January 31st, 2008
There is one subject on which we should all be in agreement — the need to wear quality, protective eyewear whenever one uses a firearm. Sadly, it’s not uncommon, at the range, to see shooters wearing no eye protection, or wearing cheap, “dime-store” glasses that can shatter on impact.
We’ve created a comprehensive Guide to Protective Eyewear. Forum member ChuckW2 told us: “That was the most important article that has ever been posted on this site. I am amazed how many people do not wear glasses while shooting or hunting. Great read….” If you haven’t done so already, read the story. We guarantee you’ll learn something new.
The Eyewear Guide explains the safety standards that apply to protective eyewear and reviews the best lens materials currently available including Polycarbonate, Trivex™, and SR-91. You may not have heard of Trivex, but it is probably the best material out there right now — it’s tough, lightweight, and has better optical properties than Polycarbonate. SR-91 is a good choice for those who need a polarized lens. Our Eyewear Guide also includes a section by Danny Reever on Prescription Shooting Glasses. Danny discusses the available options in lens materials and has many helpful recommendations.
Along with our reviews of lens materials, tint properties, and frame design, we highlight a study done by the NRA’s American Hunter magazine. 10 popular brands of eyewear were tested, with some very interesting results. The testers observed that price does not necessarily assure quality. The $12 Bollé VX and the $5.95 Pyramex Rendezvous both worked better than some much more expensive brands.
On the other hand, don’t select eyewear simply because it’s cheap or easy to find. American Hunter editor Jeff Johnston observed:
“It’s a mistake to assume that any plastic-lens sunglasses off the rack at the local 7-11 are made of polycarbonate and therefore are effective as shooting glasses—cheap plastics are not polycarbonates; in fact, wearing them could be worse than wearing nothing, as they can introduce sharp shards of plastic to your eyes in addition to the projectile(s) that caused them to break.”
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January 31st, 2008
If you can’t make it to Las Vegas this weekend for the SHOT Show, tune in your radios for live audio programming from the show floor. Radio Talk Show host Tom Gresham will air his three-hour Gun Talk Radio program from the main hall of the show, featuring a lineup of major manufacturers.
“This year looks to be huge,” said Gresham. “Every company has new guns and products, and we’ll have them on the air, live, to talk about them. For millions of listeners, this is an on-the-spot report on what turns them on — new guns!”
Gun Talk Radio will broadcast from the Beretta booth on the show floor, and Gresham says he has commitments from a number of companies, including Springfield Armory, Smith & Wesson, Beretta, Brownells, Taurus, Ruger, and Trijicon.” Tom Gresham’s Gun Talk is carried on radio stations across the country and is featured on XM Satellite radio.
Starting Saturday, your editor will also be a SHOT show. On this Daily Bulletin, I’ll be posting reports, complete with photos and video. There are new products from Lapua, Nikon, Schmidt & Bender, and Sightron we plan to feature — along with some surprises. Stay tuned.
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January 30th, 2008
Beretta, which now owns both SAKO and Tikka, has just introduced the new SAKO A7, based on the SAKO 75, but designed to sell at a lower price point. It retains many of the better features of the SAKO 75, including adjustable trigger (2.2 lb. minimum pull), three-lug bolt with 70° throw, and ergonomic stock. The A7 offers a new 3-round detachable magazine, with an improved latching mechanism drawn from the SAKO 85.
To learn more about the A7, visit www.SakoA7.net, a whiz-bang Flash-enabled website with photos and specs. Caution–the site has obnoxious sound effects and navigation like a video game, but we guess Beretta’s marketing gurus decided “bells and whistles” would sell more rifles.
Unlike most SAKOs, the A7 lacks a dovetail on the top of the receiver that would allow you to mount rings directly to the action without the need for a separate scope rail. In deference to American shooters, who seem to prefer separate mounting rails, The A7 ships with Weaver-style scope mounting blocks front and rear. In our view, the dovetail is actually a cleaner, lower-profile, and more rigid set-up for a hunting rifle, but this is one more example of building a product the consumer thinks he wants, whether it makes sense or not.
Notably, Beretta is marketing the new SAKO A7 with an accuracy guarantee — One MOA for five shots. While that’s not spectacular, few other major gun companies (Cooper being the notable exception) provide accuracy guarantees for their hunting rifles. SAKO claims that “Each rifle must place five shots within one inch at 100 yards or it doesn’t ship.” Sako A7 gun weight (without scope) averages 6.5 pounds, while length of pull is 14 inches. Calibers and twist rates are shown below. Unfortunately, no fast-twist 6mm barrels are offered with the .243 Win chambering.
