August 31st, 2008

Federal Upgrades Website with Ballistics Info and Video

Federal Premium Ammunition has completely updated its website with many great new features for shooters. The new site is so rich, it takes a while to find all the new options. (Check out the Federal SITEMAP below.) For rifle shooters and hunters, two new features really stand out. First there is an interactive ammo information page that provides load components and ballistic data for all Federal ammo. Second, the upgraded Federal website is now “video-rich” with many high-quality product videos.

CLICK HERE for Federal Ammunition SITEMAP showing all content.

Ammo Information Page
The new Interactive Ammo Info Page gives you detailed data for every type of ammunition Federal makes. Choose a chambering and load, then the web page will switch to detailed entries, with velocity (fps), energy (ft/lbs), wind drift (10 mph 90°), and calculated drop out to 500 yards. Data is provided for six distances: muzzle, 100, 200, 300, 400, and 500 yards. Click on a thumbnail chart and you can see the data presented in a graphical format (x,y axes).

Federal Ammunition Video Player

Dedicated VIDEO Player and New Product Videos
Federal’s new VIDEO PLAYER offers a variety of Product Videos. Watch “The Bullet Breakdown” to see performance of popular hunting bullets in ballistic gelatin. You can also DOWNLOAD “The Bullet Breakdown” (and other videos) to your hard drive.

Federal Ammunition Video Player

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
August 31st, 2008

Shipping Guns and Gun Parts

Gunsmith Nat Lambeth (“RustyStud” on our Shooters’ Forum) offers the following advice for readers who need to ship rifles or major gun components (actions, barrels etc.) to gunsmiths or repair facilities.

“You have several options when shipping your guns to and from a Gunsmith. I’ve tried them all and had problems with them all. Here are some pointers:

1. Always package your unloaded firearm so that it is not loose and can’t work itself loose during transport. I recommend, at minimum, you use a hardcase inside a cardboard box. You can order a hard case from any of the 6mmBR.com website catalog advertisers. It will come in a nice cardboard box. Just open the end and slide it out. Put your gun in the plastic hard case (after oiling the metal parts) and slide it back into the box. Then tape and relabel the box. Make sure marking on the box does NOT identify the contents as a gun. (You may be required to identify the contents to the shipping company or U.S. Postal Service clerk however.) For a very expensive gun, consider using a wood shipping crate. I will be making some shipping cases from plywood and foam line them. I will have to charge my customer a deposit and when they return the shipping crate I will return their deposit.

2. Pack individual components carefully, and enclose them in separate bubble wrap (or styrofoam) if there is any chance the parts can contact one another. Your editor had an experience where the finish of a fine, blued handgun was ruined because the repair facility had placed old, replaced trigger parts loosely in a foam-lined case with the handgun. During shipping these spare parts worked back and forth, gouging and scratching the pistol.

3. Confirm the recipient’s address BEFORE you ship. Individuals and businesses change locations all the time. Don’t assume an address you used a few months ago is still valid. It’s tempting to use old addresses that are pre-configured in the UPS or Fedex web-based shipping programs, but you should always confirm address validity prior to shipping.

4. Always put the sender’s and recipient’s telephone number on the outside of the box with the address. I have neighbors call me all the time saying I have a box that was delivered to them by mistake. If there is any way the label could be torn off or ripped, write the number on the cardboard with a felt pen.

5. Always send your packages insured for full replacement value. Take time-dated pictures of the contents before you ship. (This is yet one more reason to get an inexpensive digital camera, such as the Canon A590IS.) If you’re shipping a firearm with special collectors’ value, deluxe wood, or engraving, be sure you have detailed, high-quality photos of the item so you can prove its worth.

6. Always send firearms and expensive components “Adult Signature Required” if by FedEx, UPS, or DHL. If they are sent via U.S. Postal Service, send them restricted delivery. This insures a tracking number and verification they got to their destination. If you ship USPS, it’s not a bad idea to pay a little extra for the green return receipt. That’s one more piece of evidence that works in your favor if the recipient claims non-delivery. The green card also reminds the carrier to confirm the address.

7. Keep all your shipping documentation for a year after the package has been received. There could be a unseen damage that turns up several months down the road. This illustrates the importance of carefully inspecting items you receive immediately. Don’t let a box sit around for days before you open it.

8. Handguns are by law required to be sent by common carrier (unless you are an FFL holder). Most of the common carriers have their own rules requiring overnight or next day delivery. Long guns can be sent by ground and you can use the U.S. Postal Service. Companies such as FEDEX and UPS may try to stick you with a higher cost shipping bill by claiming that rifles and shotguns must go next day or air. That is not true. Long guns can be shipped via ground. Do check local laws however–California has special rules regarding ARs and registered “assault weapons”.

9. Keep an eye on your gun by monitoring the tracking number. You can do this online with FEDEX, UPS, and USPS. If your package does not reach its intended destination, when it is supposed to be there, then initiate a traceright away. Don’t wait.

When Something Goes Wrong–Filing Claims
In my experience it takes from 7 days to 10 months to get a settlement on a claim. Don’t hesitate to take a shipper to small claims court if necessary. If the shipper gives you the run-around, filing a small claims action may be the best $40.00 you can spend. It only costs $40.00 to start a small claims action and the subpoena is another $5 bucks. Usually sending a subpoena to an officer will result in a rapid settlement. It is cheaper for the carrier to settle than have their corporate bigwig stuck in some small claims action. Realize the carrier usually is not the insurer.

