December 21st, 2007

New .270 Bullet Line-Up from Berger

Our friends at Berger Bullets keep coming up with new, high-quality projectiles for precision shooters. Berger has just announced a new line-up of .270-caliber VLD bullets designed for long-range hunters as well as target shooters.

These bullets are available in 130gr VLD, 140gr VLD, and 150gr VLD. Berger. According to Berger: “The VLD design allows the bullet to penetrate 2″ to 3″ through tissue and bone before it starts to expand. Once it begins expansion, the bullet will distribute 60% to 90% of its weight as shrapnel into the surrounding tissue. The delayed expansion causes a massive wound … which puts the animal down fast.”

“The Berger 270 caliber VLD bullets bring match-grade precision and exceptional terminal performance to a very popular hunting caliber,” says Eric Stecker, Berger’s Master Bulletsmith. “I look forward to the day when we hear about a shooter winning a competition with the same rifle and bullet he used to get his buck.”

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December 20th, 2007

Muzzle Brakes–Bertalotto's Test Results

Muzzle brakes are controversial. Some people swear by them, while others swear at them. Still, there’s no question that a good brake can reduce felt recoil up to 45%. And likewise, the best brakes, when installed properly, seem to have no negative effect on accuracy.

VAIS muzzle brake

Roy Bertalotto has done considerable experimentation with muzzle brakes, testing dozens of brake designs on his own rifles over the past few years. Roy’s article, Adventures with Muzzle Brakes, discusses various aspects of muzzle brake design and performance. Roy doesn’t claim that his testing is definitive, but his article is definitely worth a read. Here are some of Roy’s interesting findings:

Exit Hole Diameter
“Best accuracy and effectiveness of the brake was obtained with a hole .020″ over bullet diameter. If the exit hole is too small, such as +.005″ over bullet diameter, accuracy suffers. If the depth of the exit hole is too shallow, the metal around the hole will erode very quickly.”

Hole Placement
“The most effective braking was with a brake 1″ in diameter with a 3/4″ exit hole on each side, just in front of the muzzle. The bullet passes through a cone of 35 degrees before it exits the brake. (Like the tank example), Incredible reduction of recoil. But loud and ugly. Very easy to make since you don’t need a spin fixture or a dividing head.”

Bottom Gas Venting Helps Accuracy
“In my tests, not having holes all around the brake effects accuracy a bit. I believe it does something to the bullet by the air pushed ahead of the bullet creating unequal turbulence in the bullet path. I’ve tried a few brakes where I drilled only holes on the top, test fired, and then completed holes on the bottom and in every case, accuracy improved.” Below you see some spiral-ported brakes crafted by Clay Spencer.

VAIS muzzle brake

Brakes Work Best with High-Pressure Cartridges
“The higher the pressure of the particular round, the more effective the brake. I have over 20 rifles with brakes. The 220 Swift is the king of reduction. Followed very closely by the 25-06, 6mm Remington, any Weatherby small bore. With a proper brake and a hot handload under a 40 gr bullet, the Swift will move 1/2″ to the rear and 0 muzzle rise! Big boomers with low pressure like 45-70s and shot guns benefit the least.” [Editor’s Note: Roy is judging effectiveness by the percentage of recoil reduction rather than absolute levels of recoil. Obviously if you start with a heavier-recoiling round, the absolute amount of recoil energy reduction is greater. Roy is really talking about efficiency–brakes are most efficient when used with high-pressure cartridges.]

Installation is Key to Accuracy
Roy’s findings are fascinating and suggest that further study of muzzle brakes is warranted. But we can all agree that precision installation of the brake is essential for accuracy. A poorly-installed, mis-aligned brake will degrade accuracy, that is well-known.

Harrell’s Precision has made tens of thousands of muzzle brakes, in many styles and port arrangements. The Harrell brothers offer some good advice for gunsmiths installing brakes: “Muzzle brakes aren’t magic, they reduce recoil by redirecting exiting gas. What’s important is that they are straight and the threads are perpendicular with the base. The only way to get the base and threads perpendicular is to thread, not tap, them on a lathe.”