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January 30th, 2008
In the wintertime, it’s common to encounter problems with static electricity when throwing your powder charges. The static can cause powder kernels to cling to the surface of reloading components, and can cause powder clumping. Clumped or sticky powder may make your measure bind or grab in the middle of the cycle, which can throw off your charge weight. Here are a couple simple ways you can minimize the effects of static electricity and improve the consistency of your powder measuring.
Ground Your Powder Measure — If you’re throwing powder charges in the fall or winter and have problems with bridging or sticking powder, use a ground wire. Bullet-smith Victor Johnson (Johnson Precision Bullets) tells us: “I have a 25-foot piece of real small wire with alligator clips on each end. It’s that long so I can run it down the hall to a water pipe. Use the wire tie from a bread bag to hold it in a small roll to put in the range box. When using it at the range use a 6″ nail from the co-op or Lowe’s / Home Depot and just push it into the ground.”
Use Bounce Dryer Sheets — A quick pass with the thin cloths used in dryers will eliminate “static cling” on your plastic reloading parts like powder throwers, powder funnels, and reloading press guides. Thanks to Doc76251 for this tip.
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January 29th, 2008
Turning necks is widely, if not universally, done by short-range benchresters shooting 6 PPC and 22 PPC cartridges. On the other hand, many long-range shooters, using bigger cases with longer bullets, have had great success with sorted, but non-neck-turned Lapua brass. For example, Richard Schatz has set multiple world records, and won many major matches shooting his no-turn Dashers.
Turned necks still completely dominate the short-range benchrest game. But, do we have any hard evidence of how much of an advantage turned necks offer? And, is it fair to say that turning necks is less advantageous with longer, heavier bullets typically used for 600- and 1000-yard benchrest?
Lou Murdica is a very skilled benchrest shooter in California. This editor has personally seen Lou finish first in a short-range BR match competing against some of the best shooters on the West Coast. Lou does a lot of serious comparison testing of components, and he has access to an indoor tunnel. The tunnel allows Lou to eliminate (or at least minimize) wind effects when testing ammo. Over the past few months Lou has been testing turned vs. unturned necks, and he recently posted some interesting conclusions.
Lou writes: “I don’t want to say that what some people have done is wrong for them, but I have been testing for nine months, shooting three to four times a week. I have found that there IS a difference between turned brass and unturned brass. Turned brass has shot better every single time in my tests. However, I have also come to the conclusion that if you shoot with very, very light neck tension it is hard to tell the difference between turned brass or unturned brass. If you shoot with any neck tension, though, turning does make a difference and you can get flyers with unturned brass.
The benefits of neck-turning showed up more in the 22 calibers than the 6mm. Moreover, I shot thick necks in the 6mm better than the 22. I found that the 22 wanted more release that the 6mm. I could get the 6mm to shoot tight necks easier than the 22.
For what it’s worth, I think that everyone should at least clean up their brass with a turner. All these years people have tried to find short cuts in shooting benchrest and every time we always come back to the same steps and care in making brass as before. I think it’s a given that if you want to compete at the top you cannot take short cuts. You may get by once or twice, but in the long run it will hurt you.
Since 1991 when I was on the winning team at the 1st World Shoot in France, I started to experiment and shoot every weird thing I could find or build. I tried more crap, bought and built more guns and while doing this I tried to shoot every shoot I could across the country. I took Tony Boyer’s class three years back, and the first thing he told me was pick a couple of guns out of all of them and shoot 6 PPC and nothing else for the next couple years. He told me to spend my money on barrels for those guns. Well, I did as he suggested and boy, it made a difference in my shooting.
What I’m trying to say to all the guys that have been shooting benchrest for a while and are starting to travel to the bigger matches is, stick with proven goods that have dominated for years, like the 6 PPC, with turned necks. You can try the weird stuff in practice.”
Neck-Turning, Neck Tension, and Longer Bullets
–Does a Different Rule Apply?
Keep in mind that Lou is primarily talking about short-range PPC loads with short, flat-base bullets. Those who are shooting beyond 400 yards typically use longer boat-tail, high-BC bullets. These have a smaller, less pronounced pressure ring, a much longer bearing surface, and weigh two to three times as much as a 6mm PPC match bullet. The longer bullets are also propelled by slower powders, operating in a somewhat lower pressure range than is common for a competitive 6 PPC load. Notably, top 600-yard shooters like Terry Brady and Richard Schatz have found that these long bullets prefer relatively light neck tension, meaning the neck is sized to just .001-.002 under a loaded round.
This takes us back to one of Lou Murdica’s observations. Lou said: “I have also come to the conclusion that if you shoot with very, very light neck tension it is hard to tell the difference between turned brass or unturned brass.” Though Lou was mostly working with the lighter bullets, perhaps his observations explain why unturned brass has worked surprisingly well with the heavier bullets with long bearing surfaces. Since those long bullets typically work best with relatively light tension, maybe the benefits of turning necks are not so great, and that’s why someone like Richard Schatz can win with no-turn Dasher brass. Richard was the 2007 IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year.