I have had two claims within the last 10 weeks and neither has been settled yet. In both cases the barelled action was double-boxed ,and in one case it was also inside a piece of schedule 80 PVC pipe and was broken. The other was in a double-walled cardboard box. The action was bent at the action barrel juncture, it now looks like a boomerang. The muzzle was pushed through six layers of double wall corrugated box.

I quit using UPS over a year ago. Depending on how FEDEX settles these last two claims, I’ll decide whether I use their services again. Your editor prefers FEDEX as he has found that they paid non-delivery claims swiftly and at full value. One thing for sure, if you use USPS you have the Postal Inspectors and the BATF looking for your gun if it is lost.”

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August 30th, 2008

Bryan Litz — Marksman, Rocket Scientist, Ballistics Guru

One of the great things about our Shooters’ Forum is that many uniquely talented shooters share their knowledge and test findings. One of those experts is “bsl135″ aka Bryan Litz. Bryan is no ordinary “weekend warrior”. He graduated from Penn State with a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He then began a career as a missile design engineer at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. He has written many ballistics programs and technical papers dealing with long-range flight dynamics of projectiles. Bryan is also a superb long-range shooter, holding an NRA High Master Classification. At this year’s NRA National Championships at Camp Perry, Bryan beat 258 other competitors to win the Palma Individual Trophy Match. Bryan shot a remarkable 450/26x, not dropping a single point.

Breaking News: Just today, Bryan won the Ohio State Midrange Championship, an iron sights event with 15 shots each at 300, 500, and 600 yards. Bryan shot a spectacular 450/39X. Again, Bryan didn’t drop a point and his X-count would make this a new National Record, pending certification. Congrats Bryan!

Bryan also has his own website with a number of authoritative articles. Topics include: Bullet Design, Meplat Trimming, Gyroscopic and Coreolis Drift, Palma Bullet Analysis, How Ballistics Programs Work, and Ballistic Coefficient Testing. CLICK HERE to visit BRYAN LITZ Website.

7mm Bullet BC Testing — Evaluating the Numbers
Bryan does a lot of testing for bullet-makers, evaluating the performance of various bullet types. One thing he has observed is that manufacturers’ published BCs may vary considerably even for two bullet designs that appear to be nearly identical. In our Forum, Bryan offered this interesting analysis of the 7mm Berger 180gr VLD and the similar 7mm JLK 180gr VLD:

“I’ve developed a repeatable procedure for test firing bullets to determine ballistic coefficient. If you get Precision Shooting Magazine, the March issue has one of my articles about test firing the Berger .30 cal 155gr VLD. Long story short, my test procedure uses acoustic sensors in 200-yard increments to measure time of flight out to 600 or 1000 yards. My BC measurements are repeatable to within +/- 2%, usually within +/- 1%.

I have tested several 7mm bullets. Of particular interest are the Berger 180gr and JLK 180gr bullets. If you look at these bullets side by side, it’s hard to tell a difference between them. I believe the JLK bullet dies were made from the same set of prints as the Berger VLD (Design by Bill Davis of Tioga Engineering). So … why would these bullets have different [published] BCs? They’re the same weight and the same basic shape [with very minor differences in OAL and bearing surface length]. This is just the kind of smoke and mirrors that makes shooters think there is something mysterious about BCs and exterior ballistics that’s beyond the realm of human understanding. I was pleased with the results of my testing of these two bullets: the BC is virtually the same, as expected. All is right with the world.”

Drag Models — G7 is better than G1 for long-range Bullets
Most ballistics programs use the default G1 drag model. Bryan believes the G7 standard is preferrable for long-range, low-drag bullets: “Part of the reason there is so much ‘slop’ in advertised BCs is because they’re referenced to the G1 standard which is very speed sensitive. The G7 standard is more appropriate for long range bullets. Here are the results of my testing for these two bullets:

G1 BCs, averaged between 1500 fps and 3000 fps:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.659 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.645 lb/in²

The reason the BC for the JLK is less is mostly because the meplat was significantly larger on the particular lot that I tested (0.075″ vs 0.059″; see attached drawings).

For bullets like these, it’s much better to use the G7 standard. The following BCs are referenced to the G7 standard, and are constant for all speeds.

G7 BCs:
Berger 180 VLD: 0.337 lb/in²
JLK 180: 0.330 lb/in²

Many modern ballistics programs, including the free online JBM ballistics program, are able to use BCs referenced to G7 standards. When available, these BCs are more appropriate for long range bullets.”

[Editor’s NOTE: BCs are normally reported simply as an 0.XXX number. The lb/in² tag applies to all BCs, but is commonly left off for simplicity.]

Effect of Bullet Pointing
Bryan has also tested the effect of pointing bullets. He’s determined that this does have a positive (if small) effect on ballistics. Bryan writes: “I have measured the Berger 180 VLD in both nominal and pointed meplat configurations. Pointing the meplat from 0.059″ to 0.039″ increases the G7 BC from 0.337 lb/in² to 0.344 lb/in². This results in less than 2″ difference in 1000-yard wind drift (10 mph 90°). The improvement is small, perhaps negligible for standard decimal prone targets with large scoring rings. The improvement is more significant for F-Class targets with smaller scoring rings. That being said, I do point my own Berger 180 VLDs that I shoot in prone competition. It’s fast, easy, doesn’t hurt anything, and every little bit helps.”

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 6 Comments »
August 30th, 2008

Sources for Premium .222 Remington Brass

The .222 Remington is a superbly accurate cartridge. Younger shooters may not remember, but the .222 Rem (aka “Triple Duece”), dominated short-range benchrest before the 6PPC took over. For years, Triple Duece fans could depend on premium Lapua .222 Rem brass. However, Lapua has halted production of .222 Rem cartridge brass for the time being.