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December 20th, 2007

Shooters' Mat on Sale for $24.99

We mentioned this item before in the Bulletin in September. Well now MidwayUSA has brought back the super-low price through the end of the year. Midway’s 69″ x 27″ Shooting Mat (item 169107) is now 50% off, marked down to $24.99. It has pads for your elbows, plus corner grommets so you can stake the mat down–a nice feature on those windy days. The mat rolls up into a nice, compact, 6″-diameter package. The Midway unit is not as thick as more expensive, deluxe shooting mats, but then it costs one-third the price. USER REVIEWS are quite positive for this product.

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December 19th, 2007

Commemorative Red Ryder

Quite a few gun owners had their first introduction to shooting with a BB-Gun, perhaps after finding a “Red Ryder” under the Xmas tree (the rifle featured in the movie “A Christmas Story”). Now you can let your kids or grand-kids experience the same thing.

Orvis is offering a special Red Ryder Commemorative Edition, for shooters who remain young at heart. This classic Red Ryder BB gun — the very same model immortalized in “A Christmas Story” — comes with a 560-count tin of BBs. You also get eight clay targets, two target stands, and even eye protection.

For other neat last-minute gifts from Orvis, click the link below and then select “Top-Rated Gifts” or “New for Holiday 2007″. There are lots of great items. We loved the Orvis FatWood, and the antiqued “Toasting Box”.

Orvis Gifts

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December 19th, 2007

Storage Boxes for BR-Sized Cases

Folks in the Forum have been asking “who makes a secure, high-capacity box for PPC and BR-sized cases?” For 50-rounders you have many choices. The MTM RS-S-50 is available in clear blue, green, and “wild camo”. Lock, Stock, and Barrel sells the RS-S-50 for just $2.79. MidwayUSA sells a similar Frankford Arsenal case for $3.39 in clear blue, red, or smoke. It’s a nice design with a recessed latch that’s less likely to catch on something and pop open.

For a big match or extended varmint expedition, 100-count boxes are the way to go. You can fill them to capacity, alternate rows for sighters and record rounds, or leave open rows for your fired cases. We like the MTM 100-round ammo boxes for transporting loaded 6BR and 6PPC ammo. They work great for loaded rounds. However, with fired brass, if you tip the MTM box on its side, the empties can spill out. That’s frustrating if you’ve meticulously sorted your cases.

The answer to this problem is J & J’s 100-round BR-100 ammo case. Shown in the photo, it has tighter vertical clearance, so your empties won’t come out of their slots if the case tips over or is stacked upside down. BR-100 cases are bargain-priced at just $3.95, and they are available in Red, Blue, Smoke, or White colors. In addition to the BR-100 case, varminters who need to carry large numbers of loaded rounds should check out J & J’s 175-round Rifle Ammo Case. This foam-lined ammo transporter, item LR-175, costs $16.54 and is the largest-capacity ammo case we’ve found. For more info go to JandJProducts.Com.

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December 18th, 2007

Basics of Benchrest — Good Summary

If you’re not familiar with the short-range benchrest game, and want to learn more about this most precise of all shooting disciplines, Peter Cronhelm has prepared an excellent summary of Benchrest Basics. Cronhelm covers everything from the origins of the PPC (Palmisano Pindel Cartridge) case, to the special terminology heard at short-range benchrest matches:

Bughole: Very small group.
Mothball: The 10-ring on the standard Benchrest Target.
Tomato Stake: A worn out or otherwise inaccurate rifle barrel.
Screamer: A group measuring less than 0.100” at 100 yards or less than 0.250” at 200 yards.
Weather Report: A Group “scattered” as a result of poor wind doping.
Wailing Wall: Place where targets that have been scored can be viewed by competitors.

If you want to learn about “point-blank” BR, give Peter’s well-written article a read. It’s fact-filled from start to finish and provides a quick but thorough explanation of the rules, gear, and shooting styles used in the short-range benchrest game.