This is not to say that turned necks can’t benefit the 600-yard shooter. Murdica also shoots 600 yards, and he believes neck-turning helps long-range accuracy. Don Nielson absolutely dominated the NBRSA 600-yard Nationals using brass that was carefully neck-turned with his Pumpkin neck turning tool. Don strongly believes that his turned necks helped with accuracy and shot-to-shot consistency. So the jury is still out on the merits of neck-turning with longer bullets in bigger cases, but we applaud Lou Murdica for doing some serious research and putting in the “tunnel time” to confirm the benefits of turned necks for the short-range PPC shooters.
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January 29th, 2008
The USA Shooting Safety Coalition has completed a “Basics of Firearm Safety” video that showcases the safety practices of elite Olympic shooters. The video includes USA Shooting athletes and leading industry professionals and “is intended to be part of a comprehensive program for use by instructors while raising the awareness of shooting sports as a competitive, fun, family-oriented, life-long activity,” notes Buddy DuVall, USA Shooting Marketing Director.
CLICK HERE for SAFETY VIDEO
The professionally-produced video features a variety of disciplines from Olympic free pistol to skeet shooting, and includes some nice action footage. Even if you’re a seasoned shooter, the video can teach you a few things. USA Shooting is the national governing body for Olympic shooting sports. Other Safety Coalition members are the National Shooting Sports Foundation, National 4-H Shooting Sports and the International Hunter Education Association. To learn more about USA Olympic Shooting, visit www.USAShooting.org.
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January 28th, 2008
In recent years, spray-on finishes have become a popular alternative to traditional blueing for chrome-moly barrels and receivers, plus other gun parts. Spray-on finishes provide excellent rust-proofing, some degree of abrasion resistance, and many of the finishes also provide increased lubricity for moving parts. (Be aware, however, that these finishes go on thin, and the finish can wear through on high-abrasion areas, such as slide rails on pistols.)
Matte spray-on products work well for hunters looking for a dull, non-glossy finish that blends into the background. A bake-on polymer-type finish is a very good choice for a shotgun or rifle used in the winter or in damp environments (such as duck blinds).
Brownells has created a Six-part series of videos that explain, step by step, how to apply a spray-on finish to gun parts. In Parts I & II, Brownells gunsmith Dave Bennetts explains the basics of spray-on finishes, then shows how to properly prep metal parts for finishing.
In the next four videos, Bennetts provides specific application instructions for four different spray-on gun finish products. Bennetts explains the strengths and weaknesses of each product for particular firearm types. Click the links below to watch the specific product videos:
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 3 – Baking Lacquer
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 4 – Gun-Kote
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 5 – Teflon-Moly
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 6 – Aluma-Hyde II
Of the four featured products, Gun-Kote, sold by Brownells under license from KG Industries, offers superior corrosion resistance, and is probably the most popular of the four products for use on rifles. Gun-Kote was originally developed for the military and was first used by Navy SEALS. Gun-Kote is an “oven-cure” finish applied to pre-heated metal. Though it goes on thin, Gun Kote cures to a hard coating that resists abrasion and won’t wear through as easily as bluing or chemically blackened surface treatments. Brownells Gun-Kote is offered in a wide variety of colors, shown below.
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January 27th, 2008
Last month we featured a new shooting platform from Alamo Four-Star in Texas. Alamo’s DCLW (for “Deros Compact Light Weight”) system featured an innovative, gimballed rifle cradle mounted to a special tripod. This cradle was attached with rocker arms to a rotary head, allowing the rifle to traverse 360 degrees and move up and down up to 75 degrees from horizontal. (READ Dec. 22 DCLW Report).
Equipped with its own dedicated ultralight tripod, the original DCLW system weighs just 4.1 pounds and can be used in all shooting positions: prone, sitting, kneeling and standing. The DCLW was built ultra-light because that’s what the military requested for its troops.
Today we feature a version of the DCLW designed to mount to commercial tripods. Called the “DCLW Head”, this unit can be mounted to virtually any tripod that has a quick-release or screw-on optic mount. The makers of the DCLW Head even offer a machined mounting piece that fits directly into Manfrotto-style tripod quick-attachment mounts. Below you can see the DCLW Head fitted to a photo tripod.
CLICK HERE for FLASH VIDEO showing DCLW Head.
One of the best features of the DCLW gun support system is that it allows a spotting scope or laser rangefinder to be mounted close to the bore axis, inline with the barrel. So, when you elevate or traverse the rifle your scope or LRF moves right with it–following the movement of your muzzle. Put your crosshairs on a new target and your spotting scope or rangefinder will be centered on the target as well. That’s a great feature for varminters–or anyone shooting targets at unknown distances.
