June 30th, 2008

Sightron 8-32×56 Scope Test, Part II

AccurateShooter.com has been testing one of the new Sightron SIII 8-32×56 target scopes. In Part One of our Sightron Test, Jason Baney reviewed the optical qualities and characteristics of the scope — what you see through the lens.

Sightron Test PART TWO — Mechanical Tracking
Now, in Part Two of our test, Jason took the scope to the range to test how well it tracks, and how repeatable the clicks are. Jason did a variety of tests, including a “box test” at 100 yards, and multi-cycle elevation tracking tests at both 100 yards and 300 yards.

In the box text, Jason zeroed his gun, a 6.5×47 Lapua, then put two shots in the lower left corner of a large sheet of paper. He then clicked up 72 clicks (18 MOA) and fired two more shots. Then he added 60 clicks (15 MOA) right, and fired two shots. Next he went back down 72 clicks (18 MOA) and fired two shots in the right corner. Finally he went back 60 clicks left (15 MOA), and fired two shots in the lower left.


Box test results were impressive. The last set of shots were virtually in the same place horizontally as the first two, just slightly over one bullet diameter below the “start” group. Jason noted: “The ‘last corner of the box’ vertical could easily be mirage, barrel heating, or my hold.” Jason noted that both the left and right vertical legs of the box, measured from group center to center, were exactly 19.8″. The top horizontal side of the box measured 16.375″ while the bottom horizontal was 16.25″. Jason notes: “The horizontal legs were within 0.125″. That difference could have easily been wind.”

Jason made 264 total clicks during the box test. His final two shots were just slightly below the first two — close enough that mirage could explain the difference. Jason concluded: “I think the Sightron showed excellent tracking. I noted that the vertical ‘side leg’ measurements were exactly the same. I didn’t end up in exactly the same spot, but it was really close. The slight shift in elevation could be caused by mirage or barrel heating.”

UP/DOWN Tracking Cycle Tests
To further test the vertical tracking repeatability, Jason shot a five-round group at 100 yards. Before EVERY shot he cranked in 120 clicks (30 MOA) of vertical, then cranked back down 120 clicks (30 MOA). As you can see from the target, the Sightron tracked beautifully. Though there is some horizontal (from wind), the total vertical spread for all five shots is about 0.1″, and that’s as tight (or tighter) than Jason’s rifle can normally shoot, as we explain below. Jason notes: “The group at 100 yards shows about 0.1″ vertical…can’t ask any better than that. So, the scope’s adjustments were obviously not adding any vertical component to the group.”

Test Gun: 6.5×47 Lapua, 123 Scenar, Reloder 15
Test Conditions: 100 yards, 90° F, 50% RH, 0-3 mph wind

Test done with 1/3 MOA Rifle
Jason conducted the test with a 6.5×47 rifle. This is a very accurate gun, and Jason is a great trigger-puller, but this is no rail gun. Repeatable group size for this rifle is typically mid-threes. The Sightron exhibited tracking repeatability inside the normal group vertical spread of this rifle (when no elevation clicks are made). We can conclude then, that the actual vertical tracking shift (after five 30 MOA up/30 MOA down cycles) is negligible.

300-Yard UP/DOWN Tracking Test
To supplement our findings at 100 yards, Jason repeated the 30 MOA up/30 MOA down cycle test with five (5) shots at 300 yards. He ended up with 5 shots with a total vertical of 1.5″ or 1/2 MOA. Again, given the limitations of the rifle and its typical vertical spread at 300 yards, this was very good. Note that three of the five shots went into about 1/2″ of vertical. Jason believes the shot low left was “driver error” or mirage. If that shot is excluded, the total vertical was 0.734″ or 0.234 MOA — which is about as tight as this gun can shoot at 300 yards. Jason concluded: “If you exclude the low left shot, which was probably me or mirage, we have a quarter-MOA vertical group. I’m not sure the gun can do better. In fact, 1/3 MOA is more typical. If scope tracking error was inducing vertical I would have expected the vertical spread to have been much larger. Here’s a situation where we can’t really overcome the gun (and shooter’s) inherent precision limits. I’ll give the Sightron a thumbs up here. If it was even two clicks off after all that cycling, the group would have shifted 1/2 MOA (about 1.5″) up or down, and that didn’t happen.”

Working the Turrets–Mechanical Feel
Jason said the turrets offer a good feel: “The effort needed to rotate the turrets is minimal, but the clicks are very smooth and positive. Overall, the feel is very good for both horizontal and vertical controls. The feel of the side-focus parallax is also good, and the side-focus did not display any lash or focus problems that we’ve observed on some other brands of optics.”

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June 30th, 2008

Tubb Shows High Power Techniques on Video

David Tubb’s latest DVD, “The Art & Technique of the Modern Match Rifle”, is a great resource for any position shooter. This 2-disc DVD provides over 4.5 hours of instruction and shooting demonstrations.

David has included highlights from that DVD in a shorter promo video. While the shorter video is a sales tool, it’s very informative in its own right. Watch the video and you’ll learn a great deal just by watching how David shoulders his rifle, and how he adjusts and maintains his shooting position. David shows examples of prone, sitting, and standing positions. In the short “trailer” David also provides helpful tips on adjusting sights, and placing the spotting scope.

CLICK HERE to View David Tubb VIDEO.

