October 31st, 2008

Punkin-Chunkin' World Championships Commence Today

The 23rd Annual “World Championship of Punkin Chunkin” will be held Friday October 31st through Sunday, November 2nd, in Sussex County, Delaware. This hugely popular event draws 40,000-50,000 spectators each year. They gather to watch 100 or more amazing air cannons, catapults, trebuchets, giant slingshots, and other fantastic devices launch pumpkins into the air. In conjunction with the Punkin Chunkin Championship, there will be cooking contests, and the Charley Daniels Band will perform on the 31st. Proceeds from the annual event go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, various other charities, and scholarships. We think the timing is perfect–this gives folks a chance to smile and laugh a little before the very serious business of next week’s election. God knows we all need some relief from the relentless campaigning.

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Intrigued? Want more Punkin Chunkin footage? Believe it or not, there’s a full-length feature movie about the event: Flying Pumpkins: The Legend of Punkin Chunkin.

CLICK HERE for Movie CLIPS.

You can find complete event info, including directions, on Punkinchunkin.com. To view many of the amazing machines, visit the event’s Online Photo Galleries.

One of the favored “big guns” is the aptly-named “Second Amendment”. This 14-ton monster boasts a 100-foot-long barrel that can toss an appropriate projectile (e.g. a pumpkin or frozen turkey), over 5,000 feet (very nearly one mile!). Muzzle velocity is an impressive 500 miles per hour (about 733 fps). The big cannon, shown below, holds the official world punkin distance record, and is a 4-time overall winner (2002, 2003, 2005, 2006). This year the Second Amendment team hopes to reclaim the title.

Editor’s Comment: Click on the links, and especially the photo galleries. Look at the hardware… and the smiling faces. Look at the families having fun together. Why, a cynic might ask, should anyone go to a “punkin chunkin” festival when they could be sitting at home worrying about the election and being miserable about the economy? Well, heck… sometimes you just have to get outside and have a grand, crazy, goofy good time. This event is one of those uniquely American celebrations of technical ingenuity and rural culture. Sort of NASCAR meets pagan harvest festival. It makes me smile, and also reminds me that shootin’ stuff, whether a 22LR rifle or a 100-foot air cannon, is just darn fun… and that’s why we do it.

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October 31st, 2008

Ruger Recalls LCP Pocket Pistol

Ruger has announced a recall of its popular new LCP pocket pistol. The problem, according to Ruger, is that “LCP pistols can discharge when dropped onto a hard surface with a round in the chamber.” Only those pistols with serial number “370” are affected by the recall. Pistols with the “371” prefix are not affected. To learn more, or to arrange for a free safety upgrade if you own an LCP pistol, contact the LCP Recall Hotline, 1-800-784-3701. Or, click the link below:

CLICK HERE for Ruger LCP Recall Information

Ruger Pistol

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October 30th, 2008

Report from Australia on the Biathlon Basic

Last year we did a quick field test of the Izmash Biathlon Basic. You can read the report in the Daily Bulletin Archives, or on the main website. We concluded that the gun was a true bargain. It will outshoot most rimfires in the price range, it has a smooth trigger, it comes with a built-in Weaver-style scope rail, and the toggle action is fun to use, if a little stiff at first. This writer concluded that the gun would be an nice short-range varminter.

Australian reader David from Canberra agrees that the Izhmash Biathlon makes a great varmint exterminator. Here is David’s report:

“We have [a Biathlon Basic] on our farm in NSW (near Sydney). It has given four years of faultless service in vermin control so far! We have two 5-round and two 10-round mags and have fitted it with a quality 4 x 44mm scope. The only problem I identify is that with lubricated Winchester sub-sonic ammunition a build-up of lubricant on the front lip of the mags can cause feed difficulities.