Shown below is the DCLW Head mounted on a Manfrotto tripod. You can also see that a spotting scope is clamped on a Picatinny Rail just to the left of the rifle, in line with the barrel.
CLICK HERE for FLASH VIDEO showing DCLW Head.
CLICK HERE for SECOND VIDEO showing DCLW with original lightweight tripod.
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January 26th, 2008
These days, if you want to do serious load development and ballistic testing at the range, a laptop is becoming more and more useful. While a hand-held PDA can calculate come-ups and even handle a spreadsheet, having the large screen and full keyboard of the laptop is very handy.
Currently, many of the better chronographs, including CED, PACT, and the PVM-21 offer optional direct-to-PC interfaces that allow you to track and archive shot and string data, as well as perform various data comparisons. The PVM-21 has a very sophisticated program that tracks multiple bullet design and ballistics variables.
Thanks to a donation from Joe F. in California, we recently acquired a new Windows laptop computer to use for field testing and doing research for stories. The performance and features of the computer, a Dell 1500 Vostro, were good enough that this editor wanted to recommend the product for those of you looking for a low-cost Windows-based computer for home and field use. (NOTE: Apple Macs are great and the latest versions will run Windows natively using separate partitioning and the “Bootcamp” software. However, for a variety of reasons, including cost and backwards compatibility, we wanted to stick to the Windows platform.)
QuickLOAD software running on the Dell laptop:
The Dell 1500 computer arrived fully charged and every port and switch worked perfectly. The machine was immediately stuffed with three ballistics programs, software for three brands of chronographs, plus QuickLOAD, QuickTARGET, QuickDESIGN, Excel, Firefox, GIMP, and PhotoShop. All that software ran just fine.
Here’s what I like about the Dell Vostro:
GREAT Value: Given its feature set, the Dell 1500 is very inexpensive. The base promotional price (before a few upgrades), was $549. This price included 2.0 Gigs of RAM, built-in Wi-Fi, a 250 Gig hard-drive, and a 1.4 gHz dual-core Intel processor. For you non-computer geeks, that’s a very healthy configuration for the price.
Easy Networking: Conventional networking proved incredibly simple and trouble-free. To connect to the office computer I merely activated networking on both machines, then plugged an ethernet cable from the router into the laptop. Voila, I was networked. No muss, no fuss.
Effortless Wireless: The wireless networking is amazing. I opted for the best Intel “next-gen” extended range 4965AGN Wi-Fi card (a $79.00 upgrade). The impressive Intel software found my network all by itself the first time I turned on the machine! The Dell comes with a switchable (on/off) radio unit that automatically scans for networks. I basically was able to access the internet within minutes of turning on the machine for the first time. I later set up secured wireless access, which required reading my router manual, but there were no glitches. I want to stress how easy it was to hook up to a wireless network. And I can even access the ‘Net away from home if I go to a “hot-spot” with Wi-Fi (or pay for a roaming plan). Again, the computer does all the work–it finds the Wi-Fi channel and simply asks “Do you want to connect?”
XP Available: I went with Dell because it is one of the few vendors that will sell you a laptop with XP instead of Windows Vista. Compared to XP, I’ve found that the Vista OS typically takes twice as long to boot up and Vista runs many applications 20-30% slower. Vista also still has serious incompatibility issues with some programs and drivers. With the XP OS, every application and all peripherals worked flawlessly.
Versatile Hardware: The Dell has the full range of ports, including an 8-in-1 Memory Card reader port. This means that I can take pictures and video with a camera, and simply remove the Flash data card from the camera and plug it right into the computer, which reads the card as a separate drive. Fantastic. Because the wireless transceiver is all internal, I still have an open port for a 54mm Express Card. I can also pipe Video from a camcorder directly into the computer.
No Bloatware: I run NOD32 for virus protection and prefer FireFox as a browser. The Dell 1500 did come with Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and Microsoft Works installed, but other than that, it ships with very little annoying, junk software that takes hours to remove.
Good Performance: Battery life is good. Even with the basic, six-cell battery, I was able to run the machine 3.5-5 hours between charges. Run time depends on screen brightness level and how much you access the hard drive. A larger nine-cell battery is available at extra cost. I don’t have any system to meter the processor performance, but when browsing the web with an ethernet hook-up, pages displayed instantly. Some programs actually opened faster than my desktop computer.
Tough Construction: The unit is pretty heavy (6.5 lbs. with six-cell battery), but it is nice and sturdy. It has a magnesium frame and there’s no flex around the screen or the keyboard. Key “feel” is very good and the touchpad is one of the best I’ve tried.