If you shoot Service Rifle, High Power, or prone, you can benefit from watching this short sampler video. The full 2-disc DVD is available for $49.95 from Creedmoor Sports or Superior Shooting Systems. With over 4.5 hours of content, the DVD covers all the across-the-course positions, the set-up and use of aperture sights and diopters, High Power and long range targets, the approach method in offhand, proper placement and use of spotting scopes. The DVD includes bonus footage of David shooting strings in all of the across-the-course positions.

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June 29th, 2008

Hall Dominates IBS 600-Yard Nationals

The 2008 IBS 600-yard Nationals concluded Saturday at Oak Ridge, TN. Many of the nation’s top shooters were there, including multiple world record-holders. Sam Hall was the big winner at the match. He took the Two-Gun Grand Agg, while winning Heavy Gun (HG) group Agg., HG score Agg., and Light Gun (LG) Score Agg. As Greg Seigmund said, Sam “tore the place down.” Glen Sterling shot well to finish second in the Two-Gun Grand. Richard Schatz compiled an impressive 2.242″ average to win Light Gun Group Aggregate. Richard’s Dasher really performed — three of his eight LG targets were mid-inch: 1.395″, 1.473″, and 1.736″. Joel Kendrick shot the small LG group of the match, an 0.984″, but Sam Hall wasn’t far behind, with a 1.089″ on his third target.

CLICK HERE for Complete Match Results (438kb .pdf file). Equipment lists are found on pp. 9-11.

Hammerin’ Hall Talks About the Nationals
After the match, Sam gave us the details of his impressive win: “First off, I would like to thank Larry Sparks, Dave Tooley, Greg Seigmund, Larry Isenhour, Steve Shelp and everyone else that helped out to put on the match. They all did a great job. It was run very well and smoothly. Everyone I talked to said they had a really great time. I really enjoyed meeting all the guys from other states I had heard about and read about. Everyone I talked to was humble and top-notch.”

Q: How did it feel to win the Championship?
Sam: It is just starting to sink in that I won after I have got home. But, I still can’t believe I won. As they say, I was floating around on cloud nine after the win. It really meant the most to me when I got home and got to show and tell my two young boys and my wife what I had done.

Q: What were the conditions like?
Sam: We started with Light Gun each day. Every morning was pretty calm, but by mid-morning the mirage and breezes started. They were very switchy at times. We also had some pretty severe thunderstorms on the first two afternoons that “ate some peoples’ lunch”.

Q: Tell us about your equipment.
Sam: Both my Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) are straight 6BRs, with .268 necks. In LG I shot my Blue/White Shehane-stocked ST-1000 with 103 Spencer VLDs. The blue gun, smithed by BAT’s Tom Dixon, features a BAT M dual port, Broughton Barrel (1800 rounds), and Leupold 45X Competition scope. (Note: the equipment list is incorrect, I did not shot my Leonard-stocked gun in LG). In HG I shot another Shehane ST-1000 (orange/ white) but with Berger 105 VLDs. The orange rifle (smithed by Leonard Baity) weighs 28 lbs. (lots of lead in the stock). It has a Lilja 31″ straight-fluted barrel (800 rounds), BAT MB dual port, March 50x scope.

Q: What loads were you running?
Sam: I have been shooting the same loads in these two rifles for two years: Alliant Reloder 15, CCI BR-4 primers, Lapua brass, with 103 Spencers in my LG and 105 Berger VLDs in my HG. Both are barely in the rifling so my bolt is easy to close and I won’t pull a bullet out if I have to eject a live round (which I did have to do). My LG brass is the original 100 with about 18 reloadings. My bolt lift was getting a little sticky at the top in the middle of the day, so I put ice packs around my ammo in the heat of the day to keep pressure down. I certainly don’t recommend this to anyone! I just know this load and its limits.

Q: What was the key to victory for you?
Sam: I had the mindset when I went into the match that I was going to actually take more time shooting, remember my fundamentals, follow through each shot, and be as careful I could shooting. I figured if I did not get in a hurry, and thought through each shot, I was more likely not to have a big group that would kill me. Richard Schatz said the same thing at the end of the match. Richard tells people you don’t have to shoot little bitty groups at the Nationals to win, you just can’t shoot any really big ones.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the season?
Sam: As far as anything new, I am actually thinking of an improved BR next year for the wind. Hoping I can get the velocity at a lower pressure. I might put these two barrels in semi-retirement and try to get another couple of barrels going. If I can’t get anything shooting better than my old barrels, I will put them back on when the stakes get high again. These two rifles and loads are like old gloves, I am used to them and trust them. They can sit unused for weeks, but when I pull them out, they perform as well as before.

The DQ Problem
Many top shooters experienced DQs during the match. In some cases the DQs were wind-related. However, a number of shooters DQ’d by shooting a record round on the sighter target which remained in place during record fire. After the match many shooters asked “Why don’t they just take down the sighter targets when record fire commences?” That would eliminate this potential problem. Alternatively, a large orange sticker could be placed over the sighter center, warning shooters not to fire at that target. In short-range benchrest, in the case of certain errant shots, there is a rule providing a 1-MOA penalty rather than a DQ. That’s worth considering for the 600-yard game.