There is no one who has used this firearm who does not rate it as the most user-friendly and ‘marksman hero’-making rifle they have ever used. The rifle remains on the sighting plane while the action is cycled… [a quality we miss] from the now-prohibited self-loaders. [Editor’s note: most semi-automatic rifles, even rimfires, are now banned in Australia.]. The Izmash is a rugged, modern, good looking, easy to use, and UNFAILINGLY accurate … rimfire farm or target rifle that costs about $1200 in Australia. The CZ452 would be farm choice #2 (I reckon if you ask me)! You cannot do better than the Izhmash [considering] the low price in America of this Soviet-Legacy gem.”

Izhmash Biathlon

The Biathlon Basic is offered by MTGuns, (805) 720-7720, for about $395.00 (call for current pricing and availability). The current U.S. distributor is Russian-American Armory, RAACFirearms.com, (877) 752-2894.

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October 30th, 2008

New 3-Position Air Rifle Rules Issued

Air Rifle position rulesThe 2008-2010 7th Edition of the National Standard Three-Position Air Rifle Rules, with changes approved by the National 3P Air Rifle Council, are now available in printed version or as a downloadable file. The complete new rules (in .pdf format) can be downloaded via the CMP website. Printed copies of the new rulebook may be ordered from the CMP at a cost of $2.00 each.

CLICK HERE to download new Air Rifle Rules

The 2008-2010 rules are effective immediately and will remain in effect until September 2010. There are not many major changes this time, although a Council decision to cap prices on approved sporter air rifles is potentially significant. The Council has already adopted a policy mandating that no sporter class air rifle may be used in sanctioned competition unless the Council approves that specific model. The current approved sporter list includes the AirForce Air Guns Edge, Daisy M853/753/953/853CM (pneumatic), Daisy M888/887 (CO2), Crosman M2000 (CO2), Daisy XSV40 Valiant (compressed air) and the Air Arms T200 (compressed air) with NON-adjustable cheek-piece and butt-plate. The Council decided that if the price of any approved rifles rises above $525.00, that air rifle will lose its approval (but if you purchased such a gun before the price rose too high, it would still be legal.)

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October 29th, 2008

New Zealand Hosts NRA World Action Pistol Championships

From November 5-8, Hamilton, New Zealand will host the 6th Annual NRA World Action Pistol Championships. This major event will draw hundreds of top shooters from around the globe. The 2008 World Action Pistol Championships will be held in conjunction with the Kiwi Cup Action Pistol Championships at Hamilton Pistol Club. This is the second time that the Hamilton Pistol Club has hosted this prestigious event, which has been held previously twice in Australia, and twice in the USA. The NRA World Action Pistol Championships is an aggregate match with four traditional events: Falling Plates, Barricade, Practical, and Moving Target. For more information, visit the World Action Pistol Championships website, www.WAPC2008.com.

Located 80 miles south of Auckland, Hamilton is becoming known as a hub for action sports. In addition to the World Action Pistol Championships, Hamilton will host the V8 Supercars Street Race, World Rally Championships, and 2010 World Rowing Champs. The Waikoto River, shown in the photo below, runs through the heart of the city of Hamilton.

Hamilton New Zealand

Background on Shooting Sports in New Zealand
New Zealand is a remarkable country, a land of great natural beauty. The island nation is similar in size to California … but with about 30,000,000 fewer people! Nice eh? If you combined the natural terrain of Oregon, California, and the Colorado Rockies, doubled the coastline, and then eliminated smog, urban sprawl, and traffic jams, that’s a good description of New Zealand.

Though small in size, New Zealand has a very active community of sport shooters and hunters. While Australia has imposed draconian restrictions on self-loading pistols and rifles, New Zealanders still retain the ability to own most types of firearms, including semi-automatics. In fact, New Zealand has fewer restrictions on “Black Rifles” than do many American states.

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October 29th, 2008

ATF Delays Implementation of Revised Form 4473

ATF form 4473

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) had planned to put its new, updated Form 4473 into effect November 15, 2008. Well… they’ve now pushed back the implementation date until January. The ATF recently informed the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) that it is pushing back the date by which the revised and updated Form 4473 must be used to Jan. 15, 2009. The date was delayed because of objections from dealers about implementing a new form during hunting season.