What are the negatives? The screen is average. Brightness is good, but there’s no separate contrast control. I opted for the low-glare, standard screen after reading many complaints that the high-polish “True-Life” screen produced annoying reflections. It would be nice if the computer were smaller and lighter, but if you want a smaller format, Dell offers the Vostro 1400 (14″ diag. screen) for less money. I’m happy with the 1500 with its 15.4″ diagonal screen. That lets me view the AccurateShooter.com Forum at full width, and still see two rows of program icons on the left.
So… there you have it. If you want a good, rugged laptop for under $600 that will run any Windows program, even arcane chrono and ballistics software, the Vostro 1500 is worth a look. And if, like me, you prefer XP over the slow and troublesome Vista, Dell is one of the few companies that will sell you a Windows laptop with XP. For under $600 (base price), I think the Dell is a heck of a unit. Dell even threw in free shipping! I do recommend the Intel Wi-Fi upgrade — it has better range when the signal is weak, and can transfer data faster when the signal is strong. You can spend more for a faster processor and higher-RPM hard drive, but I think the base unit with 2 Gigs of RAM is plenty fast.
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January 26th, 2008
Now through the end of January, 2008, MidwayUSA has cut prices on Barnes, Hornady, Lapua, and Speer bullets. Savings range from 8% to 23%. For Barnes, the sale applies to Varmint Grenade bullets in .22 and .243 (6mm) calibers. Discounts are offered on all Hornady V-Max (varmint) bullets in .17, .20, .22, and .243 (6mm) calibers. (A-Max are NOT on sale.) For Lapua, 6mm, 6.5mm, and 30-caliber Scenars are on sale, both naked and moly. (However, you should check pricing with other vendors on an item by item basis–the 105gr 6mm Scenars still seemed pretty pricey at $32.99/100.) Lastly, the popular Speer TNT bullets are marked down on all these calibers: .243, .257, .264, .277, .284, and .308. The 70gr 6mm TNT hollowpoint looks like a particularly good deal at $17.99/100. (Note: TNTs are very good bullets, but not the best choice for use in one of Richard Franklin’s ultra-high-velocity 300 WSM varminters. The relatively thin TNT jackets won’t hold up to the 3900+ fps speeds the Franklin 300 WSM varminters will deliver.)
Save up to 23%
Save up to 8%
Save up to 14%
Save up to 10%
Before you place your order, be sure to check with Powder Valley (PV) and Midsouth Shooters Supply. Sometimes the standard price from PV or Midsouth will beat MidwayUSA’s sale price. But you have to compare item to item.
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January 25th, 2008
Folks have asked about recommended handgun storage in gunsafes. There are many options, including hanging your handguns on the inside door panel with straps or hooks. The problem with placing handguns on the safe door is that it’s just too easy for Velcro to work loose, or a peg to come out. End result is a dropped pistol. Also, placing your handguns on a door makes them highly visible. That’s a bad idea if your safe is placed in an open area such as a garage or game room.
Our first choice is to place handguns in lockable, sliding drawers inside the safe. Tucked inside silicon-treated Bore-Store bags, and then laid flat inside a drawer, handguns are safe, secure and out of sight. Unfortunately, few safe-makers offer sliding drawer options. If you have a large-enough safe, you can fit your own lockable drawer unit or small file cabinet with locks. These can be purchased at office supply stores or Home Depot type outlets.
If you have limited space in your safe, we recommended the vinyl-covered metal handgun racks from Versatile Rack Company. The 4-Gun rack has approximately the same footprint as a single handgun laying flat. These racks have a strong, welded-steel frame, vinyl-coated to protect the finish of your pistols. We’ve found these work for virtually all size handguns, both semi-autos and revolvers, even when the guns are placed in Bore-Store bags. In fact the fit is just about perfect if you first place a handgun in a Bore-Store bag, which provides about 1/4″ of padding all around the gun.
Versatile offers two models, for either 4 guns or 6 guns. These can be purchased directly from Versatile starting at $29.99. But other vendors such as Midway USA, sell them for less. MidwayUSA currently charges $19.99 for the 4-gun version (item 953075), and $24.99 for the 6-gun rack (item 275638). Click HERE for a 360-degree view of the 4-gun unit. There is also an optional stacking unit, shown below.
One other interesting design is the rotary handgun rack. Cabela’s sells a 9-Gun Rotary Pistol Rack (item IJ-229069) that looks well-built, and is fairly compact. Priced at $49.99, it spins to allow easy access to your handguns. It features foam-padded cradles, and an oak-verneer finish. Unfortunately, with a compact 11.5″-diameter base, there is not enough clearance for scoped revolvers or pistols with red-dot sights. And, from a safety standpoint, we’d rather see the pistols stored muzzle-down than muzzle-up. Still it looks like a clever, compact design that will work with most handguns.