Super Shoot (Kelbly’s Range) photo by Turk Takano, used by permission

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December 18th, 2007

NEW Hat Brim LED Lamps

Looking for the ultimate “stocking-stuffer” this Christmas? Here is a very clever new head-lamp that has been flying off the shelves this holiday season. The unit features five (5) bright LED bulbs and clips on to the brim of a cap, for hands-free illumination. Smart idea. This would be great to use both indoors (while reloading) and outdoors (for camping).

Here’s what one hunter had to say: “I found this light to be one of the best buys I have made in a long time. It is very easy to use, it always shines where you are looking and has a bright enough light to see for a long way. It is light and compact and is not prone to moving around like other clip on lights.” — L. Campbell, CA

If you read other User Reviews, the general consensus is that these LED brim lights are extremely useful and handy, and are a bargain. On the downside, users have noted that the clips that go over the brim can break easily. This seems to be a brand-specific problem. Some of these units have a more flexible high-quality polymer while others are made with a more brittle, cheaper plastic.

There are many different sources for these LED Brim Lights. You can even find a camo version with red lamps for stealth hunting. Price ranges from $3.99 to $21.99. The unit shown below costs $5.99 at Amazon.com.

For an extended review with better, larger photos, visit The-Gadgeteer.com.

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December 17th, 2007

Useful Ballistic Resources from Canadian NFA

The Ballistics Page for the Canadian National Firearms Association (NFA) website offers a variety of useful programs and data charts created by Peter Cronhelm. These include:

Caliber Twist Rate Chart

Greenhill Formula Twist Calculator

Bullet Stability Calculator (MS Excel)

Ballistic Coefficients Chart (MS Word), (Or DOWNLOAD HERE.)

Ranging Ballistics Computer (Scroll to bottom of page.)

There is even a detailed table with bullet weights and velocities for over 100 varieties of 22LR Rimfire ammunition from Aguila, CCI, Eley, Federal, Fiocchi, Lapua, PMC, Remington, RWS, and Winchester. This Rimfire Ammo Table is a “must-have” resource for any smallbore shooter. Shown below is the section for Lapua:

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December 17th, 2007

Ammo Price Hikes Coming January 1st

Natchez Shooters Supplies reports that the major ammo makers plan to raise loaded ammunition prices effective January 1, 2008. This comes on the heels of ammo, brass, and primer price increases which went into effect in September. Remington has announced: “Based on our current assessment of metals pricing for the remainder of 2007, we anticipate the need to implement as additional 12% across the board increase on all ammunition and components effective January 1, 2008.”

January Ammo Price Increase

Remington Price Increase Notice (.pdf)

If you plan to purchase loaded ammunition from the major domestic manufacturers, it’s wise to stock up before the end of the year. Likewise, we predict that European-made loaded ammo, such as Lapua .308, Lapua 6mmBR, and Norma 6XC ammo, will continue to rise in price due to increased material costs and the declining US Dollar. The chart below shows the U.S. Dollar to Euro exchange rate for the past year.

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December 16th, 2007

Schmidt & Bender 12-50×56 spotted in Europe

Our initial report on Schmidt & Bender’s centerfire version of its 10-50×56 Field Target scope generated quite a bit of interest. But in recent weeks folks have been emailing us, asking “Is this thing for real?” and “When will it reach the States?” Well, we can confirm that Schmidt & Bender definitely is putting a 12.5-50X56 PMII zoom scope into production, and part of the early production is reserved for the U.S.A. market.

What will the new scope look like? Well Vince Bottomley has seen an early prototype in Europe. He reports: “The overall size is the same as the Schmidt & Bender 5.5-25 model so it’s smaller than a Nightforce but boasts more magnification.” Here is a “spy photo” from Vince:

Schmidt & Bender still hasn’t published final specs on its website, but Mark Cromwell, head of Schmidt & Bender’s North American division, hopes to have them on display at Shot Show in February in Las Vegas. With the rapidly eroding U.S. Dollar, prices are subject to change, but Cromwell expects the scope to run about U.S. $2700.00 – $2800.00, but it could be more. Cromwell says “the current spec sheet for the 12.5-50 indicates it is NOT illuminated. Reticle illumination is normally a $300+ added cost for Schmidt & Bender, so it is possible the 12.5-50 PMII long range could cost LESS than the 5-25 PMII which IS illuminated.”