ATF Form 4473 (Firearms Transaction Record Part I — Over the Counter) is used to prevent criminals and other prohibited persons from gaining access to firearms. This form is required to be completed by Federal firearms licensees prior to the transfer of a firearm to a nonlicensed person, with limited exceptions. The newest version incorporates some new elements.

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October 28th, 2008

Sneak Preview of 2009 Dual-Port Savages

Savage’s Marketing team just sent us “sneak previews” of two new dual-port rifles to be released in 2009. The new Benchrest and LRPV (Long Range Precision Varminter) rifles feature a DUAL-PORT ACTION. There is a large cut-out on both sides of the action. This should allow rapid single-round feeding as you can feed from one side while the shell kicks out the other. We do have one minor concern — it appears both loading and exit ports are the same size. When you feed really fast this creates the possibility of tossing the round all the way through.

Savage Dual-Port

Savage Dual-Port

Savage Dual-Port

Savage Dual-Port

You can see that the “Benchrest” model has a new stock pattern. This stock has some drop in the toe, unlike the current F-Class stocks which are cut straight back from the pistol grip area. The current F-Class stock design will be unchanged, while this stock design is something new for the dual-port “Benchrest” model, which comes with a 29″ barrel and will be chambered in .308 Win, 6mm BR, and 6.5-284. Sorry, Savage hasn’t provided any more details about prices and shipping dates, but Bill Dermody, Savage Marketing Director, confirms “these are a ‘go’ for 2009, and, yes the Dual-Port action will be offered separately for purchase, as the Target Action is currently.” Bill also provided these answers to our questions:

Q: The “Benchrest” version — Is this going to be a new model? (As opposed to F-Class rifle).

Savage: Yes, this is a new model for us.

Q: It looks like the stock design has changed somewhat (vs. the F-Class).

Savage: The fore-end is sculpted a little bit differently than the F-Class, but it is mostly cosmetic. The bottom edge of the buttstock however is angled differently and narrowed a bit to help it ride a bag better.

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October 28th, 2008

U.S. Army Marksmen win Int'l Sniper Competition

USAMU Sniper Team

A team of two Soldiers from the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) won the 8th Annual International Sniper Competition for the second consecutive year. Sgt. 1st Class Jason M. St. John and Sgt. 1st Class Robby D. Johnson defended their title of Sniper Champions.

The competition was hosted by the Sniper School under Company C, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, Oct. 16 to 21. The USAMU Team was one of more than 30 sniper teams from France, Canada, Spain, Denmark, Ireland and different branches of the U.S. military. Snipers tested their skills in several events, including aerial shooting, convoy live fire, and night shooting. Many of the events, such as counter sniper, were timed. “That’s what puts the stress on you – the clock,” said St. John, the spotter for the team.

“The scenarios and targets that are put out there are so phenomenally difficult,” St. John said. “There isn’t an event that we haven’t stopped and looked at and said we should have done this a little bit different. This is an extremely difficult match, top to bottom.”

The 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, of Fort Lewis, Wash., placed second overall. Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, came in third.

To learn more about the USAMU, contact the Public Affairs Office at (706) 545-5436, Paula.Randall@usaac.army.mil or visit www.USAMU.com.

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October 27th, 2008

Rifle Raffle Benefits U.S. F-Class Team — NRA President Leads Effort

NRA President John Sigler is not only a hard-working advocate for Second Amendment rights, but he is also an active, competitive shooter. This October, John competed in the F-Class Nationals at Lodi, Wisconsin. He was shooting a tack-driving 6.5-284 rifle built by Surgeon Rifles.

F-Class Team Rifle Raffle

This special F-Class rig features a Surgeon action, Krieger barrel, Leupold 8-25X50 target scope, and McMillan fiberglass stock. To benefit the U.S.A. F-Open Team, these top-of-the-line components were donated by the manufacturers and Surgeon did the build. Surgeon Rifles specializes in making custom actions and rifles and guarantees precision of less than .5 MOA on every rifle they build. Their actions are machined out of 4340 aircraft grade solid billet and the 20 MOA Picatinny rail is an integral part of the action. Sound great? Well you can have a chance to own this same rifle shot by NRA President Sigler.