If you like the look of wood, Sportman’s Guide offers a two-tier 12-gun rack for just $39.99. This will hold a large collection of pistols in a relatively compact space, 15.5″ wide x 13″ x 11″ high. There is green felt lining the slots for the barrel/slide and grip base. However, you can see from the photo that the barrel slots are cut pretty low and pretty narrow. This unit gives you a very compact footprint, but the trade-off is a tight fit on larger handguns.
If you have large hunting handguns with top-mounted scopes, or bullseye pistols with fat target grips, consider the Hyskore Modular Rack which holds guns with the barrel on top and level, so there is plenty of clearance for scopes. Hyskore racks are made of soft, closed-cell foam that won’t scratch metal and won’t absorb moisture. Guns are stored in individual foam bins that can be connected together horizontally.The width of each individual bin can be adjusted to fit even very wide target grips. Hyskore racks come in sets of three foam bins. Using 3/16″ threaded crosspins, you can combine the bins into one, long secure unit running the full width of a shelf.
CLICK HERE for Hyskore Rack DEMO VIDEO
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January 25th, 2008
Remington Arms has made a smart marketing move we think — it just signed legendary NFL Quarterback Brett Favre as a spokesman for the company. Under the terms of a multi-year deal, Favre has agreed to represent Remington Arms Company in national advertising campaigns, retail promotions and special events such as industry trade shows and consumer sweepstakes hunts. Favre’s main focus will be on hunter safety, wildlife conservation and youth programs. We think Favre’s affiliation with Remington is good for the firearms industry because it showcases a nationally respected “hero celebrity” who is proud of his involvement in shooting and hunting.
Brett was recently named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year. Favre’s appeal to America is as much about his personal toughness and character as his ability on the gridiron. An avid outdoorsman, Favre is a dedicated hunter. When asked about his idea of the perfect day, Favre said, “If I could squeeze in throwing touchdown passes at a morning practice, lunch with my family and pulling the trigger on a trophy buck at sunset, that would be about as perfect as life can get. And it seems the older I get, the more I treasure the days spent in solitude in the woods. I’ve already hunted about 20 days this season, so this recent agreement with Remington is pretty special to me.”
“Learning that Brett was interested in teaming up with us provided one of those special moments in our company’s long history when you know you’ve got the perfect person on your side”, said E. Scott Blackwell, President of Global Sales and Marketing for Remington. “When you look for sources of pride in today’s American culture, Brett is one of them, regardless of your favorite team.”
Photo Copyright © 2007 Remingon Arms Co., Inc, All Rights Reserved.
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January 24th, 2008
Forum member Dan W. (1bamashooter) has a sweet-shooting 22LR that proves just how accurate a 40X-based rifle with an original barrel can be, when fitted in a modern BR stock. Dan notes: “This is a Remington 40X with factory heavy barrel, Hoehn tuner, and 2 oz. Jewell BR trigger. It now has a Weaver 36x scope on it. I bought the rifle and stock from Ron Lewis, an active rimfire BR shooter who has introduced me to the world of rimfire benchrest. Smith Mark Stillwell did the work on the rifle.”
The action is fitted to a handsome 2-lb. Shehane Baby Tracker in black/white Obeche wood laminate. Obeche (pronounced OH-BEE-CHEE) is lighter that most laminates, and we think it exhibits excellent vibration-damping. Experts agree that vibration control is a key factor in rimfire accuracy. The Shehane Baby Tracker is obviously working well for Dan. Shown below is a TEN-shot group at 50 yards with another five-shot group in the upper right. Pretty impressive.
Gunsmith Mark Stillwell told us: “Ron’s match gun started life as a CMP 40X. I slugged the barrel to find the tight spot. At that measured length the barrel was cut-off and re-crowned, followed by fitting and pillar-bedding the Shehane stock. After final grain-fill on the stock, followed by hand polishing, the Duce looked great. It’s now a bag-riding machine. As you see from the target samples, the little fellow tends to shoot ‘em where you point it. We’ve invited several custom gunsmiths and action-makers to test Ron’s 40X. All were pleasantly surprised….”
Bill Shehane, designer and builder of the Shehane Tracker stocks, notes that “Trackers aren’t just for centerfire rifles. We can inlet for most of the rimfire precision actions including 40X, CZ, Hall, Turbo, and UltraLight Arms (ULA). The stock in the photo is a Black and White Checkerboard Obeche. This pattern, along with Red and Black Checkerboard Obeche, are available on a special order basis — it takes about four weeks for delivery on the Checkerboards. Other Obeche patterns, that I keep in inventory, are French Walnut, Patriot, Indian Blanket, and Indian Paint. The Baby Tracker in Obeche, inletted, weighs just under two pounds.”
