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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

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.

Ease Winter with AMSOIL Silicone Spray

Silicone Spray

Ease Winter with AMSOIL Silicone Spray

We sell a ton of this in the Sioux Falls store. Great on all rubber and non-metallic seals. Good product to have on hand when you need it.

AMSOIL Silicone Spray is perfect for lubricating and protecting rubber, nylon, plastics, upholstery, vinyl, wood, cardboard, fiberglass and other nonmetal surfaces (and metal surfaces that come in contact with nonmetal surfaces). Keep a can on-hand this winter to…

  • Spray onto shovels, snowblower chutes and augers, plows and skid-steer buckets to prevent snow from sticking
  • Spray onto weather stripping and seals to prevent frozen doors and windows
  • Spray onto wiper blade frames to prevent them from freezing
  • Spray onto leather boots, shoes, jackets, suede and more to protect them against snow and water

For leather and sensitive surfaces, initially apply to a small area. Silicone Spray will not damage leather, but may slightly alter the color or hue.

Perfect Pairing:Signature Series Motor Oil and Ea® Oil Filters

Amsoil 100% Synthetic Oil

Perfect Pairing:Signature Series Motor Oil and Ea® Oil Filters

 Combining premium motor oil with a premium oil filter is necessary for total engine protection.

Complete engine protection is a team sport. The long-term effectiveness of a quality motor oil is often hindered by poor filtration. At the same time, the superior capabilities of a premium oil filter remain unrealized when combined with a sub-par motor oil. A pairing of top-quality oil and filtration is required for best results, especially with the advanced technology found in modern vehicles.

Protecting the Latest Technology

Variable Valve Timing (VVT)

The majority of vehicles rolling off the assembly line today feature variable valve timing (VVT). Every component in the system must function properly in order to advance or retard valve timing at the correct intervals. The solenoid pictured, from a 3.5L Ford* EcoBoost* engine, contains openings .007 of an inch across, which is about the thickness of two sheets of paper. The slightest amount of deposits in these openings can restrict oil flow and negatively affect the system.

AMSOIL Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil resists deposits and sludge, while the superior efficiency of Ea Oil Filters traps and holds any existing deposits that could compromise VVT components. ­

Turbochargers

Turbochargers are predicted to be in most new passenger cars/light trucks by 2020. This technology increases engine efficiency and performance, but at the cost of elevated engine temperatures. Low-quality motor oil increases the risk for high-temperature bearing deposits that lead to reduced turbocharger performance or failure.

Signature Series 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil protects against harmful deposits on turbochargers 4X better than Mobil 1® Extended Performance and 3.6X better than Royal Purple® in industry-standard testing**. AMSOIL Ea Oil Filters are engineered to maintain the higher oil flow rate of modern engines, sending the appropriate amount of filtered oil to the turbocharger’s vital bearing. Bearing clearances, in general, have become tighter, making filter efficiency even more important to prevent engine damage.

Tag Team Protection

Working in tandem, AMSOIL Signature Series Motor Oil and AMSOIL Ea Oil Filters provide complete engine protection. Signature Series Motor Oil withstands the rigors of extreme heat and resists deposits and sludge, while Ea Oil Filters provide the capacity and efficiency that today’s advanced engine components require.

The Long Run

Turbochargers and VVT systems are here to stay. AMSOIL products are uniquely positioned to meet the challenges they present.
Signature Series Synthetic Motor Oil

  • Provides 75 percent more engine protection against horsepower loss and wear than required by a leading industry standard ***
  • Maximum cleanliness
  • Exceptional extreme-temperature protection

AMSOIL Ea Oil Filters

  • Filtering efficiency of 98.7 percent at 20 microns
  • Greater capacity than competing filter brands
  • Maximum efficiency without restricting flow
  • Extended service life

 

VVT solenoids often contain tiny oil-flow passages that can easily clog with deposits if maintenance is neglected or low-quality oil or filters are used.

*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.

**Based on independent, third-party testing of AMSOIL® Signature Series 5W-30, Mobil1® Extended Performance 5W-30 and Royal Purple® API 5W-30 in the ASTM D6335 bench test required by the API SN Resource Conserving specification.

***Based on independent testing of AMSOIL Signature Series 5W-30, in ASTM D7320 as required by API SN specification.