F-Class Team Rifle Raffle

Donate to the F-Class Team — Get a Chance to Win the Rifle
The F-Class rifle shot by Sigler was donated to the US F-Class Rifle Team and is being used to raise funds for the team to travel to the World F-Class Championship in Bisley, England in 2009. This event is held every four years and over 350 of the world’s best F-Class shooters are expected to participate.

To raise funds, the team is selling raffle tickets. ONLY 5000 TICKETS WILL BE AVAILABLE SO THE CHANCE OF WINNING THIS GUN WILL BE VERY HIGH!

Here’s how you can get a chance to win this beautiful rifle:
Donate $10.00 and get two tickets to win. The more you donate, the better your chances for winning this rifle. Tickets are available from many F-Class Open Shooters around the country. Or you may write a check, payable to “U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team”, and send it to:

U.S. F-Class Open Rifle Team
P.O. Box 3110,
Bellingham, WA 98227

If you are making a donation of over $20.00 and would like a receipt for tax deduction, please make out your check to PALMA Promotions and mail to the above address. All tickets and receipts will be sent by return mail. Drawing will be held in February, 2009 or sooner, as tickets are selling fast!

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October 27th, 2008

SEB Products (Coaxial Rests) Changes U.S.A. Dealer

SEB coaxial benchrestSEB Coaxial Rests are premium joystick-style front rests favored by many leading Benchrest shooters. The movement of the front support (both horizontally and vertically) is smooth and positive, and the rest can be easily adjusted so the arm won’t “droop” even if you remove your hand after adjustment. The base is beefy and stable, and the quality of machining is excellent. This Editor shoots off a SEB rest. I can testify that it helps me get on target faster and shoot smaller groups.

Until recently, Paul Schmid has been the U.S.A. dealer for SEB Rests and other products from innovative designer Sebastian Lambang. Sadly, however, Schmid passed away in late August. SEB Products has secured a new dealer for the American market: Ernie Bishop of Gillette, Wyoming, phone: 307-257-7431, email: ernieemily [at] yahoo.com

Seb Lambang tells us: “I have a new USA dealer for the SEB products now…Ernie Bishop in Gillette, WY. I am trully sorry that Paul Schmid, my mentor and the last US dealer for my products, passed away last August 30. He died suddenly several days after hip surgery. Paul was a man of honor, very trustworthy, and a great friend in the same time. He was truly a great loss for me! He and his family will always be in my heart and prayers….

Just like Paul, Ernie Bishop is a man of honor, trustworthy, and a very friendly guy, too. Ernie and I became close friends during a visit (for prairie dog shooting) to Wyoming after the 2008 Super Shoot. I asked Ernie to be the new US dealer because I know he can handle the dealership well and he will provide good service. Ernie will have rests, bags, ammo holder sets (etc) around mid-November, next month. I am preparing the items at this moment.

Please feel free to contact/email me anytime, or Ernie, if you have any questions, or problems, with SEB products. Email me at sebastianlambang [at] yahoo.com or visi [at] telkom.net.

All the best, Seb”

For more info, visit www.SebCoax.com

Sebastian SEB front rest

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October 27th, 2008

Good Deals on Hunting Gear at Cabela's

The ‘Bargain Cave’ at Cabelas.com offers quality products at deep discounts. It’s not uncommon to find items marked 50% off. We recently found two items of hunting gear deeply discounted, yet they both received consistently high ratings from Cabela’s customers.