.222 Remington brass

Many Forum members have asked, “where can we find high-quality .222 Remington brass?” Sinclair Int’l carries Norma .222 brass (see above), but it’s quite pricey, at $85.50 per 100 (item BR222). This is quality brass, though many shooters felt that it may not stand up to high pressures for as many reload cycles as will Lapua .222 Rem brass.

Forum members have tracked down remaining quantities of Lapua .222 Rem brass in Canada. RPS International of Alberta lists Lapua-headstamp .222 Rem brass in stock at a price of $69.00 CND per hundred. That price is in Canadian Dollars and is subject to change. Contact Mr. Joe Ponto at RPS Int’l, (780) 962-3395 or Fax (780) 962-1443, sales [at] rpsinternational.com. This won’t last long….

CLICK HERE to download RPS Int’l price lists.

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August 29th, 2008

Drive Safe This Holiday Weekend

Today, millions of Americans will hit the road to begin a long, Labor Day weekend. We urge you all to drive safely. Don’t try to cover too many miles, or drive long distances at the wee hours of the morning. Fatigue can be a killer. An average of 115 persons die each day in motor vehicle crashes in the United States — one every 13 minutes. Every year over 43,000 Americans die in auto accidents and there are roughly 2.9 million injury cases. The cost of these accidents exceeds 230+ Billion dollars.

Famed Shooters in Recent Road Accident
Think an accident can’t happen to you? Consider this… Just a few days ago, when returning from the Camp Perry National Championships, Mid Tompkins and Nancy Tompkins (at left) were involved in an accident in Kansas. Mid and Nancy are both legendary long-range shooters, and Nancy is the author of the excellent book, Prone and Long-Range Shooting. Mid was driving a van, pulling a trailer. It was late at night, and (for reasons unknown) the van and trailer went off the road and rolled over. Mid suffered cartilage and rib damage. Nancy was trapped in the van for 20 minutes before rescue workers cut her free. She was then air-lifted to a Topeka hospital and treated for leg, knee, and shoulder injuries. Fellow shooters Bob Jones and Steve McGee were following on the same highway and helped the rescue effort. Thankfully, neither Mid nor Nancy sustained life-threatening injuries, and we send them our prayers for a full recovery.

Nancy recently posted on Long-Range.com: “Mid is doing well, but is very sore. His ribs — front and back — are bothering him and he has a nasty cut on this left elbow with some lacerations. I have a broken right tibia (leg bone), right patella (knee) left shoulder, and a tear on my left rotator cuff, a broken nose and very sore ribs and face. No matter what, we feel very blessed to have survived this. We made it as did our three cats that we absolutely love and adore.”

Drowsiness Degrades Driving Skills
A driver who is very fatigued will suffer impairment in his driving skills similar to being intoxicated. Even if you don’t nod off or blank out, drowsiness impairs your reaction time, degrades your peripheral vision, and dulls your ability to concentrate on the road. Remember that when traveling at 60 miles per hour, you’ll cover 90 feet in just one second. Nodding off for just an instant could be fatal, as the following video explains:

YouTube Preview Image

Night Driving — A Special Warning for Older Drivers
A significant percentage of competitive shooters (if not the majority) are over 45 years of age. As we reach “middle age” and beyond, our night-vision degrades significantly. This is a progressive process, and most individuals don’t notice a change from year to year. Scientific studies have shown that a 50-year-old driver needs twice as much light at night as does a 30-year old driver. Older eyes also do not recover from glare as well as young eyes. Pupils shrink and don’t dilate as much in the dark as we age. Various reports indicate that the retina of a senior citizen receives far less light than the retina of a 20-year-old. This can make older drivers function as though they are wearing dark sunglasses at night.

CLICK HERE for National Safety Council Tips on Night Driving.

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August 29th, 2008

40th Anniversary Rifle Raffle for Williamsport Club

The Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) marks 40 years of 1000-yard shooting this year. Williamsport, the birthplace of long range benchrest shooting, held its first match in 1968. Many key aspects of long range benchrest, as we know it today, can be traced back to the Williamsport range and its founders.

PA 1000-yard BR Williamsport

To celebrate Williamsport’s 40th year, and to raise funds, a Commemorative Rifle has been built by the members of the Williamsport Bench rest club.

PA 1000-yard BR WilliamsportThe rifle is chambered in 6mm Dasher. Components include: BAT action, Jewell trigger, Bartlein barrel, Baer stock, and a Nightforce BR scope. Many club members contributed time to fabricate the rifle, which would retail for $4000+. The rifle sports Bruce Baer’s innovative “Sidewinder” off-set stock. Mark King chambered the rifle. Springman Rifles pillar-bedded the stock, and Gary Hendrix applied the clearcoat. Engraved rifle components carry the Club’s logo and denote this as the 40th Anniversary Rifle — a true one of a kind.

The 40th Anniversary Commemorative Rifle will be raffled off to raise funds for much-needed range improvements. Raffle receipts will be used to repair the pit wall, which, after 40 years, has deteriorated. Fund raised will allow the pit wall to be straightened, reinforced, and elevated, with a new roof installed over part of the pit area. The raffle is limited to 1000 tickets, priced at $20.00 each. Raffle tickets can be purchased by mailing a check or money order (payable to “Original PA 1000-Yd BR Club”) to:

Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club
P.O. Box 1413
Williamsport, PA 17703

Please include a note with your payment stating that it is for 40th Anniversary Rifle Raffle. Your raffle tickets will be returned by mail. Tickets cost $20.00 each. The winning ticket will be drawn at the Club’s annual banquet on October 18, 2008. The winner will be contacted via phone, email or USPS mail, and his name will be posted on the Club’s website, www.pa1000yard.com.

