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What’s the Best Hearing Protection for the Gun Range?

What’s the Best Hearing Protection for the Gun Range?

What’s the Best Hearing Protection for the Gun Range?

Summer weather is finally here, at least for us in the northern half of the U.S. and Canada. The longest day of the year, June 21 – the summer solstice – has come and gone. As someone pointed out to me, we’re on the backside of long days here in Sioux Falls and they are only getting shorter. “Kind of depressing,” I said.

This can only mean one thing: we are losing precious minutes at the range to sharpen our skills. Whether you are a single-projective guy/gal sharpening your skills beyond 300 yards or you’re deep into the trap or sporting clays season, get out there and take advantage of the long days.

What? Hearing protection?

One topic of scrutiny and personal opinion is hearing protection. If you don’t wear shooting hearing protection, shame on you. Ask anyone in his or her elder years about hearing. You may have to speak up or repeat yourself, like I have to with my father. He or she will tell you long-term abuse of your ears is no fun in your golden years.

Unfortunately, everyone you talk to about the “best” hearing protection will give you a personal “best” answer. That’s why there are so many options for hearing protection. Wade with me into the deep end of the pond and we’ll cut through the “insider-baseball” information and try to simplify.

It’s all about decibel reduction

The end game with shooting hearing protection is decibel reduction. The greater the decibel reduction, the better.

What’s the threshold for protection? According to OSHA, a conversation is about 60dB and the threshold for pain is about 140dB. Anyone exposed to 85dB for more than eight hours must wear hearing protection. Exposure to about 110dB for just one minute can cause permanent damage.

What is the decibel level of a firearm?

  • Probably 95 percent of firearms produce more than 140dB
  • Even a simple .22-caliber rifle is about 140dB
  • Big-bore firearms and shotguns can produce more than 175dB

What was the threshold of pain again? You got it – shooting a firearm without ear protection puts you in harm’s way.

Now that we know what our ears can take, what is the best way to help protect them?

When shopping for hearing protection, look for its Noise Reduction Rating (NRR).

Every product marketed to help protect your ears and reduce noise has this rating. The higher the number, the better. If the product doesn’t list the NRR, stay away from it. Most of the cheaper foam ear plugs offer decibel reduction in the low 20s to low 30s. That’s not bad for the cost.

But be careful – the NRR assumes the plug is seated completely in your ear. Ineffective seating is the largest issue with these plugs, and most people don’t use them properly.

Simple foam ear plugs are fine for inexpensively protecting your hearing (if used correctly). Quite frankly, though, I don’t understand spending $3,000 on a firearm and only $1 on a 10-pack of ear plugs. What costs more, good ear protection or the hearing aids you will be buying in your elder years?

Custom-fit ear plugs are better

If you are looking for the Cadillac of foam-insert ear protection, look for custom-fit ear plugs. They come with instructions to insert the provided material into your ear and wait. The material dries and forms to your ear. They provide their claimed NRR since they fit properly into your ear. Instead of about $0.25 a pair, they cost around $15 a pair. But that’s still cheap for what they do.

Noise-canceling ear muffs

Looking for the best hearing protection available? Noise-canceling ear muffs are about the best you can get. They come in a range of qualities and prices, from about $20 to more than $100.

They electronically measure and dull sound in fractions of a second. Many allow you to hear a normal conversation while wearing them. When the bang goes off, however, they immediately compensate to protect your ears. You’ll find many brands out there with lots of options. Like to listen to music while shooting? Many options have you covered.

Beware the bulk, though

Although noise-canceling ear muffs are likely the best and most convenient, they are also the most bulky. Many people don’t like all that bulk at the side of their head as they shoot at the range or on the sporting clays course.

I could continue go on. The reason this topic is so complicated is because every ear is shaped differently and everyone has his or her preference.

In the end, find something that combines comfortable with the highest NRR rating you can find. A brand I like has the slogan, “Protect it, or lose it.”  I couldn’t have said it better.

As always, happy shooting…and be careful, especially with those ears.

Get AMSOIL Synthetic Lubricants for your Firearms

AMSOIL Racing & Events Update

Expedition Colorado - Amsoil

AMSOIL Racing & Events Update

Hi, race fans!