Cabelas Upland VestCabela’s Upland Tradition Vest is rated 4.8 out of 5 stars by 45 Cabela’s customers. It is on sale for $29.99, marked down from $49.99. This vest has some very nice features, including lined, handwarmer pockets and a Tri-Load™ game bag that loads easily from the front, side or back. The large front cargo pockets have loops for shot-shells. Here are two comments from buyers:

“Great value and all the snaps, clips, zippers are hidden-which protects your favorite firearm.” –Happ, NJ

“Very good vest for the money. The pockets are nice sized and placed well. The back game pocket is the best I’ve used. I also like the two waterproof pockets (lined with same fabric as inside back game pocket). Hand warmer pockets are lined for insulation. Well thought out. Have tried vests for over twice the price that weren’t as good. Vest carries loads well. No complaints at all. If I lose this vest, I’ll replace it with same.” –JM, MI Upper Peninsula

Cabelas Blaze JacketThe Activ-Lite™ Upland Blaze Jacket is rated 4.5 out of 5 Stars by 59 Cabela’s customers. It is marked down to $49.95 from $79.95. This is a good jacket to wear under a shooting vest. It features warm, but lightweight fleece, a wind-blocking lining, and a tough shell that sheds burs. Owners report:

“The jacket is like adding another layer of skin. It is flexible & light and non-binding in the shoulders & sleeves. The jacket is an excellent wind barrier and makes a great outer garment on a cold dry day.” –Kent, WA Elk Hunter

“Love this coat.. [it] is warm, windproof, & comfortable. It is quiet when going thru brush and grass. Colored to meet hunting guidlines. My wife tries to steal it from me when we are bird hunting. Good value for the price.” –DZ from New Mexico

Editor’s Note: Cabela’s has agreed to donate a small percentage of sales proceeds to help support this site. In order for sales to count, please navigate to Cabelas.com via the link below.

Cabela's - Free Shipping on $125 or More with Code 8HOLIDAY, ends 11/10/08

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October 26th, 2008

Hot Shots: Newbie Almost Ties F-Class Record with Savage

Can a rifle built on a Savage target action be “big-league” competitive? Apparently so. Forum member Nat Lambeth (aka “Rustystud”) reports that Jeff Saunders shot a 200 with 14 Xs at 600 yards last Saturday at an F-Class Match in Camp Butner, NC. This is one “X” off the National Record (200-15X) on the new F-Class target, and topped the 600-yard F-Open record (200-13X) set by Charles Ballard. Jeff was shooting a Savage target action with a 31″ Broughton 1:8″, 5C barrel chambered in 6mmBRX, in a modified Stockade stock topped with a 12-42×56 Nightforce scope. Jeff is a relatively new shooter and is learning the art of reading the wind. Jeff shot five shots in a row into a 1.75″ spotter before hitting the spindel and destroying the spotter.

Now matter what you’re shooting (even a railgun with a $1300 action in a barrel block), five shots into 1.75″ at 600 yards is impressive. To do it with a $450.00 Savage action is even more impressive. These actions, which have three (3) action screws and come complete with AccuTrigger, can be purchased from a number of vendors, including Bruno Shooters Supply. An FFL is required to receive the action. Bruno’s list these items in inventory:

SAG18183 Savage Target Action 223 RB,LP Stainless $448.68
SAG18185 Savage Target Action 223 RB,RP Stainless $448.68
SAG18182 Savage Target Action 308 RB,LP Stainless $448.68
SAG18184 Savage Target Action 308 RB,RP Stainless $448.68

Savage Target Action

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October 25th, 2008

Western CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup Draw Top Marksmen

Western CMP Games Creedmoor CupResults for the 2008 Creedmoor Cup & CMP Games have been posted on the CMP Competition website. The match, hosted at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ, was hugely successfully drawing hundreds of shooters. You can find the winners of all categories on this Results Page. Then click on the “Ranked” link beside the winner’s name to get a list of all finishers in order of score.

Ronald Zerr, shooting a Match Rifle, won the Creedmoor Cup Aggregate overall with a 791-31X score. Forum member Jerry Tierney was runner-up in the Match Rifle Class with a 774-19X. In the Service Rifle Division, Trent Hering shot an impressive 789-25x, toping a field of 138 Service Rifle Shooters. Forum member Shawn McKenna finished second with a 782-23X score.