PA 1000-yard BR Williamsport

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August 28th, 2008

Handsome FREE Desktop 'Wallpapers' for Your Computer

Remington Arms offers a handsome collection of photographic “wallpapers” you can use as backgrounds for your computer’s desktop. There are dozens of stunning, high-resolution photos, all free for the downloading.

Remington Arms Wallpaper

Remington Wallpapers are available in 640×480, 800×600, 1024×768 and 1280×1024 pixel sizes and can be used on both PC and Mac computer systems. After downloading each file to your computer, you can set the image as your desktop background via your system control panel (or, with some operating systems, just open the picture file, right click on the image, and designate the photo as “desktop background”.)

Remington Arms Wallpaper

Be sure to look through the wallpaper collections for years 2007 and earlier, as well as the current collection. The 2001 collection has gorgeous product shots of rifles and shotguns, while the 2005 and 2006 collections feature stunning outdoor nature photography. (There are 12 wallpapers per year. Below are previews of half the images from 2005 and 2006).

CLICK HERE for 2007 and Older Wallpaper Sets.

Remington Arms Wallpaper
Photos © copyright Remington Arms Co., All Rights Reserved.

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August 28th, 2008

Leica 10×42 Ultravid HD Earns 'Best of Best' Award

The new-generation Leica Ultravid 10×42 HD Binocular has been named “Best of the Best” by Field & Stream magazine. Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best” award selects winners based on design, dependability, and value. The Ultravid 10×42 is offered in both basic and HD (“high definition”) versions. The premium HD model features Fluorite-Ion Lenses for reduced chromatic aberration and enhanced color rendition plus state-of-the-art lens/prism coatings that transmit 3% more light. External lenses have an “AquaDura” hydrophobic coating that sheds moisture.

The Leica Ultravid HD binocular was introduced in 2007. The new Ultravid HD offers a marked increase in depth of field, contrast, and light gathering while retaining a compact size. Leica Ultravid HD binoculars are offered in a variety of models: 8×32, 10×32, 7×42, 8×42, 10×42, 8×50, 10×50, and 12×50. The Award-winning Ultravid 10×42 HD is available from SWFA.com (item 40294) for $2295.00. The “regular” (non-HD) 10×42 Ultravid (item 40262) is considerably less expensive at $1,479.95.

Leica Ultravid 10x42 HD binoculars

10000Birds.com Review:
“Optically [the Ultravids] are without doubt the best binoculars I’ve ever used — clear, sharp, and with no fringing at all. Thanks to the use of lightweight materials like magnesium for the housing and titanium for the central hinge shaft I no longer feel like I’m carrying a boulder around my neck after a day in the field, and the neck-strap is as comfortable as expected. I’ve used them on five continents already, at high-altitude, in strong sunlight and at dusk, in light rain and strong winds, and they have performed exceptionally well every time. They don’t fog-up, they don’t let in dust and — as the manufacturers booklet suggests — you can clean them by running them under a tap!”

Birdwatching.com Review:
“Because of its superb optical resolution and contrast, the Ultravid belongs in any list of the top binoculars of the world. Look through a Leica Ultravid, and you’re immediately struck with how bright and clear the image is from the center of the generous field of view to the outer edges, and how true and free from bias are the colors.”

Great Optics but Just Too Expensive?
The Washingon Times had an interesting take on Field & Stream’s “Best of the Best Awards”: “If you just hit the lottery and money is no object, the best top-of-the-line binoculars, say the experts at Field & Stream, are the German Leica Ultravid 10x42mm HD at $2,095. The best mid-priced binocs were Leupold’s Mojave 10x42mm at $480. Okay, so [the Ultravids] are the best, but I’ll never throw away my 20-year-old Bushnell binoculars I paid a little over $100 for. I love ’em. Seriously now [despite what F&S says] … we’re idiots if we buy the most expensive item when another performed just as well.”

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August 27th, 2008

'Extravaganza of Silhouette' This Labor Day Weekend

This Labor Day weekend (Aug. 30 through Sept. 1st), the Los Angeles Silhouette Club (LASC) hosts its annual ‘Extravaganza of Silhouette’. This major west coast silhouette FUN MATCH combines all the popular disciplines (rimfire AND centerfire) in one spot. The cost is $50.00 for three days and “all the entries you can shoot”. Classes will include: Long Range – Smallbore – Hunter/Field Pistol – Smallbore Hunter Pistol – Cowboy Rifle – Smallbore Rifle – Cast Bullet Rifle.

For more info visit LASC Extravaganza Page.

Extravaganza organizers say: “From its conception in 1995, the Extravaganza has only one purpose — more fun than you can have in three days! It is the only major event anywhere with IHMSA & NRA Silhouette shooters and even non-silhouette shooters together with common goals — shooting, fun, food, door prizes and camping in a huge, non-championship three day holiday weekend. The extravaganza is a celebration of the shooting sports and those that participate in it. It is LASC’s way of saying ‘Thank You’ to everyone that has ever shot Silhouette, worked on a range or helped support the shooting sports.

The Extravaganza offers 27 different categories of handgun and rifle, small bore and long range silhouette shooting for one $50.00 entry fee for the entire three day event. At the Extravaganza, most firearms and action types are welcome — if you have it, bring it! The only restriction is target damage, so bring plenty of ammo for all of your guns. Included in your $50.00 entry are TWO all-you-can-eat BBQs, free tent camping, free RV electric hook-up, free gun drawings, free door prizes and more.”