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June 29th, 2008

TECH Tips From Sierra's Technicians

In Sierra Bullets’ X-Ring Quarterly Newsletter, you’ll find lots of useful info on ballistics and reloading. Among our favorite regular X-Ring features are the “Short Shots” offered by Sierra Technician Carrol Pilant. Here are some of Carrol’s tips.

General Reloading Advice

● When using a collet style case trimmer, try to tighten the collet down equally each time to keep lengths uniform. If you tighten it down hard, the case will be longer than one you tighten down lightly.

● A little lube on the pilot and cutter on a case trimmer every few cases will help keep it from trying to gall in the case mouth and helps keep the blades sharp and cutting smoothly. It makes trimming an easier task.

● When charging cases from a powder measure, use smooth uniform movement being sure to give powder time to fall into the powder drum chamber. Also be sure to give it time to fall into the case.

● When using mixed cases or cases that have been fired a different number of times, don’t be surprised to get erratic velocities and performance.

● Just because two bullets weigh the same doesn’t mean they can be loaded the same. The amount of bearing surface can vary drastically.


Photo by M. Dunlap

Handgun Reloading Tips

● In revolver cases, rather than try to seat and crimp in one stage, seat in one stage and crimp separately. You won’t have the bulge at the base of the crimp you often get when trying to do it in one stage.

● When roll crimping, if your cases are erratic lengths, your crimps will be erratic also. Cases should be trimmed to the same length.

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June 28th, 2008

NRA Silhouette Nationals Commence

Starting June 28, and running through the middle of July, silhouette shooters will compete for National Championship honors at host ranges in Pennsylvania. Pistol events will be held in Bradford, Pennsylvania, while the High Power and Small Bore Silhouette Rifle Championships will be hosted by the Ridgway Rifle Club in Ridgway, Pennsylvania.

NRA 2008 National Silhouette Championship Events

HANDGUN — Bradford, PA
Hunter’s Pistol: June 28-29
Hunter’s Pistol Metallic Sights: June 28-29
Smallbore Hunter’s Pistol: June 30-July 1
Smallbore Hunter’s Pistol Metallic Sights: June 30-July 1
Hunter’s Pistol Grand (4-Gun) Aggregate: June 28-July 1

RIFLE — Ridgway, PA
Smallbore Rifle: July 5-8
Smallbore Hunting Rifle: July 6-8
High Power Rifle: July 10-12
High Power Hunting Rifle: July 10-12

NRA Black Powder Silhouette and Cowboy Silhouette Championships will be hosted in late July and August, at the Whittington Center in Raton, New Mexico. In addition, the Canadian National Silhouette Championship will be held in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (SK) from July 19-26, 2008.

CLICK HERE for general information on NRA silhouette disciplines. Direct questions to the NRA Silhouette Department by calling (703) 267-1465 or emailing silhouette@nrahq.org .

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June 28th, 2008

Data Cards — Don't Leave Home without One

Three-gun match competitor Zak Smith employs a simple, handy means to store his elevation and wind dift data — a laminated data card. To make one, first generate a come-up table, using one of the free online ballistics programs such as JBM Ballistics. You can also put the information in an Excel spreadsheet or MS Word table and print it out. You want to keep it pretty small.

Below is a sample of a data card. For each distance, the card includes drop in inches, drop in MOA, drop in mils. It also shows drift for a 10-mph cross wind, expressed three ways–inches, MOA, and mils. Zak explained that “to save space… I printed data every 50 yards. For an actual data-card, I recommend printing data every 20 or 25 yards.” But Zak also advised that you’ll want to customize the card format to keep things simple: “The sample card has multiple sets of data to be more universal. But if you make your own data card, you can reduce the chance of a mistake by keeping it simple. Because I use scopes with MILS, my own card (bottom photo) just has three items: range, wind, drop in MILS only.”

Once you have the card you can fold it in half and then have it laminated at a local office store or Kinko’s. You can keep this in your pocket, tape it to your stock, or tie the laminated card to your rifle. If you regularly shoot at both low and high elevations, you may want to create multiple cards (since your ballistics change with altitude). To learn more about ballistic tables and data cards, check out the excellent “Practical Long-Range Rifle Shooting–Part 1″ article on Zak’s website. This article offers many other insights as well–including valuable tips on caliber and rifle selection.

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June 27th, 2008

Can't Find Wolf 22LR Ammo? Try SK Ammo — Same Maker, Same Quality.

Wolf Match Target and Wolf Match Extra ammunition is justifiably popular with competitive 22 LR shooters. Wolf Match Target, at $4.20-$5.00 per box, shoots as well as many types of 22 LR ammo costing much more. But Wolf rimfire ammo is currently in short supply.

SK Ammo — Made by the Folks Who Make Wolf
What to do? Here’s a tip — if you like Wolf Match, try the SK match ammo. SK Jagd Munitions actually manufactures Wolf Match ammo. The gold-box, SK-brand ammo is made in the same German plant as Wolf , and testing shows SK can deliver the same accuracy and reliability as Wolf. The SK Standard Plus is the equivalent of Wolf Match Target, while the SK Match is the equivalent of Wolf Match Extra. SK offers a wide range of rimfire match ammo at affordable prices. Here are current offerings at Champion Shooters Supply:

SK Match: $6.40 (50-rd box)
SK Rifle Match: $5.80 (50-rd box)
SK Standard Plus: $4.20 (50-rd box)
SK HiVelocity: $5.80 (50-rd box)
SK Subsonic: $5.80 (50-rd box)

NOTE: Supplies of SK Standard Plus are limited at Champion, but MidwayUSA has both Standard Plus and SK Match in stock.

