Product Reviews

Hunters Headquarters

by Lee DeBevoise

If you own a gun, hunt, or fish, you have a knowledgeable friend in Auburn, Nebraska, at Hunters Headquarters. It’s become a regular stop for me.

I first discovered Hunters Headquarters last month while looking online for a Bushmaster dealer. I had found the exact carbine, a Carbon-15, that I wanted and was ready to buy.

Martin Kelsay, owner of Hunters Headquarters, answered when I called. He seemed well-informed and told me he had the exact model I wanted for quite a bit less than even Cabela’s. “My prices are always better than Cabela’s,” Martin explained. I offered to give him my credit card number so he would hold the Carbon-15 for me until I could get there later that day. “No need,” Martin said. “I’ll put it aside until I see you.”

Wow, now that’s a great example of the outstanding customer service. It didn’t surprise me though, because that’s one of the many reasons I love living in Nebraska, where your word is honored.

After driving for a bit over two hours with my wife and shooting partner, Sharon, we arrived at Hunters Headquarters and met Martin. Sure enough, he had put my dream rifle away for me.

Long story short, Martin knows his stuff – all of it! He patiently and knowingly answered all of our questions. The carbine was and is great – all that I’d hoped it would be – but the service was even better.

Fast forward about a month… I made a return visit with my good friend Keith recently. The great service and prices persist. We also asked and got Martin’s recommendations for good places to eat. They too were spot-on.

If you’re a gun owner and/or hunter, then Hunters Headquarters is a must-visit store. Did I mention that Martin also is very knowledgeable about black powder guns, archery, and fishing? He stocks supplies for those as well. Plus, he is an experienced gunsmith.

Do yourself a favor and stop by Hunters Headquarters. When you do, please tell Martin I’ll be back again soon!

Hunters Headquarters
1004 22nd Avenue
Auburn, NE 68305
Phone: (402)274-5165


Leave No Trace

by Vern Jansky, Lincoln Izaak Walton League

January 6, 2012

Everyone who has been near an AR-15 style rifle on the shooting line knows they can belch their empty casings quite a distance, roughly seven to ten feet or farther if maxed-out hand loads are used. Needless to say, no one wants to be pelted with your flying brass, have a blistering hot surprise landing inside their shirt collar, or on their bench, and have the surrounding real estate littered with your casings.

Receiver side (from left to right): picatinny mount, catcher opening, and USMC Digital Green catch bag.

But don’t worry. You can make peace with your fellow shooters. All you need is a brass catcher. And I’ve found, and now own one that’s head-and-shoulders above them all. It’s called the Leave No Trace AR-15 Brass Catcher, manufactured by a company of the same name (www.leavenotracear15.com). This is best engineered and most elegant looking brass catching solution I’ve ever seen. And their customer service is first rate, too!

The catcher housing is fabricated from billet aluminum that is TIG welded, and is available in two colors: anodized Black or Cerakote in Coyote Tan. The catch bag is 100% cotton cloth for strength and heat resistance, and is machine washable. It is available in Black, Coyote Tan, USMC Digital Green, Dark Earth, and Desert Tan. Also included are two spacers for fine tuning the fit, four cap screws with washers, and an allen wrench. The whole thing stows neatly in a supplied draw-cord bag to protect you investment when not in use.

Two mounting options are available, depending on the type of AR you have. Either a Delta Ring mount or a Tactical (picatinny) Rail mount. An especially interesting design feature, regardless of the type of mounting option you choose, is that the mounting systems hold the catcher’s deflector housing clear of the receiver by 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch permitting full use of your top rail, unobstructed access to your mag release button, and no wear and tear on your receiver. It is available in both left and right hand configurations.

Brass catcher mounted on a LMT M4 rifle accessorized for Varmint hunting.

The Delta Ring mount fits all mill-spec Delta Ring based rifles. According to Dave Schmidt, president of Leave No Trace AR15, not all AR-15 rifles use mil-spec Delta Rings and consequently don’t share the same dimensions. Contact the company for fitment guidance of your Delta Ring based rifle.

The Tactical Rail mount is available in standard or tall sizes. For my Lewis Machine Tool M4 with its monolithic receiver/rail system, I needed their “tall” Tactical Rail mount and the two included spacers for proper clearance from the receiver. I attached the rail mount to the deflector housing using the supplied cap screws. This was a simple process that took less than a minute.

For those using a free-float tube you can attach a short picatinny rail, available from a variety of vendors, on the ejection port side of the tube and use a Tactical Rail mount. Additionally, if you have both types of ARs, you can get the Delta Ring mount, which is available separately, and use this brass catcher on all of your AR rifles. It also works equally well on the new tactical .22s like the Mossberg Tactical 22 Autoloader. And we all know how annoying it is to pick up those tiny little casings.

Mounting the Leave No Trace brass catcher is a simple three-step process:

  1. close the ejection port dust cover;
  2. line up the catcher over the rifles case deflector and dust cover areas;
  3. use the thumb screw to tighten up the mount on the picatinny rail for rattle-free operation.

The brass catcher bag is attached to a flat billet frame called a tray. The tray slides into the tray guides on the deflector housing and snaps into position similar to the way the ash tray in a car (particularly the older ones) snap shut when closed. That’s it. You’re ready to “lock and load.”

The weight of this brass catcher is imperceptible when mounted on the rifle empty of course. Its catch bag holds up to 120 rounds of ammo before you need to empty it, and that’s another area where this brass catcher shines. I was able to remove the catch tray, fold the ears back on an empty 50 round box and stick it into the catch tray opening, up-ended the whole thing dumping the brass into the box, and reinsert the catch tray before someone using one of the legacy nylon catch bag systems could unzip and dump the contents of their bag. To add insult to injury, I can insert a fresh mag and start shooting before the legacy bag user has gathered up the rounds that are now rolling around on the bench. That’s fast!

The Leave No Trace brass catcher is not only well suited for use on the range, but also for prairie dog or coyote hunting. And it’s a required piece of kit when hog hunting from a helicopter, which in and of itself poses a special problem. Rotor wash inside the cabin is strong enough to twist or bunch up mesh or other lightweight bag materials preventing the brass from falling down into the bag and eventually causing a jam. Leave No Trace offers a stiff heavy weight bag material specifically for this type of hunting, as a no cost option, that will stay open under those conditions.

If you want the state-of-the-art in brass catchers, the Leave No Trace Brass Catcher is it.