Good Food Served All Weekend
Modestly Priced Breakfast & Lunch Served All Three Days. Free All You Can Eat BBQs For All Paid Participants Saturday & Sunday Evenings. (Guests can pay $5.00 for the Saturday BBQ or $10.00 for the Sunday BBQ.)

Located at the Angeles Gun Ranges
126451 Little Tujunga Canyon Road
Lake View Terrace, CA 91342

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August 27th, 2008

Stuck Bullet? Solve Problem with Drop Rod

sinclair bullet drop rodWhen using the Stoney Point type OAL gauge (now sold by Hornady), we sometimes get a bullet stuck in the rifling. This can also happen with a squib load or when extracting a round with the bullet seated hard in the lands. You can use a cleaning rod or a wood dowel to tap out the bullet, but a brass drop rod will do the job faster and easier, with less risk of nicking your crown.

You can make a drop rod yourself from brass or bronze rod. Just make sure to smooth over any burrs or rough spots on the ends. Or just order a set of brass bullet drop rods from Sinclair Int’l. You drop the Sinclair Rods (item 52-500) down the barrel from the muzzle end with the rifle standing upright. Sinclair Bullet Drop Rods are made of brass so they will not harm the rifling in your barrel. Each $11.50 set consists of two Drop Rods that will handle .20 up to .416 caliber.

Remember, for safety sake, Drop Rods are never to be used to dislodge live or loaded rounds! Always remove the Drop Rod from the barrel before chambering another round!

Sinclair Bullet Drop Rod

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August 26th, 2008

Exotic Hunting Videos Online

If you’re a fan of hunting in scenic, far-away places, you’ll enjoy Petersen’s Hunting Adventure Television. While the plots are predictable (Gun Mag writer hunts with local outfitter), the scenery is often stunning, worthy of Nat Geo. The producers have put highlights of some of their best shows online. You’ll find 4-minute clips of leopard hunting in Namibia, Ibex hunting in Spain, and a Cape Buffalo safari in Zimbabwe. Our favorite clip features a hunt for Dall Sheep in Alaska’s glacier country near the southwest border of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Legendary hunting writer Jack O’Connor hunted this area, near the headwaters of the White River. During the stalk, the hunters do some serious high-altitude trekking through spectacular mountains. This 4-minute featurette is worth watching for the photography alone.

CLICK HERE to watch Alaska Dall Sheep Hunting VIDEO.

Alaska Dall Sheep Hunt

Short, 1.5 minute previews of 2008 broadcasts are also offered online. Featured videos include: Tanzania Plains Animals (classic safari), East Africa Mtn. Buffalo (dangerous game), British Columbia horsepack hunt for Mtn. Goat, Sitka Deer Hunt in Alaska Islands, and Winter Elk hunt in Colorado.

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August 26th, 2008

D.C. Residents Exercise Constitutional Gun Rights

DC First Shots NSSFThe landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in D.C. v. Heller recognized the Constitutional right of District of Columbia residents to own handguns. In the wake of this victory for gun rights, on August 24th, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) sponsored a free “First Shots” seminar expressly for District of Columbia residents.

Participants received an introduction to handgun shooting at the Arlington-Fairfax Isaak Walton League shooting range in Centreville, Virginia. A classroom presentation covered topics such as D.C. firearm regulations, safety, grip, sight alignment and trigger control, and then it was on to the range where participants shot .22-caliber revolvers and pistols, with a certified instructor by their side. The team of NRA-certified instructors was led by multiple USPSA and IDPA champion Julie Goloski.

Many female D.C. residents came to the seminar. Attendees also included legislative staffers and a reporter from the Washington Informer, an African-American newspaper in the District. “We were very pleased with this initial First Shots seminar for D.C. residents,” said NSSF President Steve Sanetti. “It shows that District residents, after having their Second Amendment rights denied for over 30 years, have a strong interest in firearms ownership.” Smith & Wesson and Taurus provided loaner pistols and revolvers. Sunday’s program was the first in a series of planned no-cost First Shots seminars in the D.C. area.

‘First Shots’ Programs Offered Nationwide
Interested in hosting a “First Shots” session at your club or range? CLICK HERE to learn more about the First Shots program, or watch the promo video linked below.

Click Here to Watch Video of NSSF First Shots Seminar at Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, AZ.

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August 25th, 2008

'Stainless' Steel — How Rust-Proof in Fact?

Some folks feel that they don’t have to worry about rust and corrosion on stainless steel barrels, actions, and other components. That’s not really true. “Stainless” is a bit of a misnomer. First, there are different types of stainless steel alloys, with different degrees of rust resistance. 300 series stainless is more corrosion resistant than the 416 stainless commonly used in barrels. The composition (by percentage weight) of 416 stainless is 0.15% carbon, 12-14% chromium and the rest iron. 416 stainless steel lacks the roughly 10% nickel content that makes the 300 series more corrosion resistant in atmospheric conditions.

stainless steel barrel Techshooter

Though some grades of stainless are more corrosion-resistent, ALL varieties of stainless steel can rust if they are not handled and stored properly. Forum reader Kells81 observed: “Wanna see some rusted stainless? Go to the big “C” brand store in Ft. Worth. Every stainless gun they have on the used gun rack is rusted.” Tom Easly of TRE Custom explains: “Sweat is very corrosive. Sweat and blood will rust many stainless steels. I hate to handle my guns or drip on them when I sweat. It really helps to just wipe them good with a wet rag, dry and wipe on a light coating of gun oil. I think most stainless barrels are made from type 416 stainless, and it is generally pretty corrosion resistant, but not when exposed to sweat, blood, or chlorates (corrosive priming), and some other electrolytes.”