USER REVIEWS from MidwayUSA:

SK Match:
“I’ve tried over 20 different brands of match .22LR in my Anschutz 1907 including the various Wolf, RWS, Aquila, Lapua, and Eley loadings and the SK Match was one of the best. It was VERY consistent. 10 shot groups of 0.25″ to 0.3″ are the norm at 50 yards. Unlike most of the other less expensive ‘match’ ammo, the SK has yet to throw a bad flyer in 500 rounds. The Eley Tenex Ultimate EPS and Match EPS gave similar results. I consider the SK Match to be the best value for my rifle.” — D. Fletcher, TN

SK Standard Plus::
“I bought this because the Wolf MT is getting hard to find. This is the same ammo as the Wolf. I tried it in all my rifles and get about the same groups as the Wolf. Had no problems with this ammo and recommend it highly.” — H. Disharoon, VA

“Oh No — The secret’s out! For an exceptional price, this is absolutely the best .22 target ammo. I use it mainly in my Custom Ruger 10/22. CZ 452s just love this stuff. A majority of the silhouette shooters at my club use ‘SK Std Plus’ during matches and practice. I have shot cases of this stuff and can only count very few fliers.” — J. Batterton, AR

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June 27th, 2008

D.C. v. Heller Ruling — The Aftermath

By now, most of you know that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dick Heller, finding that the District of Columbia law barring handguns in the home violated the Second Amendment. That’s great news, but the fall-out from this decision is unclear. The High Court left open the question of how/when this ruling might apply to State gun laws and regulations (via “incorporation” under the 14th Amendment). Likewise, Justice Scalia’s majority opinion acknowledged that individual Second Amendment rights were not without limitation. Many wonder how this case will change American jurisprudence, and more importantly, how this case will impact future challenges to restrictive gun laws.

We’ve read many comments on the Heller decision. Ironically, one of the most cogent analyses of the decision was recently posted on the Democratic Underground Forum. We reprint this here, because it explains what the decision does and does not do, and illustrates how it created a “sea change” in the way courts must consider the Second Amendment from now on:

“The initial impact [of Heller] is tiny — two DC laws will have to be modified. The ruling as it stands has no impact on any other city or state. But it was a TREMENDOUS ruling nonetheless. The Supreme Court has NEVER said anything substantial about what the Second Amendment means. They have finally spoken and settled many arguments.

* It protects an INDIVIDUAL right unconnected to service in a militia.
* It is a right to personal self-defense, that also happens to enable the militia. It is not a ‘hunting and sportsman’s’ right.
* It is a right that pre-existed the Constitution, not one created by the Constitution.
* That right is entitled to at least some degree of protection (to be determined at a later date).

Even if the initial impact is tiny, this ruling is groundbreaking. This is the ‘Roe v. Wade’ of gun rights. The details will have to be fleshed out by future courts and future rulings, but the overall right is established.

Prior to today, there were many who argued that there was no individual right and that guns could be outright banned. After today, the right has been established, and now the long process of defining the limitations on that right begin.

None of our rights are considered absolute by the courts; they all withstand some level of restriction. Now the right to bear arms has been elevated to that position.” — by “SlipperySlope”

Justice Antonin ScaliaWhat Level of Scrutiny Will Apply?
One key legal question remaining is how, in the future, should courts analyze laws that constrain Second Amendment rights. Must the courts apply a “Strict Scrutiny” standard, as with First Amendment cases, or will there be some kind of intermediate standard? The Majority Opinion did NOT enunciate, outright, that “strict scrutiny” shall apply.

In his dissenting opinion, Justice Stevens called for an “interest balancing inquiry” that asks “whether the statute burdens a protected interest in any way or to an extent that is out of proportion to the statute’s salutary effects upon other important governmental interests.”

Scalia rightly savaged Stevens’ concept, noting that a vague “balancing inquiry” is never applied to other Constitutional rights. Scalia wrote: “We know of no other enumerated constitutional right whose core protection has been subjected to a freestanding ‘interest-balancing’ approach. The very enumeration of the right takes out of the hands of government — even the Third Branch of Government — the power to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the right is really worth insisting upon. A Constitutional guarantee subject to future judges’ assessments of its usefulness is no Constitutional guarantee at all.

For more insight into the D.C. v. Heller case, read this Wall Street Journal article by Georgetown Law Professor Randy Barnett: News Flash: The Constitution Means What It Says.

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June 26th, 2008

Supreme Court Rules Second Amendment Confers Individual Right

Today, June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in D.C. v. Heller. The High Court struck down the District of Columbia’s law banning all handguns, even in the home. In reaching this result, in a 5-4 ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed that the Second Amendment secures to all Americans (not just those serving in a militia), a right to “keep and bear arms”. This applies both to hunting and self-defense. This is an historic decision that springs from the very foundation of our Republic. The scope of the decision was broader than expected by some legal experts. We do expect some other gun laws to be challenged in the wake of D.C. v. Heller. On the other hand, the High Court did acknowledge that some firearms regulations are both necessary and legitimate, so don’t expect a wholesale dismantling of gun laws nationwide.

