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Straight Shooters Cast Bullets
Rifle Magazine
September - October 2004
Volume 36, Number 5
ISSN: 0162-3583
Number 215
On the cover...
The prewar Beissel & Winnieckl 9.3x74R is outfitted with a Leupold M8-2.5x compact scope. The Krieghoff O&U 9.3x74R double rifle features engraving by Bob Evans and custom stock by Paul Dressel. The scope is a Leupold Vari-X III 1.5-5x. Rifle photos by Gerald Hudson. Elk photo by Michael H. Francis.
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Howard Leight QB2HYG Earplugs

After years of hunting and shooting - and carefully avoiding exposing my precious hearing to too much damaging sound - I thought I owned every kind of hearing protection imaginable. The list includes several high-tech electronic earmuffs, including a great Pro Ears model that mounts behind my neck so I can wear my cowboy hat.

Of course, there’s a profusion of cheap, use-once-and-throw-away earplugs for shooting range and hunting use that also come in handy when I’m forced to fly in noisy, prop-driven airplanes. These disposable plugs are sold loose in bulk or fastened together in pairs by a cord or flexible plastic string. The main problem with such earplugs is the contortions you go through getting them properly inserted. This discourages you from removing them too often during the day.

Because I like to hear conversation that’s directed at me, I usually wear electronic earmuffs during social prairie dog hunts. Unfortunately, earmuffs become hot and sweaty when worn too long under a broiling sun. What’s more, repeatedly removing and replacing my behind-the-head electronic muffs became literally a pain in the neck.

Then I noticed a slick set of earplugs one of the other shooters wore. Instead of hanging from a loose cord, these soft foam plugs were attached to a narrow, semi-rigid plastic band that could be positioned at the back of your neck or under your chin. To remove the earplugs, you simply pulled them slightly apart, leaving them handy for quick reinsertion. Once you were through talking - or a prairie dog suddenly appeared - it took only a second to get the plugs back in place. This was much faster and easier than dealing with soft foam disposable earplugs. No twisting, turning or reshaping the plugs were required; the spring action of the plastic band kept the plugs firmly and comfortably in place. It was much more convenient than taking muff-type protectors off and on.

Quietly envious, I finally asked the other shooter where he’d purchased the neat earplugs. Turned out he had a spare set and generously handed them over. After wearing them awhile, I wondered where the Howard Leight QB2HYG “Supra-Aural” plugs had been all my life. I’ve never used a more comfortable, more convenient set of earplugs.

I phoned Howard Leight on returning home and requested another set of the plugs. When it arrived, I learned the plugs provided a full 25 decibels of hearing protection. The QB2HYG came packaged with an extra set of plugs, which could be fitted to the band via a bayonet mount. I saw the wisdom of this when I later lost one of the original plugs – don’t ask me how.

Howard Leight also sent a set of QB1HYG-LE (who names these things anyhow?) earplugs mounted on a black plastic band. These plugs were more rounded in shape and carried a 27 decibel rating. Excellent!

Being a chiseling writer, I wasn’t charged for the earplugs. When I called Howard Leight to see what the recommended retail price was for each model, the customer support person wouldn’t tell me. “We’re distributors, not retailers,” she said. “We don’t determine the price.” Considering the material and simple construction, a set of these earplugs can’t cost more than a couple of bucks. That makes them a real bargain.

For more information, contact Howard Leight Hearing Protection, Dept. R, 7828 Waterville Road, San Diego CA 92173-4205; telephone toll free: 1-800-327-1110; or visit online at:

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