21 Teams Compete For Service Rifle Team Title
Among the big attractions of the CMP Games and Creedmoor Cup are the tightly-fought team events. In Service Rifle, 21 Teams competed for honors. This year, the USMC Arrieta team took first place, with a 1915-53X Aggregate. Team members are: MSgt Alex Arrieta (Coach), SW02 Peter Burns (Captain), SSgt Daniel Duitsman, CWO4 James Fraley, and SSgt Jason Haislip. The Oregon State Shooting Assn. Team finished second (1902-46X), with the Bushmaster/Remington Team in third (1892-42X).

Western CMP Games Creedmoor Cup

Vintage Rifle Matches Are Very Popular
In other Western CMP Games events, Wesley Shumaker won the Garand Match, Arland Anderson won the Springfield Rifle Match, CW02 Peter Burns won the Vintage Rifle Match, and Creedmoor Sports Gen. Manager Dennis DeMille won the Garand Re-Entry Match. For the Overall Three-Gun Aggregate (Garand, Springfield, and Vintage Rifle), the top five shooters were: Michael Miller (823-11X), Arland Anderson 821-9X), James Denovchek (814-11X), Wesley Shumaker, and Ronald Foos. These older military-rifle matches were hugely popular, with large numbers of competitors. There were 135 shooters in the Garand Match and 51 in the Springfield Match. These kind of events, using vintage rifles that can be obtained at moderate cost from the CMP itself, reward fundamental marksmanship skills. They are much more a test of shooter abilities than a technology race.

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October 24th, 2008

New CSR-1 Tubegun From Creedmoor Sports

In our Gun of the Week section, we’ve featured Gary Eliseo’s innovative R5 Tubegun, chambered in 6mmBR. Gary produces an accurate, ergonomic, and affordable Kit for Cross-the-Course and High Power Shooters. Now Creedmoor Sports has introduced a new, complete rifle based on a second-generation Eliseo system. And the big news? The Creedmoor CSR-1 is designed to shoot the popular medium-sized cartridges: 6XC, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester. (It is also available in .223 Rem.) The new CSR-1 offers sling-shooters a complete, turn-key rifle that rivals the performance of the Tubb 2000 for less money. (The Creedmoor CSR-1 costs $3750.00 complete with adjustable butt stock, but not sights). With the capability of shooting the .308 Winchester, the CSR-1 should also be popular with Palma and even F-TR shooters (who could also shoot the gun in .223 Rem).

The CSR-1 custom match rifle is optimized for across-the-course or long-range shooting. Built around a custom Pierce Engineering action, this new rifle features a 28” Broughton 5C (canted lands) barrel, a Gary Eliseo stock, +15 MOA sight rail, a superb, 2-stage Jackson Trigger with adjustable trigger shoe plus a fully adjustable (and removable) rear stock. Friends, these are ALL top-of-the-line components. Lefties rejoice! The CSR-1 will be offered in BOTH right-handed AND left-handed versions. To allow further shooter fit adjustment, the tubular front hand guard can rotate 15° from center in either direction.

The rifle also includes two (2) custom single-stack 5 round magazines, a single-round loading device (SLED), two (2) removable butt stock 4.8 oz. weights, plus an adjustable hand stop. The adjustable buttstock is top of the line. It can adjust for length of pull, drop, cheekpiece height, and cant angle. Rifle weight (without sights) is 13.25 lbs. Estimated all-up weight (with sights) is 14.75 lbs. Creedmoor Sports also offers a recommended sight kit for $797.90. This includes: Phoenix Top Mount ¼ minute rear sight, Gehmann 510 adjustable rear iris, T2K Ladder front sight with level and extra mount, and Gehmann 2.4 – 4.4mm adjustable front iris.

Shown below is a video of Gary Eliseo shooting his R5 Repeater chambered in 6BR. The new CSR-1 will be a very similar gun, albeit with a superior Pierce action inside and a larger magazine system capable of holding up to .308-sized cartridges.

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Special Offer — FREE Ammo or Kalispel Gun Case
If you purchase a CSR-1 rifle before January 9th, 2009, Creedmoor Sports will kick in one FREE case of 6.5 Creedmoor ammo (must be chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, does not apply to other calibers) OR a free Kalispel aluminum gun case. For more info, visit CreedmoorSports.com. You can request a catalog through the website or by calling 800-273-3366.