CLICK HERE for FULL S.CT. Opinion (.PDF file, 157 pages)
MIRROR LINK for Supreme Court Opinion
READ QUOTES from Majority Opinion

Justice Scalia wrote the 64-page majority opinion. Voting with him were Chief Justice Roberts, Justice Alito, Justice Kennedy, and Justice Thomas. That left Breyer, Ginsburg, Souter, and Stevens in the anti-Second Amendment camp. Justices Stevens and Breyer both wrote lengthy dissents. It is actually quite disturbing that four members of the court believe that the Bill of Rights’ Second Amendment does NOT protect American citizens’ right to use arms for self-defense. Stevens wrote: “there is no indication that the Framers of the Amendment intended to enshrine the common-law right of self-defense in the Constitution.”

Scalia’s Majority Opinion noted that, historically, the Second Amendment was recognized to confer an individual right:

“‘[T]he people,’ refers to all members of the political community, not an unspecified subset. We start therefore with a strong presumption that the Second Amendment right is exercised individually and belongs to all Americans.”

“The 19th-century cases that interpreted the Second Amendment universally support an individual right unconnected to militia service.”

“Every late-19th-century legal scholar that we have read interpreted the Second Amendment to secure an individual right unconnected with militia service.”

Scalia concluded that the Second Amendment must recognize individual rights: “There seems to us no doubt, on the basis of both text and history, that the Second Amendment conferred an individual right to keep and bear arms. Of course the right was not unlimited, just as the First Amendment’s right of free speech was not[.]”

“Undoubtedly some think that the Second Amendment is outmoded in a society where our standing army is the pride of our Nation, where well-trained police forces provide personal security, and where gun violence is a serious problem. That is perhaps debatable, but what is not debatable is that it is not the role of this Court to pronounce the Second Amendment extinct.”

Victory for Now — But What Looms Ahead?
It is time for gun-owners and shooting sports enthusiasts to celebrate. But keep in mind that it is possible that one or even two High Court Justices may retire during the term of the next President. If that President is a Democrat, one could expect an anti-Second Amendment judge to be appointed. So…the fight never ends.

Supreme Court DC v Heller

“Today’s decision by the U.S. Supreme Court is a major victory for all Americans,” said National Shooting Sports Foundation President Steve Sanetti. “The Heller decision reaffirms the wisdom of our founding fathers in creating the Bill of Rights to protect and preserve individual rights, the cornerstone of our democracy. Furthermore, this decision solidifies an historical fact… that governments have powers, not rights — rights are reserved exclusively for individuals.”

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June 26th, 2008

OK NRA… Now Take the Ball and Run

The 5-4 decision in D.C. v. Heller represents a great victory for advocates of Second Amendment rights. Gun owners nationwide, and all who support the rights of free men in a democracy, should indeed celebrate this ruling. However, the battle is far from over. Gun advocacy groups must NOT become idle or complacent, saying “Great, we won, everything will be fine.” The battle has just begun. It is now more important that ever for the NRA and all organizations supporting gun rights to re-double their efforts to challenge unconstitutional and burdensome laws.

As reporter Charles Weller wrote famously: “Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country.” The hard fight is just beginning. The decision in the Heller case provides legal ammunition to continue the fight — both to oppose new anti-gun legislation and to challenge existing laws which infringe on individual rights to keep and bear arms. Personally, I would like to see this Supreme Court ruling spawn dozens of legal challenges around the country. It’s time to go on the attack. We have an opportunity now that may come just once in a century. It’s time to get committed and fight for our rights. Groups like the NRA should start “earning their keep” and lead the effort to overturn existing unconstitutional gun regulations.

Click Here for Latest News on DC v. Heller, including audio interviews with legal experts

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June 25th, 2008

Bag-Boosting Trick for Prone Shooting

shooting mat shelf linerMost rear sand-bags (from Edgewood, or Protektor, or SEB) are optimized for use on the bench with low-profile stock designs like the McMillan Edge or Kelbly Klub. If you use these bags when shooting from the ground F-Class style or with bipod, you may find the rifle is too low to the ground for comfort. Yes you can suck in your belly and crank down your front rest, but it makes more sense to elevate the rear bag. Jason Baney has a simple solution that costs under $4.00 in materials.

SEB Sebastian Rear Sand Bag

Get a small 12″x12″ section of 1″ thick plywood and trim it to fit the base of your bag, leaving maybe 1/2″ extra on all sides. Then get some rubberized, waffle-pattern GRIP-IT shelf-liner from your local home improvement center, and attach it to the underside of the wood. Alternatively, if you want a more rigid base (with less ‘give’) for hard, flat ground, use high-durometer unlined Neoprene, available from industrial supply shops. Glue a layer of shelf liner or Neoprene on the bottom and top of the plywood. This will give good grip on your shooting mat and provide a stable, non-slip surface for the base of your sandbag. If you need more elevation, just use a thicker piece of wood, or sandwich two pieces together. NOTE: We’ve used the shelf liner with zero problems on a concrete bench, but some folks say the shelf liner is too squishy for serious BR work. If you’re concerned about that, use the hard neoprene instead.