Your resident AMSOIL racing and events expert here with a breakdown of what Team AMSOIL has been up to “On the Track” and what’s to come in our “Staging Area.”

On the Track

Sprint Week

Indiana Sprint Week kicked off Friday, July 20 at Kokomo Speedway. In total, seven USAC AMSOIL National Sprint Car races were held in nine nights with the finale held at Tri-State Speedway. In the end, Chris Windom was crowned Indiana Sprint Week Champion shortly after capturing June’s “Eastern Storm” title. He’s just the third driver to capture both in the same season.

Want to know what it takes to succeed in this die-hard world of racing? Check out the AMSOIL Signature Series episode featuring last year’s Sprint Week here.

AMA Amateur National Championship

The premier amateur motocross event in the world kicked off Monday, July 30 at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch in Hurricane Mills, Tenn. The week started well for AMSOIL Factory Connection Honda as Jo Shimoda won Moto 1 of the 250B class.

Tune in to our social media channels to stay up to date on how the team fares the rest of the week:

AMSOIL Expedition Colorado

Last year’s AMSOIL Expedition Colorado was such a hit that Brad and Roger Lovell are retracing their steps this year from Moab, Utah, back to Colorado Springs, Colo. And this time, they’re inviting you along for the ride. The Lovells will be planting prizes from their sponsors along the 615-mile course. After they finish the trip, they’ll release a GPS map with coordinates of all of the geocache locations.

Keep your eyes on the AMSOIL Community website Aug. 3 for the release of the route with coordinates of the prize locations.

Be sure to sign up for AMSOIL Signature Series videos sent to your inbox. Subscribers will get the video documenting this year’s expedition before it’s made public.

In the Staging Area

Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

The 78th annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally begins today, Aug. 3 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. As the Official Oil of Sturgis, the AMSOIL booth will be located on Main Street, just east of Junction Ave. AMSOIL will be offering oil changes at two different locations: Mad Dog Custom Cycles and X-Treme Bikes. Be sure to stop by our booth to register to win a $150 AMSOIL product gift certificate awarded each day.

Tune in to our Instagram Stories to see all the action live from the rally.

Car Shows

AMSOIL is the Official Oil of Carlisle Events and Hot August Nights. Carlisle Truck Nationals begins today, Aug. 3, and runs through Sunday, Aug. 5 in Carlisle, Pa. This celebration of trucks includes monster-truck shows, truck-themed competitions, a truck midway and more.

Hot August Nights begins Monday, Aug. 7 and runs through Sunday, Aug. 12. This week-long festival is dedicated to classic cars and rock n’ roll. Events include controlled cruises, an auction, drag races, autocross, drifting and more.

As always, stay updated on all the AMSOIL Racing and Events action through our social media channels.

Until next time, we’ll see you at the races (and events)!

New ATV/UTV Oil Change Kits Offer Maximum Convenience

ATV Oil Change Kits

New ATV/UTV Oil Change Kits Offer Maximum Convenience

AMSOIL ATV/UTV Oil Change Kits combine everything needed to perform an oil change on the most popular models of Polaris* ATVs and UTVs in one convenient package, including…

To find the correct ATV/UTV Oil Change Kit for your machine, consult the appropriate Product Guide.

Look up My ATV

Look up My UTV

WHY YOU SHOULD UPGRADE YOUR ATV/UTV PROTECTION

Accessories equal weight. It’s common to burden your UTV or ATV with accessories designed to increase power or productivity, especially for UTV owners. Enthusiasts often add roof and door panels, a winch, a plow, skid plates and other accessories. Plus, how often do you haul a load of gravel or pull a trailer or other implement?

This all adds weight, and a good rule of thumb is that extra weight equals extra heat. Heat, in turn, causes lubricants to break down sooner, which places your engine and differentials at risk of wear.

Heat invites engine wear. The oil’s primary job is to form a protective layer on metal parts to keep them separated so they don’t rub together and wear out. High heat from the stress you place on your machine, however, can cause oils formulated for standard service to become thinner (lose viscosity). Oil that has lost viscosity can fail to develop an oil film of adequate thickness or strength to protect against wear.

