forgive. If they are not helpful, I remember - and NEVER purchase anything by them again. An example is Goodyear tires. The first new truck I ever bought had Goodyears on it. At the first oil change I found that all four tires had massive splits on the inside sidewalls. I took them to a Goodyear store and they wanted all kinds of money to replace them. I think there were three thousand miles on them. I didn't HAVE any money, and drove away knowing I would never buy another tire, no matter how good, from Goodyear. And in 43 years, I haven't! Another standout is Rocky Boots. Save your money. As a patrol sergeant in the eighties I bought a fairly expensive pair of patrol boots from them, ones I could barely afford. The first week I wore them, the heel came unglued. I sent them back and they re-glued them. A week later, same thing happened. I called them, and the service rep told me that there was nothing more they could do, that I would have to purchase a new pair. I did, and you can be sure they were not Rockies, and never will be. Here is how I feel about some other products...below you see a handsome upland vest hanging from the caribou antler.
This vest is an Abercrombie & Fitch, N.Y. vest made when they were a true outfitter. This one was purchased by my father in the early forties, worn hard by him for years, then by me, and it is still completely serviceable. I use it every fall. I wish they were still in the outfitting business, I would buy all my goods there. My parents even had custom model 21 Winchesters fitted to them there. When Abercrombie stopped catering to the outdoors and hunting folks, my parents moved on to another burgeoning outfitter,...
Yup, Eddie Bauer Outfitters, out in Washington or Oregon in those late fifties and 60's. They sold all manner of hunting/fishing goods and supplies, and were a top quality outfitter. To my folks chagrin, they, like Abercrombie found more to be made by selling fashionable women's clothing and polka dotted undies, and franchised all over. No more outfitting, which spawned folks like Cabela's and Red Head. Now, I LIKE Cabela's and buy all manner of stuff from them, but they are no Abercrombie & Fitch. You have to watch what you buy. They have good, to junk. Below are copies of the current Eddie Bauer catalogs. A far cry from years ago.
Below you see a DeSantis double magazine holder, brand new. I purchased this for my 10 mm magazines used in my Dan Wesson PM-7. The very first time I unsnapped the snaps at the bottom, both rivets at the top broke and popped out.
I called DeSantis, explained the problem, and they stated that if I sent the holder back (at my expense), they would replace the rivets. But only if I would give them a credit card number so they could charge me for return postage. I did this because the thing was fairly expensive to begin with and useless to me the way it was.
below, you can see that they charged me $8.49 to send my repaired mag holder back to me. Note the date on the receipt. So, for about 15.00 bucks, I got a brand new mag holder repaired that I had gotten zero use out of. No more DeSantis Gunhide products for me, ever.
Below, a few flagship company names that you hardly ever hear anything bad about. Why? Their first concern is not cost, but quality! Honda, John Deere, Polaris...all solid companies.
This is my third model 70 Winchester. I sure didn't buy it because of problems or lack of accuracy with the other two!
My Summit tree climber. My first Summit, and head and shoulders above the first one (different brand) I had when weight, quality, and innovation are concerned. It is good enough, that I am sure I'll never have to buy another.
Below is a low end Nikon range finder, and a low end pair of compact 10x25 binocs. I am happy with both. Though I buy Leupold scopes and love their clarity and quality, I could not stand the new Leupold rangefinder I bought. It was ridiculously complicated, took minutes to get squared away, and had a mind of it's own. I handed it to a couple of techie hunters in camp and challenged them (with directions) to figure out how to change settings and set up for bow or firearm. They gave it legion effort, and eventually tossed it into a chair stating 'try a Nikon'. I did. I am happy.
The Cuddeback camera below is an old model, my newer ones are still out in the woods. Even so, this camera has given years of flawless pictures, great battery life, and simple to operate. One time I lost the programing on this camera, and a call to Cuddeback had me re-programmed in two minutes. I started out with Stealthcams, and in the end I couldn't give them away. Hardly ever got any pictures with them.
These cheap RAYOVAC batteries claim to last as long as energizers. And you know what? They actually last longer, and are recommended by Cuddeback for camera use...
Before going to the G5 fixed solid 125 grain Montecs, I had used three other brands. I am more than satified with their performance on deer, much more so than the other brands. Now, if they do not start making these 125's in carbon steel, I will change over to the NAP Hellrazor. I want the carbon steel because you can get it so much sharper than stainless...
Easton aluminum arrows. They are strong, they are inexpensive (compared to carbon) and they work. I am not a proponent of blistering speeds, have no need of the terribly expensive carbon arrows out there, and at 60 pounds, these with the Montecs simply bring them down without drama.
GoldDot ammunition from Speer - This box is in .357 Sig. and they have a great field (police) performance
history. I never had to shoot a person since we started carrying them early this century, but they have taken many deer and other creatures cleanly and humanely. They are always with me off duty and carrying under LEOSA.
I have used several brands of Scent Killer, and this stuff you see below works. My empirical experience with this stuff has me amazed. I do not hunt deer or bear without it...
This Primos can call is the third I have owned. No more. I try not to judge a call by whether or not animals come to it - it could always be poor technique. But these calls are flip over calls, not much you can do to improve them. I have never had a deer come to the can calls. The worst thing though is that I find they are good for one season and then crap out and don't work. Why should I have to buy a new one every year? I also own an electric Primos deer call. Doesn't seem to call any in, and the doe bleat worked for a hunt or two and then died. All done with Primos.
Buying a new cleaning rod? The J Dewey on the top froze up and will not rotate with the rifling in the bore. I bought a Tipton carbon rod, and it is perfect. I have cleaned hundreds of guns with it.
What have been your experiences with poor performing products in the field? With great performing products? What are your favorites? Would love to hear!
Have a great 2012!