If you need a riser with more mass, Dave Dohrmann sells high-durometer Neoprene riser pads in 1/2″ through 1″ thicknesses, starting at $22.00. Dave offers risers cut to fit both Protektor and Edgewood footprints. Call Dave at 864-884-0155 or email dbugholes[@]aol.com. With textured surfaces top and bottom, Dave’s heavy pads work equally well to elevate your bag on the bench.

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June 25th, 2008

Field Pants on Sale at Cabela's — $7.88

You read that right. The price on these M-65 Camo Field Pants is just $7.88. Only two sizes are offered at this bargain price — Medium (Tall) and Large (Tall). Cabela’s claims these are genuine M-65 style field trousers, like those used by the U.S. Military. A couple of buyers said that the pants, while excellent, are thinner than true Army issue. Nonetheless, they are comfortable and sturdy, cut from rugged, heavy-duty nylon-cotton rip-stop fabric. NOTE: these pants do NOT have normal cuffs. Instead there is a drawstring. This helps keep snow and brush out. The Cabela’s M-65 pants are a good choice for hunting and general outdoor wear. They are cut very generously, with adjustable waist tabs.

Here are some user reviews:

CptSlab: “These are just like the M-65 field pants used in the military. They are cut baggy in the legs, thighs and seat for flexibility and to accomodate an optional button-in poly liner for cold weather wear. The material is very tough. There are plenty of pockets and adjustment tabs at the waist. Without the liner they are great for spring and fall.”

9Scout: “I have gone through several pairs of these over the years and I love the extra room and flexibility of these pants. They allow for extra layers underneath in cold conditions or just for single-layer coverage on warmer hunts. The tied ankle cuffs keep seeds and snow out of your boots also.”

Farv: “these pants are tough, have enough pockets for the job, and you can’t get a better all-round camo than good old Woodland. I would have given them 5 stars but the sizing is off — sizing chart suggested I was a large but that was way too big and had to re-order a medium.”

FREE Shipping: If you click through on the Cabela’s link (right column), you can get free shipping on $150.00 minimum orders. Use Code 68FREE on checkout.

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June 25th, 2008

Shooting USA Covers Camp Perry Centennial This Week

This week, Shooting USA repeats its broadcast featuring the 2007 Centennial matches at Camp Perry. If you missed it the first time, this “must-see” episode also highlights the 100-year history of the Camp Perry National Championships.

The first Service Rifle competition dates back to the late 1800’s. In 1903 President Theodore Roosevelt formally authorized the national matches to encourage better marksmanship for soldiers and civilians. In the beginning, the matches were held at different locations across the country, but in 1907 Camp Perry (now an Ohio National Guard base) became the permanent site. 100 years later, the tradition continues as America’s most prestigious shooting competition. The annual national matches are a combined effort of the Guard, the Civilian Marksmanship Program and the National Rifle Association.

Shooting USA airs Wednesday Nights on the Outdoor Channel:

Eastern Time 4:30 PM, 8:30 PM, 2:00 AM (Thursday)
Central Time 3:30 PM, 7:30 PM, 1:00 AM (Thursday)
Mountain Time 2:30 PM, 6:30 PM, Midnight
Pacific Time 1:30 PM, 5:30 PM, 11:00 PM

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June 24th, 2008

Quality Action Sleeves from John Loh

Many of our Canadian readers were interested in John Loh’s new action sleeves because it is difficult for them to import custom actions. A sleeve stiffens a factory Remington action while increasing the bedding surface. Based on Speedy Gonzalez’ proven design, Loh’s new sleeves are CNC-machined from the highest grade Aircraft aluminum. The sleeves feature a Panda footprint, integral recoil lug, and built-in Davidson scope rail. To learn more, call John at (562) 602-5553, or email him at his website, JJ-Industries.com.

John Loh Action Sleeve Remington

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June 23rd, 2008

Sam Hall Shoots 0.913", 50-5X group at 600 Yards

Sam Hall of Boonville, NC has been the man to beat at 600 Yards this season. It looks like he nailed yet another IBS record with that hot-shooting 6BR of his. On June 14, at the Piedmont Gun Club in Rutherfordton, NC, Sam fired a 0.913″ five-shot group with his 28-lb 6BR Heavy Gun. The group was fully centered up, scoring a 50-5X on the new, smaller 600-yard target. Sam told us: “I believe this group is the smallest 50 ever shot in competition — with 5Xs to boot.” The previous record, we believe, was a 50 (1.174″) by Terry Brady.

Sam Hall 6BR IBS Record

Sam tells us: “This was the first group of the morning at Piedmont. Conditions were good …. I put 11 MOA elevation into my new March 50X scope (mounted just the day before) and almost hit the 2 1/4 inch skeet sighter on the first shot. On my last two shots on the skeet, I could see my shots hit dead center, so I knew I was on.

During record fire, I relaxed, took my time, because conditions were not changing, and let the rifle do what it was capable of. (I feel this rifle can hold 1.5″ at 600 pretty consistently, in windless conditions.) At the end of the 5 shots, my spotter, Brian Moore, and myself could see a little cluster in the middle of the bull. When that target was posted, man was I one happy fellow!”