Plus, high heat invites sludge and performance-robbing deposits inside the engine. Sludge can clog oil passages and starve the engine of oil, while deposits can cause the piston rings to stick or interfere with proper valve operation, leading to reduced engine compression.

Since compression equals power, over time your engine can make less power, limiting your ability to ride or work as effectively as possible. Eventually, deposits and sludge can wreck the engine completely.

Shift to better performance. The story is similar inside the transmission, differential and front drive. All the extra weight and stress of hard work and performance riding concentrates intense pressure on gears. The lubricant coats the gear teeth during operation, guarding against metal-to-metal contact and wear. The added stress, combined with high heat, can break the fluid film and literally squeeze the lubricant from between the gears, leading to wear. As with the motor oil, high heat causes the lubricant to thin, which negatively affects wear protection.

Upgrade to synthetic lubricants. So what’s the solution? Ride more conservatively? Haul lighter loads and work less?

Never. Upgrade to high-quality AMSOIL synthetic motor oil, differential and transmission fluid, front drive fluid and other lubricants, especially if you’ve modified your ATV or UTV for greater power or productivity. AMSOIL synthetic ATV/UTV lubricants don’t contain the impurities inherent to conventional lubricants, meaning they deliver better performance and last longer. Their naturally tough base oils resist extreme heat and maintain a strong protective film better than conventional products.

Think of synthetics as just another performance upgrade. You don’t think twice about dropping a few hundred dollars on a snowplow or work trailer. Over the course of your machine’s life, the few extra dollars you spend per oil change or transmission/differential service is a drop in the bucket by comparison.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use. All products advertised here are developed by AMSOIL for use in the applications shown.

Transmission Pan Drop vs. Flush: Which is Better?

Get rid of worn ATF

Transmission Pan Drop vs. Flush: Which is Better?

It depends on what you want to accomplish. But, first of all, check your owner’s manual to see if your vehicle manufacturer recommends one instead of the other.

If you want to ensure removal of nearly all the old transmission fluid, then have your transmission flushed.

Here’s what we’ll cover:

What is a Transmission Flush?

The benefits are self-evident: all the old, dirty fluid is replaced with fresh, high-quality fluid. (And, as you can see in the image, new transmission fluid is preferable to old fluid). As a result, your transmission should run cooler and receive maximum protection against wear to clutches, gears and bearings. It should also shift consistently and crisply since the new fluid will provide the correct frictional properties (old fluid loses its frictional properties over time).

Not only that, but performing a flush helps clean the transmission. Sludge and other contaminants can accumulate in the fluid due to extreme heat breaking down the fluid. These contaminants circulate throughout the transmission before lodging in the filter. Before the filter can safely capture the contaminants, however, they can lodge in the narrow fluid passages inside the valve body, leading to poor shift quality.

The narrow fluid passages in the transmission valve body can easily clog with debris, reducing shift quality.

Performing a flush also allows you to use a flush additive to help clean the transmission and more effectively remove accumulated sludge and other contaminants.

Any downsides?

Potentially.

For one, it’s more expensive. And some people warn against performing a flush on a transmission using old, dirty fluid. The flushing procedure may direct the fluid in the opposite direction of normal flow, which may increase the risk of dislodging debris and causing it to settle somewhere it shouldn’t. Since the way each shop performs a flushing procedure varies, you can’t know for certain.

What is a transmission flushing machine?

A typical flushing machine uses hoses that connect into the transmission cooling lines. It drains the old fluid and holds it inside the machine while replenishing the transmission with new fluid. Unlike a simple pan drop, a flushing machine removes just about all the old fluid, including the fluid inside the torque converter.

Since the procedure uses new fluid to perform the flush, it requires several quarts of new fluid beyond the transmission’s final capacity. Those extra quarts are where most of the added cost lies.

(Find out how an automatic transmission works.)

The good ‘ol pan-drop

If you have reservations about a flush, go with a pan-drop instead. While it reduces the risk associated with flushing old, dirty fluid through the transmission, a pan-drop also has downsides.