For rimfire sporter shooters, Bill noted that he has an even lighter-weight sporter stock based on a modified Baby Tracker. It weighs about 1.5 pounds inletted. That’s light enough that “you can definitely make the 7.5-lb weight limit with a 6X scope”, according to Bill. The sporter stock (shown above) has a narrower fore-end with a slight radius on the underside so it complies with all ARA, IR 50/50 and RBA sporter-class rules. It is available with either a swept-back grip like the Baby Tracker or a more conventional drop pistol grip. Bill inlets his rimfire sporter Obeche stock for the three favored sporter-class rimfire actions: Hall Aluminum (with magazine), ULA Sporter, and the Anschutz 5418. Shehane Obeche Rimfire Sporter stocks retail for $495. Obeche Baby Trackers are the same price.
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January 24th, 2008
We found this cleaning pad (item AX8A-85517) in the latest Sportsman’s Guide catalog. This will help to protect the finish of your firearms while you’re working at your bench. The 16″x54″ Rifle Cleaning Pad uses a unique Zorb-Tech® fabric to absorb oils and solvents. Waterproof backing prevents chemicals from soaking through to your bench-top. The fabric has a soft, felt-like nap that is gentle on your gun’s finish and won’t scratch precision metal parts.
Made in the USA, these stain-resistant pads can be machine washed and dried. Priced at just $11.97, this pad is a useful addition to any loading bench. (NOTE: The same pad, with blue fabric and white NRA logo, is sold by the NRA Store for $12.50). Sportsman’s Guide also offers a 16″x20″ Handgun Cleaning Pad, item AX8A-85517, for $6.97.
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January 23rd, 2008
Forum member Eric Springman has created a nice product for long-range benchrest shooters. He crafts solid-aluminum “Record String” shell blocks for 600- and 1000-yard shooting. These have a wide, stable base, and the top section is angled for easy access. The blocks hold up to 10 record-string rounds and up to 10 sighters, using 10 holes in the base and 10 more in the upper section. The shell blocks are offered with two hole sizes: “Standard” for 6mmBR up to 280 Ackley size cases, and “Magnum” for WSM through 300 WBY/300 Ultra cases. Eric’s shell blocks are CNC-machined and feature a nice brushed finish. The top sections are securely bolted to the base. Price is $65.00 delivered to the 48 states.
To order, or if you have any questions, contact Eric at:
springmanrifles [at] hotmail.com
2260 Pike Peak Rd.
Allenwood, PA 17810
Phone: (570) 547-1905
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January 23rd, 2008
Sgt. 1st Class Grant L. Singley, a service rifle shooter with the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), has been selected as the Military Marksmanship Association (MMA) Soldier of the Year for 2007. This is the second such award for SFC Singley. He was also named MMA Soldier of the Year in 1996. In recognition of his 2007 achievement, Singley received a Smith & Wesson .45 acp pistol from retired MMA president Col. Robert I. Hoidahl.
Singley expressed gratitude to the MMA for the award and thanked his teammates and coaches from the USAMU Service Rifle Team and the gunsmiths of the USAMU Custom Firearms Shop. Singley has been with the USAMU Team for nearly two decades. After completing Basic Training and Infantry Training at Fort Benning, he was assigned to the Army Marksmanship Unit in December 1989.
In 2007, SFC Singley was a member of the Winning Interservice Championship 10-Man Team, the winning National Infantry Trophy Team, and the winning National Trophy Team. At the National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry, Ohio, in August, he was the individual winner of the Mountain Man, Forces Command, Association of the U.S. Army, 25th Infantry Division, Rattlesnake and Porter Trophies. In previous years he has won numerous major matches, including the 2000 National Trophy Individual Rifle Match, where his 497-21x score broke the existing record.
You can learn about the Military Marksmanship Association at MilitaryMarksmanship.org. Visit USAMU.com for more info on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit.
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January 22nd, 2008
The world’s largest international hunting show, SCI’s Annual Hunter’s Convention, will be held at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center (RSCC) in Reno, Nevada from Jan. 23-26, 2008. Most of the major bullet, rifle, and optics manufacturers will be exhibiting at the show. If you can’t make it to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas (Feb. 2-5), the SCI convention gives you the opportunity to view many of the new shooting products and hunting accessories to be marketed in 2008.
The SCI show has long been known for its elite gun and trip auctions. This year more high-end rifles and safaris are up for auction. 2008 Convention attendees can bid on fine firearms, hunting trips, and hunting-related artwork throughout the show. Auctions will be held on the show floor and North Fork Pavillion during the day, while evening auctions will be conducted at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino in the Tuscany Ballroom. CLICK HERE for a schedule of all auctions.