Schmidt Bender 12-50x56

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December 16th, 2007

Possible Group Buy on Bore-Store Gun Storage Bags

We’re thinking of putting together a group purchase of Bore-Store rifle storage bags, possibly as a “late Xmas, New Year’s Special”, provided there is sufficient interest. These are thick, synthetic fleece bags, treated with silicone and a special rust inhibitor. Bore-Stores are outstanding products, much better than the thin “gun socks” made by other companies. Bore-Stores cushion your rifles, protecting against nicks and dings while you’re moving your guns in and out of the safe. They also effectively safeguard against rust and corrosion. The fleece material is breathable, so it wicks away moisture from the firearm. By contrast, typical hard cases with “eggcrate” foam interiors attract and retain moisture — they can actually breed rust on your guns. Likewise, most zippered soft cases retain moisture. In fact, the linings of some soft cases have chemicals that promote corrosion.

Bore Store Rifle Storage Bag

We are working to have a custom Bore-Store size created for Forum members that would provide ample clearance for a large benchrest or varmint rifle with a Nightforce scope and a barrel up to 30″ in length. Smaller sizes would also be available. If you are interested, go to our Shooters’ Forum, and vote in the current Readers’ Poll. You’ll find the poll in the lower right hand corner of the Forum layout. You can check multiple boxes, one to express your interest, and others to indicate the bag sizes you’d prefer.

Why do we hope to arrange this group buy? Because this Editor believes Bore-Stores are the best product on the market for protecting firearms while stored in a safe. I personally have Bore-Stores for every one of my handguns and long guns.

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December 15th, 2007

DPMS Acquired By Cerberus. Joins Bushmaster and Remington.

Cerberus Capital Management, a large holding company, has acquired yet another gun maker, this time AR-platform builder DPMS Panther Arms. In the past year, Cerberus has purchased three gun manufacturers: Bushmaster Firearms, Remington Arms, and Cobb Manufacturing. It looks like Cerberus intends to be a major player in the semi-auto AR-platform market, Colt and FN Mfg. LLC notwithstanding. Strategically, the DPMS acquisition places Cerberus in an even stronger position to pursue military rifle contracts–the prize we believed Cerberus was chasing all along.

DPMS Panther Arms

Randy Luth, DPMS founder and President, remarked, “We were looking for a partner that could enhance our expertise in operations and further develop our sales and marketing capabilities. Cerberus is a partner that can help us in those areas and provide the financial and operational resources required to expand our business. As we look forward, we see increased interest in our new calibers, based on the proven DPMS ‘LR’ rifle platform.” Based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, DPMS manufactures and distributes a complete line of AR15-based rifles and components, as well as rifle platforms in other calibers.

The Cerberus press release says, “Mr. Luth will remain President of the newly formed DPMS Firearms, LLC and will continue to oversee the strategic and operational aspects of DPMS.” We’ll see… after Cerberus bought Remington Arms, there was a high-level shakeup and Bushmaster honchos replaced many Remington top execs.

One positive aspect to Cerberus’ involvement in the gun industry is that the huge political clout Cerberus commands as the “rescuer” of Chrysler Corp. (which Cerberus also acquired) should undermine efforts to ban AR-platform rifles if the Democrats score big in the 2008 elections. Cerberus is big enough to make waves in Washington. Money talks in politics and Cerberus has lots of it.

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December 15th, 2007

Blaze Hunting Parka 1-Day Sale

Here’s a good deal from Cabela’s, a 1-Day-Only special promotion. Herter’s FowlTech Blaze 3-in-1 Parka is on sale, today only, for $49.95–that’s $50 off normal retail. This parka has nice features for hunting–the warp-knit shell is quiet and soft, yet waterproof and breathable. And the shell has a low nap so it won’t pick up vegetation. The 3-in-1 Parka features a zip-out, heavy-weight 400-gram fleece liner jacket, zip front with storm flap, two large button-closed cargo pockets, detachable hood, and even a loop for your deer tag. We’d say this is a great deal for $49.95, while it lasts.