Sam Hall 6BR IBS Record

GUN INFORMATION — HALL’s HAMMER
Action: BAT MB, RB-LP-RE. 1.40″ diameter.
Barrel: 31″ Lilja, 1.25″ straight, fluted, 1:8″ twist, 4 groove, .236 bore
Cartridge: Standard 6mmBR Norma, .268 neck, .104 freebore, Kiff Reamer
Stock: Shehane fiberglass ST-1000, orange and white, with “lots of lead” in buttstock. Gun is 28-lbs overall.
Scope: New March 50X, Target CH, Kelbly X-high rings.
Gunsmith and Stocker: Leonard Baity.

RELOADING DATA:
6BR (standard) with .268″ neck (.267″ loaded round), Berger 105 VLD (from last year’s orange box) +.010″ into rifling, 31.0 grains Reloder-15, CCI BR-4 Primers, Lapua Brass. Velocity, about 2970 fps.
WARNING: This load IS TOO HOT for most rifles.

Sam’s 6BR Heavy Gun Holds Multiple Records
NOTE: This combination holds three IBS 600-yard world records at this time: A 192 Score, a two-gun (LG and HG) group agg. of 1.955″, and now a score record of 50-5X, 0.913″. Also, this gun shot an 0.870″ at Oak Ridge, TN in March (the Record, at that time, was 0.861″ by Terry Brady).

Sam Hall 6BR IBS Record

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June 23rd, 2008

Oak Ridge Hosts IBS 600-Yd Nationals, June 26-28

From June 26-28, the 2008 IBS 600-yard National Championship will be held in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, at the Oak Ridge Sportsmen’s Assn. (ORSA) facility. We expect many of the nation’s top 600-yard shooters will be attending the event, including record-holders Terry Brady, Mike Davis, Sam Hall, and Mark Schronce. If the weather cooperates, new records could be set.

ORSA offers 20 Benches, to accommodate 80 competitors in four relays. Eight targets will be fired for both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG). On Thursday, LG will shoot 3 targets and then HG will shoot 3 targets. On Friday, HG will shot 3 targets and then LG will shoot 3 targets. On Saturday, LG will shoot 2 targets and then HG will fire two targets. Sunday is the rain make-up date. The range will be open for practice on Wednesday, the 25th.

If you plan to shoot and haven’t registered already, do so right away! Entry fee for 2 guns is $150. Entry fees for one gun (either Light or Heavy) will be $80. For more info, contact Larry Sparks, larrysparks [at] chartertn.net .

RESOURCES:
Directions to Range
Oak Ridge City Information
GPS Location for ORSA: 35° 59′ 14.00″ N 84° 19′ 30.90″ W

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June 22nd, 2008

User Donations More Important Than Ever

According to the web tracking service Quantcast, this website now reaches an audience of over 40,000 shooters worldwide. As our audience grows, so do our expenses. We are facing increased costs for bandwidth, Forum hosting, phone charges, product shipping, and transport. So, user donations are more important than ever.

We have had donations from many generous individuals. We thank them for their vital support of the site. But 99.9% of our site users have never contributed — though they may use the site on a daily basis. Remember that all the content we provide is FREE. Even our very effective Classified Ads are free. But in order to continue to offer free content for all, we need to increase revenues. We encourage those who have not contributed to the site before to consider a $12.00 donation — that’s just one dollar a month for an entire year’s worth of information, updated daily.

Consider Giving One Dollar a Month
If even 10% of our users donated just $1.00 per month, i.e. $12 a year, that could make a huge difference. One dollar is less than the price of a cup of coffee. A movie ticket can cost $9.00 or more for 90 minutes of entertainment. Compare that with $12.00 to help maintain a site that provides a full year’s worth of articles, gear reviews, match reports, and much more.

Donate by Check or via PayPal
You can make a donation (via PayPal), using the “DONATION” buttons found on our Home Page and on our Shooters’ Forum (at bottom of page). You do NOT need to have a PayPal account, so long as you have a credit card.

DONATION Button on Home Page:

Making Donations by U.S. Mail
If you don’t wish to use the PayPal system, we also accept checks sent via the U.S. Mail. Jason Baney handles the mailed-in contributions. Please include a short note with your name and Forum “nickname” (if any). Make the check payable to “Jason Baney” and mail your check to:

Jason Baney
P.O. Box 308
Douglassville, PA 19518

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June 21st, 2008

New Tubb 111gr 6mm Bullets to Ship

Many readers have been asking: “When are the new 6mm plastic-tipped 111gr Tubb bullets going to be available?” Well, we talked to David Tubb, and he indicated the new DTAC 111-grain MJPT (Match Jacket Plastic Tip) bullets should start shipping next month. These bullets have a shorter bearing surface than the older DTAC 115s, so they should be more versatile, and not require rifles to be chambered with such a long throat. The Ballistic Coefficient, calculated on the bullet design, should be around 0.575. However, David notes that, as with all bullets, the exact BC is velocity-dependent.

CLICK HERE for DTAC 111 Information Sheet (.pdf file)

DTAC Tubb 111 bulletDavid predicts that this new bullet will be more accurate than the DTAC 115 — David’s testing showed superior overall performance from the slightly lighter-weight projectile. The 111 should also be easier to tune than the 115. The 111-grainer’s bearing surface is .015″ shorter than the 115. The jacket draw on the 111 is shorter than a 107 SMK. David says: “Shorter draw translates to better jacket consistency.”