Forum member Jacob, who is studying materials science at LSU, provides this technical information: “The basic resistance of stainless steel occurs because of its ability to form a protective coating on the metal surface. This coating is a ‘passive’ film which resists further ‘oxidation’ or rusting. The formation of this film is instantaneous in an oxidizing atmosphere such as air, water, or other fluids that contain oxygen. Once the layer has formed, we say that the metal has become ‘passivated’ and the oxidation or ‘rusting’ rate will slow down to less than 0.002″ per year (0.05 mm per year).

Unlike aluminum or silver, this passive film is invisible in stainless steel. It’s created when oxygen combines with the chrome in the stainless to form chrome oxide which is more commonly called ‘ceramic’. This protective oxide or ceramic coating is common to most corrosion resistant materials.

Halogen salts, especially chlorides, easily penetrate this passive film and will allow corrosive attack to occur. The halogens are easy to recognize because they end in the letters ‘ine’. Listed in order of their activity they are: fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, astatine.

These are the same chemicals that will penetrate Teflon and cause trouble with Teflon coated or encapsulated o-rings and/ or similar coated materials. Chlorides are one of the most common elements in nature and if that isn’t bad enough, they’re also soluble, active ions. These provide the basis for electrolytes. The presence of electrolytic solutions can accelerate corrosion or chemical attack.”

CONCLUSION: Stainless steel barrels and components won’t rust nearly as fast as blued steel, but you still have to take precautions — particularly removing sweat and corrosive salts from the barrel. Also, don’t let moisture build up inside or outside of the barrel.

We recommend wiping your barrels and actions with Eezox, or Corrosion-X after each use. These are both extremely effective rust-fighters that go on thin, without leaving a greasy residue. (Eezox leaves a clear finish, while Corrosion-X has a slightly waxy finish.) Also store your guns in Bore-Store synthetic bags when the guns go in the safe. Bore-Stores wick away moisture, and the synthetic fleece inner surface is treated with rust-fighting chemicals. Bore-Stores also protect your guns against dings and scratches. To discuss rust formation on stainless steel, visit this FORUM Thread.

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August 25th, 2008

Protect Your Neck from Harmful Sun

Labor Day Weekend is coming up. Here’s a smart, simple item that will come in handy during hot summer weather. The Solarstop elastic hatband will fit over the crown of any baseball-style cap. (Yep, you’ve probably got dozens of baseball caps, right?). The draped fabric provides 30+ UPF protection for your neck and ears. When things heat up, dunk the soft microfiber fabric in the water for relief–it cools you down fast and dries quickly.

This smart accessory is sold by Cabelas.com, CampMor.com, and Great Outdoors Depot, for $9 to $12.00. Campmor also offers the similar “Sunday Afternoons Solarweave Cap Curtain”, featuring 50+ UPF quick-drying supplex nylon that blocks 97% of UVA and UVB rays. The Cap Curtain features decorative webbing in the front with a velcro sizing adjuster in the back.

These designs are simple enough that anyone with basic sewing skills could make their own cap-top neck drape in a few minutes. (If the wife has a sewing machine this would be a snap). If you make your own unit, be sure to use sun-blocking fabric. Plain cotton or polyester won’t work as well. UV protection is key.

[Editor’s Note: Why, you may ask, am I recommending this somewhat goofy-looking product, and why have I featured sun hats previously in the Bulletin? Well, the risk of skin cancer is very, very real. I just had a basel cell carcinoma removed last week. Trust me, sunscreen and ear/neck protection is a lot cheaper than going to the doctor. Folks who spend much time in the sun really need to watch this stuff–get yourself examined every year. A malignant melanoma can kill you in a few months. Early detection is vital.]

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August 24th, 2008

TECH TIP–Neck Tension vs. Time

This may surprise you. We’ve learned that time (between neck-sizing operation and bullet seating) can have dramatic effects on neck tension. Controlling neck tension on your cases is a very, very important element of precision reloading. When neck tension is very uniform across all your brass, you’ll see dramatic improvements in ES and SD, and your groups will shrink. Typically you’ll also see fewer fliers. Right now, most reloaders attempt to control neck tension by using different sized neck bushings. This does, indeed, affect how firmly the neck grips your bullets. But time of loading is another key variable.

neck tension reloading timeJames Phillips discovered that time is a critical factor in neck tension. James loaded two sets of 22 Dasher brass. Each had been sized with the SAME bushing, however the first group was sized two weeks before loading, whereas the second group was neck-sized just the day before. James noticed immediately that the bullet seating effort was not the same for both sets of cases — not even close.

Using a K&M Arbor press equipped with the optional Bullet-Seating Force Gauge, James determined that over twice as much force was required to seat the bullets which had been neck-sized two weeks before. The dial read-out of seating force for the “older” cases was in the 60s, while the seating force for the recently-neck-sized cases was in the 20s. (These numbers correspond to pounds of force applied to the bullet). Conclusion? In the two weeks that had elapsed since neck-sizing, the necks continued to get tighter and stiffen.

Lesson learned: For match rounds, size ALL your cases at the same time. If you want to reduce neck tension, load immediately after sizing.