You should read the User Reviews. Purchasers of this coat gave it very high marks. They say it is rugged, but still very stealthy and quiet–an important factor for hunters. Buyers liked the zip-up collar and many handy pockets.

CLICK HERE for Cabela’s home page, then click the link for “One Shot Deals”. The Parka is the first item listed today.

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December 14th, 2007

Modulo Masterpiece — Ultimate Portable Press?

Credit this find to ace British benchrest shooter Vince Bottomley, United Kingdom 1K record-holder and publisher of the excellent Precision Rifle website.

Italian Taveggia Compact Press

Vince writes: “This beautiful compact press is made by an Italian company, Modulo Masterpiece, run by Vittorio Taveggia. Vittorio builds some superb rifles but he also has a very useful range of accessories for accuracy aficionados. I’m sure you’ll be interested in Vittorio’s loading press — this is offered in several configurations for normal dies, Wilson-style hand-dies, or both. The press is superbly made. Vittorio also crafts very nice Weaver-style rings and bases. Again they are beautifully-finished and very strong. Vittorio also makes stocks and actions. At present, there is no UK importer for the press, but there could be very soon. If you are at all interested in any of the products please drop me an e-mail at vinceb [at] 6ppc.fsnet.co.uk and I’ll pass your interest onto the ‘soon to be’ UK importer.”

Modulo Masterpiece Italy

Editor’s note: We don’t know of a US importer, but you can contact Vittorio directly. Information for his company in Torino, Italy is found on the Modulo Masterpiece website. Send email to: info [at] modulo-masterpiece.it.

Photo © Vince Bottomley, used by permission

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December 14th, 2007

SWFA Promo: Burris Scope and GPS for $209.95

Here’s a sweet deal for you game hunters out there. SWFA is offering a FREE Garmin eTrex hand-held GPS with the purchase of a Burris Fullfield II scope. We’ve checked around the web and the Garmin eTrex, by itself, runs about $95.00. SWFA’s promo price on the Burris 3-9×40 Fullfield II Rifle Scope with GPS is $209.95, so that means your effective cost for the optic is just $115.00. Not bad for a scope with fully-coated lenses and the Burris No-BS “Forever” warranty.

Burris GPS Combo Sale

SWFA is also offering a Garmin eTrex GPS with the purchase of a Burris 4.5-14×42 Fullfield II rifle scope. The package price for the 4.5-14×42 model and GPS is $339.95. Both Burris scopes (3-9 and 4.5-14) feature 1/4-MOA clicks and a Ballistic Plex reticle. This reticle design has vertical hash marks to help with holdover at long range.

Burris GPS Combo Sale

The Garmin eTrex GPS is considered a rugged classic. It is compact and light weight at mere 5.3 ounces with batteries, with the buttons positioned on the side for easy, one handed operation. The casing is rugged and waterproof to IPX-7 standards. The eTrex will operate for about 15 hours on two AA batteries.

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December 13th, 2007

Women in the Shooting Sports

From an upcoming documentary, here’s a nice clip about young women who are involved in the shooting sports. We think this is the kind of positive story that needs to be told by organizations such as the NRA. A variety of teen female shooters are interviewed, including a World Champion Skeet Shooter. Many of the girls mentioned that shooting gave them “a chance to spend fun time with [their] dad.” Others noted that shooting gave them a chance to train and compete with adults, and that was very fulfilling.

CLICK HERE to WATCH VIDEO

Girls in Shooting Sports

The video reveals that, “since 2004, the number of elementary and high school girls competing in shooting sports has increased by 178%.” If you enjoyed this trailer and want to learn more about the feature documentary, “A Girl and a Gun” by Cathryne Czubek, visit AGirlandaGunfilm.com. Producer/Director Czubek notes: “Women and guns have been inexplicably linked throughout American history, but a recent spurt in female gun-ownership begs a closer examination into what’s driving this trend.”