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October 24th, 2008

Dedicated Website for .222 Remington Fans

Last week we revealed that Lapua will resume production of .222 Remington Brass. If you’re thinking of chambering a rifle in this very accurate caliber, or if you already have a .222 Rem, we’ve found a useful resource on the web for you.

.222 Remington

Forum member Peter Simonsen has created a new website, TripleDeuce.Net. Peter tells us: “I started a little informative (non-commercial) web site about the .222 Remington, TripleDeuce.Net. You’re welcome to visit and share your thoughts and ideas.” Peter’s site includes extensive reloading advice, plus links to the major bullet-makers and powder manufacturers. His Reloading Page shows targets shot with different powder/bullet combos using Peter’s .222 Rem factory rifles. Unfortunately Peter omits actual powder charge weights — so one must still go back to the reloading manuals. Peter offers this advice for those getting started with the Triple Deuce cartridge:

“I religiously use the load data right off the Hodgdon web site. Recently I have gravitated toward using the old tried and true IMR4198 and H4198 powders for hunting using 40gr bullets. These two powders provide a velocity edge over the other powder choices while still maintaining safe and acceptable pressure levels. You can see this in the Hodgdon data where a max load of IMR4198 yields 3583 fps whereas H322 produces 3313 fps. So for hunting where higher velocity and terminal performance are important and accuracy is as good or close I would choose one of the two 4198 powders. This situation is similar, although not as dramatic, with 50gr bullets.

For target shooting H322 works extremely well. H4895 also provides impressive results and is a chosen powder for accuracy baseline testing by some manufacturers. I have begun experimenting with Vihtavuori N133 and Accurate 2015. Both seem very promising. But H322 and H4895 are two [dependable choices.]”

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October 23rd, 2008

NRA Launches Air Rifle Championship for Disabled Shooters

Disabled Shooting SportsWe told you our friend Vanessa Warner would accomplish good things as the NRA’s new Manager of Disabled Shooting Services. Here’s proof — the NRA has just announced that the first-ever, nationwide indoor Air Rifle Championship series for disabled shooters will be held in 2009. The new event will be conducted at clubs and facilities nationwide, employing a Sectional Championship format. This will give competitors with physical disabilities a chance to compete in national individual and team events by comparing their scores with those fired in clubs all over the country. Scores are comparable because of the similar conditions existing in indoor ranges.

Sectional Championships are already held by the NRA, and now disabled shooters will be part of the action. Each year the NRA conducts National Open Rifle Sectional Championships in NRA 3-position Smallbore Rifle, 4-position Smallbore Rifle, International 3-P Smallbore Rifle and International Air Rifle. The Championships are the largest event of the indoor season and will now include International Indoor Air Rifle for disabled shooters.

“This championship was created with the goal of full integration into the NRA Open Indoor Air Rifle Championships in the future,” stated Vanessa Warner, NRA’s Manager of Disabled Shooting Services. “The plan is to eventually… allow both disabled and able-bodies to compete shoulder to shoulder for the title of National Champion.”

According to the U.S. Census Bureau survey in 2003, there are currently 50 million people living with disabilities in America today. The integration of the Disabled Indoor Air Rifle Championships with the Open Indoor Air Rifle Championships will expand opportunities for disabled individuals to participate in the shooting sports. To learn more, visit the NRA’s Disabled Shooting Services Webpage or contact Vanessa Warner at 703-267-1495 or disabled-shooting [at] nra-hq.org.

disabled shootingNew Zealand Shooters’ Success Stories
If you want to read about the experiences of a disabled shooter, check out Parashooting.co.nz, the website of Robert Berger, one of New Zealand’s leading Paralympic target shooters. Injured many years ago in a motorcycling accident, Robert took up target shooting in 2007. Under the tutelage of fellow Kiwi and Paralympic Champion shooter Michael Johnson, Robert soon discovered that he has a great aptitude for the sport. In his first year of competition, Robert captured the “Top Shooter” trophy for best combined score in the 36th New Zealand Paralympics National Championship. Robert has also represented his country in the Oceania Games in Sydney, Australia.