The new 111gr bullet features a plastic tip. This, David believes, provides more consistent bullet-to-bullet BC — and tests by others support that view, so long as the tips themselves are uniform and properly attached. David says: “The typical out-of-the-box bullet could have a spread of 10% in true BC, from bullet to bullet. With the plastic tips you cut down the BC variance considerably. What we’ve seen in field testing is a spread of only 2% in actual bullet BC. This has reduced the shot-to-shot velocity spread as actually measured at long range.” When bullets maintain more uniform speed over the course of flight, you may see tighter groups with reduced vertical spread, all other factors being equal.

This new DTAC 111 MJPT will be available either “naked” or coated with Boron Nitride (BN). Call (806) 323-9488 for current pricing and to place an order. Visit www.DavidTubb.com for more details.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 5 Comments »
June 21st, 2008

Timex Altimeter, Barometer, Thermometer Watch

Temperature, Atmospheric Pressure, and Altitude — all these things can and do affect bullet ballistics. Moreover, temperature changes can alter powder performance and chamber pressures. The smart reloader takes the predicted ambient temperature into account. And when calculating your come-ups and windage click values, you need to factor in Temperature, Air Pressure, AND Altitude.

Kestrel 4000 Weather TrackerHow do you keep track of these important variables when you’re shooting? The Kestrel 4000 Pocket Weather Tracker®, is compact and provides a wealth of information: atmospheric pressure, altitude, density altitude, temperature, humidity, wind speed, wind chill, dew point, and heat index. We like the Kestrels and recommend them. But at $279.00, a Kestrel 4000 is too expensive for many shooters.

Timex now offers a solution. For about $56.00-$80.00 street price, the Timex Expedition® Adventure Tech™ watch (item T41501EA) displays Altitude, Barometric Pressure, and Temperature (ABT). The thermometer function records temps from 14° F to 140° F. The Altimeter reads from -2,296 feet to +29,520 feet with 10-foot resolution. The Barometer tracks current and sea level pressure, and provides a graph of pressure changes over time.

Timex Altimeter Watch

Encased in a stainless housing with a resin band, the Timex watch is water resistant to 50 meters, and offers many other nice features, including dual time zones, countdown timer, alarm, and backlit nightlight (very handy).

There are other quality watches, such as the Suunto Core, that provide Altitude, Atmospheric Pressure, and Temperature read-outs. But, at under $70 street price, the Timex costs one-fourth the price of the Suunto. Amazon.com is currently offering the Timex Temp/Altitude/Barometer watch for $55.97 – $79.95 (depending on source). It is offered with a silver band as well as the black shown above.

Useful Tool or Just Another Gadget?
Is this watch really useful or just another piece of male jewelry? Well just last week a friend was developing loads for his PPC. While chronographing his loads he wanted to input the ambient temperature, and current air pressure in his log. We just had to guess on those numbers. It felt like 90°+, but it may have been in the mid-eighties. With the Timex we’d have had reliable data (Note: it’s best to take the watch off your arm when gauging air temp). For this editor, the Timex ABT watch is a useful tool. I bought one and will be using it during load development and when shooting competitively.

Here’s an owner’s review: “I have been through a Nike ABT, a Swiss Army ABT, and a High Gear ABT watch this year alone. None of them, which cost quite a bit more, have been as accurate and durable as this Timex. It has a better fit, was easy to use and read and just plain ‘on the money’ as far as forecasting weather and altitude. Also, I have not had to take it off my arm for 10-15 mins to get a decent temperature rating. It has always been within 1-3 degrees of actual temp. And I live in the Carribean in a tropical climate… so, for it to be this accurate is a statement in itself.”

And here’s an interesting comment from one purchaser: “I bought this watch to set the jetting on my racing go kart. I needed to know field elevation, and temperature. Plus changes in barometric pressure as the day went on. Most teams use a weather station and computer that cost over $700 for this purpose. My watch and accompanying chart (for the motor) has given me the same results.” If this watch works for racers, it can work for our “internal combustion” precision bullet-launching machines as well.

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June 20th, 2008

Canadian 6-6.5×47 Tackdriver

The folks at Adams Lake Rifle Barrels in Chase, British Columbia, Canada have crafted a 6-6.5×47 tackdriver that is both accurate AND affordable. Smithed by Mick McPhee, the rifle is built on a blue-printed Remington XR-100 action, with custom recoil lug and Jewell. The barrel is a 28″, 4-groove, 8-twist Krieger, in a #17 Heavy Varmint contour. The complete project including the new XR100 action, was less than $2000 (Canadian) not counting scope and “Ski” bipod. The rifle was chambered with a Whitley 6mmHot reamer, and is fitted with a 12-42×56 BR model Nightforce in Leupold QRW rings on a Ken Farrell base.


Adams Lake Rifle Barrels is an authorized Canadian source for Krieger barrels. How accurate are Kriegers? Shown below is a 3-shot .094” group shot at 110 meters during load development of the 6-6.5X47.

Adams Lake also supplied a 6mm Krieger barrel for Forum member M. Thibault’s new 6mmBR rifle, shown below. This handsome gun is a Barnard-actioned 6BR Norma with a Krieger 1:8″ twist, with a modified #17 contour, 1” muzzle diameter. The gun has proven to be phenomenally accurate. Right out of the box, with limited time for load development, Thibault put it in the winner’s circle. Shooting in only his second-ever rifle match, Thibault steered this rifle to first place in the KTSA Spring 300M shoot.

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