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December 13th, 2007

Google-Friendly Fuzzy Bunny Website Launched

Readers may have noticed that there are large, blank blocks in many of our editorial layouts today. That’s because, despite having approved this site for its Adsense program, Google decided last night that it did not want its ads for Gunsmiths, Reloading Supplies, Shooting Gear, and Rifle Scopes to appear on a web site that features Gunsmiths, Reloading Supplies, Shooting Gear, Rifle Scopes and other “gun stuff”.

To comply with Google’s policies, and to continue to provide a venue for Google’s Pay-Per-Click Adsense advertisers who purchased ads for gun supplies, gunsmithing services, gun safes, hunting gear, rifle scopes and the like, we have created a new webpage. On the new page, you won’t find any pictures of guns–just sweet pink fuzzy bunnies instead.

On our new Fuzzy Bunny page, we make sure to tell readers that guns are bad and fuzzy bunnies are good. You’ll learn that guns are “icky and scary” and you don’t need to have them. Conveniently though, you’ll still be able to find nice pink, click-friendly Google ads for rifle scopes, spotting scopes, hunting gear, gunsafes and all those other things. You’ll also find handy reprints of our technical guides about rifle scopes and spotting scopes.

Fuzzy Bunny Homepage

Have fun, shop safe, and remember … Google and the Fuzzy Bunny always know what’s best for you!

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December 12th, 2007

Advanced ‘Ski Bipod’ from Canada

Here’s a product that should interest all F-Class shooters. It is a new bipod that offers unrivaled stability from an ultra-wide footprint. Nick-named the “Ski Bipod”, this impressive unit is custom-crafted by Canadian Henry Rempel, who also conceived the design. The height of the bipod is adjustable as is the distance between the runners or “skis” that contact the ground. And there is a cant adjustment allowing the rifle to be leveled on uneven ground. The reason Henry used ski-like runners rather than flat pads is that this allows the rifle to slide slightly reward during recoil. That eliminates much of the hop and rotation associated with conventional bipods.

Rempel Ski Bipod

Forum member Keith Skjerdal reports: “A lot of F-CLass guys in Canada are using the Ski Bipod made by Henry Remple out of Calgary. It is very well made and steady as a conventional pedestal rest. Even some guys in the USA and Britain have them now. If you want the best, this is it, in my opinion. This makes the trip to the mound easier than with a big pedestal rest. Downside? Well, since the Ski Bipod attaches to your rifle, it counts in your total weight under the rules. The Ski Bipod adds roughly 3.5 pounds to your gun’s weight. The cost is around $400-420 Cdn (this basically covers the cost of materials and all that milling work.)

To get one, contact Henry Rempel from Calgary. He does not have a web site. His home phone number (after 7 pm) is 1-403-272-8416. I think his email is henry.rempel [at] hotmail.com.”

Rempel Ski Bipod

Rempel Ski Bipod

Rempel Ski Bipod

Photos Copyright © Richard Dreger, used by permission.

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December 12th, 2007

MyOutdoorTV.com Upgrades Website

MyOutdoorTV.com has been relaunched with a new design that gives viewers more options in how they select and watch videos. Now organized into channels that target viewers’ interests, the redesigned site allows easier navigation of MyOutdoorTV’s large library of outdoor programming.

“With our library of titles and individual videos growing so rapidly, we’re making sure the site evolves to keep pace,” said Chris Moise, CEO. “Our new design does a better job of highlighting our award-winning programming by category[.].”

The home page of the redesigned site lists six networks that classify shows by general topic: Wildlife & Nature, Fishing, Hunting/Shooting, The Showroom, State Explorer, and Travel. The viewer can choose a network to explore, or go directly to a favorite show or state by clicking on “Online TV Listings.” One can also use the site’s Search feature to find an activity, species, location, or other keyword.

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December 11th, 2007

FREE Flash-Based Shooting Game

Birchwood Casey Bullseye Challenge
It you want to burn some time on a cold winter evening (or in the daytime–just don’t tell the boss), have fun with this online flash shooting game from Birchwood Casey. It’s easy — just aim the crosshairs at the ten-ring when each bull pops up. Warning: This game is loud, so you may want to turn down your sound levels before starting.

CLICK HERE to LAUNCH GAME

Birchwood Casey Flash Game

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