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August 24th, 2008

Teflon Benchrest Stock Tape Sources

Mike Ratigan, author of the definitive print guide to benchrest shooting, Extreme Rifle Accuracy, knows the importance of a smooth-tracking stock. A gun that recoils more consistently is easier to shoot accurately. Reducing friction on the fore-end and toe of your riflestock can help the gun track better in the bags. The easiest way to reduce friction is to apply stock tape. Ratigan says the best stuff he’s tried is clear 3M-brand Teflon® tape. According to Mike it adheres well, lasts a long time, and reduces friction “as well as anything you can buy”. Mike reports “You won’t wear this stuff out–it’s basically a permanent fixture”. The tape is sold by Ron Hoehn, Hoehn Sales, Inc., (636) 745-8144. Ron’s 5-mil thick Teflon tape kit ($7.00) is enough for two rifles, with 5″x5″ sections for the front and 2.5″x6″ panels for the rear.

3M Skived Teflon Stock Tape

You can purchase a Teflon stock tape kit from Sinclair Int’l for $12.50. This has four 5″x5″ segments, enough for two rifles. But if you have a large collection of rifles, you’ll save big bucks by buying directly from a bulk tape supplier. C.S. Hyde Company, CSHyde.com, (800) 461-4161, sells 6″-wide, flexible Teflon-coated and UHMW tapes that work great, with either rubber, silicone, or acrylic adhesives. The price works out to about $1 per rifle.

MiKe Ratigan recommends the “Skived” (blade sliced) PTFE Teflon .005″ tape with silicone adhesive, item 15-5S. This is very low-friction and highly conformable, so it bends easily around your stock contours. You’ll need to call for custom 5″ or 6″ widths, and expect to pay about $50 for a 5-yard-long (180″) roll.

A less expensive option is the UHMW (ultra-high molecular weight) Polyethylene Tape with High Stick Acrylic Adhesive, item 19-5A. C.S. Hyde explains: “UHMW Polyethylene provides a nonstick, low-friction surface similar to PTFE tape but with much higher abrasion and puncture resistance. It is ideal for anywhere high-pressure sliding contact occurs.” The price is just $33.96, for a 6″-wide by 5 yard-long roll, enough for 36 rifles! Compare that to spending $12.50 for four 5″x5″ pieces. On Benchrest.com, AbinTX reported that C.S. Hyde “sent [him] samples of various thickness to try out before ordering. They will price a roll for you depending on how wide and how long you want.”

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August 23rd, 2008

Sinclair International Now Stocking Nightforce Scopes

Sinclair International, a leading vendor for precision reloaders and competitive shooters, has added Nightforce Optics to its inventory of products. Nightforce scopes remain the first choice of most top long-range shooters, including F-Class National Champions. The Benchrest and NXS models offer high magnification (up to 42 power), clear, sharp optics, and very reliable and repeatable windage and elevation adjustments. Nightforce also offers a large variety of reticles. How good is the glass? With a 12-42 Nightforce BR or NXS, in ideal conditions, you can see 6mm bullet holes “in the white” at 600 yards (not razor sharp mind you — but enough to see shot placement on a white background). We just confirmed this ourselves this past weekend. Of course, viewing conditions truly have to be absolutely “perfect” (no mirage) to see 6mm holes at 600 and such conditions are normally short-lived, but the resolving capability is there with the high-magnification Nightforces.

Sinclair’s pricing is competitive with other authorized Nightforce vendors. For example, the
12-42x56mm Nightforce BR scope (item 72-1040/45) is $1306.00 while the 8-32×56 Benchrest model (item 72-1030) is $1211.00.

Shown above are some of the most popular reticles, but others are offered. CLICK HERE to view Nightforce’s complete selection of reticles.

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August 23rd, 2008

Sturdy Reloading Bench Plans on NRA Website

The NRA’s American Rifleman Online website has an excellent article this month that shows how to construct a rock-solid Reloading Bench. There are plenty of photos, and a detailed set of Bench Blueprints showing all dimensions and listing all needed materials. This bench is very well designed, with many deluxe features, such as an upper drawer with fitted slots for die boxes, and large lower drawers with 100-lb rated slides to store heavy materials or tools. If you have good wood-working skills this would be an excellent project for the fall or winter (but if you’ve never done anything but assemble IKEA furniture, you may want to stick to a simpler design).

The author, Dave Campbell, offers good advice on building the bench top: “I ripped a sheet of 3/4″ AC plywood into two 24″ wide pieces and cut them to 72″ long. Then I glued them together to form a 72″ long, 1 1/24″ thick top. The trick here is to keep the edges smooth and flat so that the laminate will adhere properly and without voids. I chose a light grey laminate finish for the top because it’s easier to see what I am working on and keep clean. If you have never worked with laminate, remember it’s prudent to glue and rout the edges flush before gluing on the top. The top was attached to the carcass with eight steel L-shaped angle brackets and No. 10×1 1/4″ wood screws.”

Photos Copyright © 2008 The National Rifle Association, used by permission

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August 22nd, 2008

Boyer Succeeds with Bartlein Gain Twist Barrel

At the recent IBS 100/200 Yard Nationals, Benchrest legend Tony Boyer shot a spectacular 0.1697 Grand Agg in the Heavy Varmint class (0.1552 at 100, and 0.1843 at 200). This is the combined, distance-adjusted average group size for five targets at 100 yards and five targets at 200 yards. Interestingly, Tony was shooting a very unusual new gain-twist barrel from Bartlein Barrels of Wisconsin. A “gain-twist” barrel has rifling with a variable twist rate, that starts with a slower twist and transitions into a faster twist. The barrel used by Boyer had a very slight gain twist: 1:15″ twist at the breech end, increasing to 1:14.25″ at the muzzle.