  • Removes only about a third of the fluid
  • Can be a mess
  • Can be a pain on some vehicles

I can tell you from experience that a pan-drop can be a bigger job than you think. You may have to remove plastic splash guards or metal skid plates to access the transmission pan. In case you haven’t been under your vehicle in a while, plan on encountering rusted, stuck bolts if you drive in wet, snowy conditions. Don’t be surprised if you crack a splash guard in one or two places as you try to remove/reinstall it.

Tips for performing a pan-drop:

  • Have a large catch pan handy. Otherwise, once you loosen the pan bolts, fluid is going to ooze from the pan/transmission interface and end up all over the floor.
  • If you’re crafty, you can back out the pan bolts in one corner further than the surrounding bolts, effectively tilting the pan so the fluid drains from a single corner instead of overflowing the entire pan. This reduces mess quite a bit.
  • Wear safety glasses and gloves.
  • Don’t forget the new filter and pan gasket.
  • It’s a good idea to know the torque specs on the pan bolts and use a torque wrench to reinstall them. Otherwise you risk overtightening and ruining the gasket.

You might get lucky, though

Some vehicle manufacturers install a drain plug on the transmission, similar to a motor oil drain plug. This allows you to easily and cleanly drain some fluid from the transmission minus the hassle of removing the pan. Again, though, you only get a third to half the fluid out.

You can then drive the vehicle for a while, then drain the fluid and change it again. Do this 2-3 times and you’ll remove nearly all the old fluid and perform a sort of poor-man’s transmission fluid flush.

Bottom line: Visit a pro and have the transmission flushed for best results and least hassle (unless your vehicle manufacturer specifically warns against it in the owner’s manual). But, if you have reservations about dislodging debris due to old, dirty fluid, a series of pan drops works just as well.

FIND AMSOIL TRANSMISSION FLUID FOR MY VEHICLE

From The Presidents

AMSOIL INC CEO

From The Presidents

AMSOIL INC CEO

You’ve probably read a lot recently about claims of “fake news.” Whether you buy into that or not, a thoughtful look at our society reveals why many people are distrustful of the information they read, including information reported by reputable news sources. It seems that everything is overhyped or spun to lead the reader or viewer to a specific conclusion. Rather than getting the straight facts, we’re given the facts with opinions. News organizations have changed dramatically in the last 20 years.

But news organizations are not the sole provider of information. While they are guilty of spin, they still typically report facts. The Internet has changed everything and given a voice to anyone who wants one. As fantastic as the  benefits of this revolution are, there is a downside. People don’t know who to trust. You can find arguments and supporting “facts” for and against just about anything under the sun. Expert advice comes from amateur videos, blogs, websites and forum posts. Those who are convincing enough garner a following and are viewed as experts.

Soon after, opposing opinions are put forth. Those who lack expertise on a given topic are then left to sort fact from fiction. Trouble is, oftentimes both opposing arguments make sense to the uninitiated so it’s hard to identify the right path. This is usually true in situations where people are trying to predict the future. “The stock market is going to crash.” “The housing market will never recover.” “Beta-max is the future.” The truth is, most of the time people don’t know. It’s  unpredictable. There are too many factors affecting large-market topics.

Electric cars are a great example. They’ve generated a lot of hype in the last year, and predictions of their dominance in the years ahead are running wild. Conversely, others predict further adoption of electric cars, but to a much lower degree than most popular reports. So what does the future hold? What do electric cars mean for your dealership?  We’re not going to pretend to know exactly how everything will unfold, but we will give you all the information we have on the topic. We’ve consuled nearly 40 sources from a variety of organizations within and outside the automotive field and presented our conclusion in this issue of AMSOIL Magazine.

The bottom line is this: As long as you’re vwilling to go after it, there will be boundless opportunity for you for the foreseeable future. It’s up to you though. You have to go get it. And that’s no different than it is today.   An unbelievably large amount of the market is unfamiliar with AMSOIL right now, and they just need to hear from Dealers like you. Don’t hasitate. Take action today and chart your own future. If you set your goals and put in the work, we predict success.