If you want to view some spectacular rifles, some valued at over $100,000, download the Firearms Auction Guide. It contains glossy photos of dozens of custom rifles including classic big-bore dangerous game rifles as well as modern ultra-light hunting arms. Here are three examples from the auction catalog.
Piotti Savanah 3 Double-Gun in .470 Nitro Express
Engraving by G.S. Pedretti
Donor Valuation: $112,000
John Rigby & Co. African Express in .416 Rigby
Donor Valuation: $43,5000
Blaser R93 Selous Ltd. Edition
Two-Barrel Set in .416 Rem and .300 WinMag, each with a Swarovski Z6 scope
Donor Valuation: $29,250
We wish we had the big bucks to bid on these one-of-a-kind special edition rifles. On the other hand, there are two dozen gunsmiths listed on this website who can build you a superb hunting rifle that performs as well (or better) than these glamour queens, at a fraction of the cost. But like Rolex watches and fine wines, these rifles are more about conspicuous consumption than bang for the buck.
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January 22nd, 2008
The Chiafullo Group, a New Jersey-based law firm, has launched a new cooperative program to assist firearms retailers and FFL-holders in matters concerning licensing and compliance with ATF Regulations. Entitled “FFLGuard” this program provides qualified legal advice to subscribing gun-related businesses. In effect, the Chiafullo Group, LLP acts as a cooperatively-financed, de facto “general counsel” to participating clients.
The FFLGuard program is designed to provide participating Federal Firearms Licensees cost-efficient access to trained firearms lawyers and other qualified legal personnel who can respond quickly to protect the client’s business and its Federal License(s). Under this program, the majority of the client’s retainer for participation in the FFLGuard program is held in trust with other participant’s retainer fees. This provides “strength in numbers” so no individual business is saddled with overwhelming legal expenses in the event of a lawsuit or dispute with the ATF. FFLGuard is endorsed by AcuSport, a leading firearms wholesaler.
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January 21st, 2008
Here’s a remarkable video clip demonstrating state-of-the art CNC production of precision gun parts. In the video, created by STAMA America, an HK pistol gun breech is crafted from bar stock through a totally automated drilling/milling procedure. The breech is made by STAMA’s Model MC 726 MT, a unique five-axis, CNC milling/turning center. The five-axis machine is designed for continuous production of complex parts from bar stock and multiple different parts, including weapon components.
The process shown in the 5-minute video actually takes 50 minutes to craft the breech, starting with a 60mm diameter section of 42 CrMo 4 steel. Amazingly, the 5-axis machine employs 25 separate tools in the operation!
STAMA states that its milling/turning machines “can produce even short runs of complex weapon parts in one operation with superior quality, finish and cost efficiencies. Typically, Model MC 726 MT can result in up to 70% reductions in part processing time, according to current customers.”
CLICK HERE to PLAY 5-minute YouTube VIDEO
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January 20th, 2008
We chatted with Richard Franklin of Richard’s Custom Rifles yesterday, and he mentioned that one of his favorite varmint rifles is a 14-twist, 22BR built on his model 11 stock in laminated Black Walnut and fiddleback maple. Richard says the rifle is versatile and deadly accurate out to 400 yards. Richard uses a Leupold 8.5-25×50 with varmint reticle.
“This is my light walking varminter. It’s built on a blueprinted SS Remington 700 short action and chambered as a no-turn 22 BR for Lapua brass. The bolt handle is a Dave Kiff replacement and I’ve fitted a Jewel BR trigger with bottom safety. Barrel is a Lilja, 1:14″ # 6 contour with a muzzle diameter of .750″. I shoot the 40gr V-Max in the rifle at 4000 FPS. Its tough on hogs if you don’t try them too far. 400 yards is about the max with it. Accuracy is outstanding and with Roy, Mike, my grandson and myself shooting this rifle I don’t believe it has missed more than 3 hogs out of over 100 shot at this summer. This rifle is carried in a ceiling rack in the truck where its handy and is used by the first person that grabs it when a hog is sighted if we are moving between setups. The Varmint reticle on the Leupold is nice for quick hold-overs as you change distances.”
Detail of Model 11 Stock (Different Rifle in Birdseye Maple)
22BR Rivals 22-250 Performance
With bullets in the 40gr to 60gr weight range, the 22BR gives up very little in velocity to a 22-250, despite burning quite a bit less powder (30-32 grains for the 22BR vs. 35-38 grains for the 22-250). With a match-quality chamber, the 22BR will probably have an edge in accuracy over a 22-250, and you should experience longer barrel life. Here are some recommended 22BR loads for 40-60gr bullets:
For more info on the 22BR for varminting, read our 22BR Cartridge Guide
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