Gain twist barrels are nothing new. Barrel-makers in the 19th century experimented with gain twist. More recently, Dan Lilja did quite a bit of testing with gain-twist barrels in the 1980s. However, Lilja concluded that gain twist offers no accuracy advantages: “You get just as good or better accuracy with a standard twist…just as long as the twist remains exactly the same the entire length of the bore.” (See Elements of Accuracy Article.)

Gain Twist — Does It Offer an Accuracy Advantage?
Given Boyer’s impressive performance, maybe it’s time to revisit gain twist technology. The theory is that a slower initial twist rate may be “kinder” to bullets as they start to engrave in the rifling. There may be some slight velocity advantages as well.

Frank Green of Bartlein barrels has noted: “Gain twist type barrels have been around forever. It was used a lot back in Pope’s day with the false muzzle loaders shooting lead bullets. A lot of lead bullet shooters and rimfire shooters have asked us to do [gain-twist] barrels for them. Also shooters shooting the new, solid, machined-type bullets with driving bands on them want a gain twist type barrel. Supposedly it’s easier on the driving bands as the bullet enters the rifling. Also in bigger calibers like 20mm the gain twist is used. Mostly because you are starting a very heavy bullet into the barrel.

At Bartlein, we designate gain-twist type rifling as “T” style rifling (“T” for transitional). Why? Simply because we can cut [many variations]: straight conventional-style twist, a very uniform slow gain-type twist, or a radical gain-type twist. We can [create] anything the customer wants. The tooling still plays a part and can effect the cost of the barrel on a gain type twist.

Is gain twist for everyone? At this point in time I would say no still. Also remember, way back when, gain twist type barrels had a radical type gain. The one that Tony and couple of other guys have are not a drastic type gain. The [gain twist barrel] that Tony has only goes from a 1-15 at the breech to 1-14.25 at the muzzle. It didn’t seem to hurt him at all at the Nationals. He picked the twist and we made it for him.

I would agree with the general statement that most gain twist type barrels don’t shoot conventional jacket/lead core bullets well or should I say [they can be] temperamental. However, a slight gain seems to be OK after what Tony did.”

Lou Murdica has been evaluating Bartlein gain-twist barrels with a 1:14″-1:13.25″ twist. Lou won a Benchrest match with a 14-13.25 Bartlein gain-twist in Sacramento convincingly, and Lou told Bartlein that a similar gain-twist barrel on Lou’s railgun has been very accurate and ultra-consistent when tested with a wide variety of bullets. Lou can’t speculate as to why, but the Bartlein gain-twist BR barrels appear to be working extremely well and are not finicky about bullet choice.

Tony Boyer photo courtesy IBS.

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August 22nd, 2008

Boron Nitride Sources and Application Procedures

Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN) is an advanced bullet-coating material. HBN, also known as ‘White Graphite’, has similar (hexagonal) crystal structure as graphite, though it is a much better lubricant. For those who prefer shooting coated bullets, HBN appears to have many advantages over molybdenum disulfide (moly). First, it is much more slippery, so it can reduce friction more effectively. Second, it goes on clear, and when applied correctly it doesn’t leave a dusty, chalky finish that can come off on your fingers. Most importantly, HBN will not react with moisture to leave potentially harmful chemicals in your barrel.

Hexagonal Boron Nitride Bullet Coating

Boron nitride-coated DTAC bullets are sold by Superior Shooting Sytems (David Tubb). Tubb’s company also offers HBN bullet-coating services for a fee (minimum quantity 1000). However, many shooters want to plate their own bullets with Boron Nitride. Lowerfriction.com sells hexagonal boron nitride dry lubricant powder in 1-lb and 10-lb quantities. The two particle sizes appropriate for bullet coating are 70 nm (MK-hBN-N70-Nano) and 0.50 micron (MKhBN-050). Some shooters prefer the smaller 70 nm version, while others say the larger 0.50 micron works fine. Lowerfriction.com sells 70 nm HBN for $90.00 per pound, and the 0.50 micron HBN for $79.00 per pound. CLICK HERE for order page.

Lowerfriction.com allows provides instructions for coating bullets with Tungsten Disulfide (WS2), but company technicians say the same procedure can be used with HBN:

Tumbling/Vibratory bowl coating
This method is ideal for bullets and other small parts. Speed and friction determine how effectively the material bonds to the part. The greater the speed and the pressure of application, the greater the bond. For best results use a power tool. A buffing wheel, Dremel tool or even a hone can be used.

Clean and degrease the part.
Take 5-6 small empty plastic bottles (empty aspirin bottles will do). Put few parts in the bottle and fill the bottle (up to 75%) with WS2 powder. Fill all bottles likewise.
Put the bottles in vibratory bowl/tumbler with sand or vibratory media.
Vibrate/Tumble for 4-5 hours.
Empty the bottles (you can reuse WS2) and wipe clean the parts with soft tissue/cloth.

Bullet Coating — Step by Step with Photos
A photo-illustrated Guide to Bullet Coating is available on the WrzWaldo website. This site is maintained by a Pacific NW shooter who retails 0.5 Micron Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) and will soon be offering Hexagonal Boron Nitride (HBN) as well. The website shows how to plate bullets using 0.177″ BBs in pill bottles, which are then agitated in a vibratory tumbler. This is a simple procedure that isolates the plating media from your tumbler, and covers the bullets very completely in 30-40 minutes. WrzWaldo says his method works equally well for both Tungsten Disulfide (WS2) and Boron Nitride (HBN). The photos below show bullets coated with WS2.

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