Robert writes: “I was introduced to target shooting for the disabled by Michael Johnson, current world champion. I became a paraplegic in 1975 after a [motorcycle accident]. During my rehab, I looked at several sports but because I was not into basketball, rugby etc. I moved on to other things.

Early in 2007, I had a go at target shooting with an air rifle. I was coached by Michael for a while using a borrowed gun from Parafed Auckland. After a short time, I decided to get more serious about the sport and bought my own rifle. Once I had my new Feinwerkbau 700 rifle I became more competitive and practiced harder.

disabled shootingIn order to represent New Zealand at Oceania I had to shoot two Paralympics New Zealand Minimum Qualifying Standards (PNZ MQS) in each of the disciplines, Standing and Prone. The MQS for Standing is 570 and Prone 575 out of a possible 600 in 60 shots. With lots of practice and six attempts I got there. As a wheelchair user, ‘standing’ is not quite the right description, but what it means is that you sit holding the rifle without any support from your elbows resting on the table. ‘Prone’ is a similar position but with your elbows on the table.”

Robert’s coach and mentor, Michael Johnson of Auckland, New Zealand, is one of the top disabled shooters in the world. Michael won gold medals at the Athens 2004 Paralympics and at the 2006 World Championships. Michael contributes to another excellent website, Shooting4Disabled.com. Mike offers advice for disabled shooters on positions and equipment, and he explains the Classifications and rules. Mike’s web site also has a great photo gallery of indoor rifle ranges around the world.

Shooting has been part of the Paralympic Games since Toronto in 1976, with competitors now coming from 59 counties. Athletes compete in Rifle and Pistol events from distances of 10, 25 and 50m, in men’s, women’s and mixed competitions. Paralympic shooting utilizes a functional classification system, which enables athletes from different disability classes to compete together either individually or in teams.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
October 23rd, 2008

Big Discount at Cabela's Through October 24th

Right now Cabela’s is offering a very attractive promotion. Now through Friday, 10/24/2008, Cabela’s is offering $20 off any order of $150.00 or more. We normally don’t see this kind of promo until January. This offer is valid on Cabela’s Internet, Catalog and Retail Store merchandise only. It does applies to Bargain Cave items and most other items on sale. However, it does not apply to gift certificates.

To get the savings, you must go online and register your email address. Cabela’s will then email you the discount code to use when ordering. This special offer is tempting because there’s some pretty cool stuff on sale in Cabela’s Bargain Cave right now. How about a Garvin Nüvi® Personal Navigation System — complete with GPS, interactive road maps, and voice prompts (your own little robot navigator). Works in your backpack or on the dashboard of your car. Units start at $159.99 — enough to qualify for the $20 off discount.

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
October 22nd, 2008

Brownell's Offers AR15 Assembly Videos Online

Brownells, a leading supplier of AR-15 parts and accessories, now offers a comprehensive series of AR-15 assembly instruction videos. They are available online for FREE. The broadcast-quality videos, shot in-house in Brownells’ studios, represent a huge undertaking by Brownells. We’re talking hours of content that provide both novice or expert all the information one needs to build an AR-15 from scratch. The free video series includes 52 separate clips, divided into nine (9) sections, each occupying a separate page on Brownells’ website. You can easily navigate among the 50+ segments to watch just the part you need without fast-forwarding or rewinding through a huge file. Sections 1 and 2 explain the features of various AR models, Section 3 spotlights the specialized tools you’ll need for the build, and Sections 4-9 demonstrate the correct way to install all the various parts and pieces.

For each video, PDF instructions are also available so you can watch a segment, print out the illustrated instruction sheet, and head to the bench. Plus, there’s a set of checklists so you can make sure you’ve ordered every piece you need. Whether you’re building a complete gun, or just installing a new safety, flash hider or stock, there’s a lot of valuable information to make the job easier.

The videos can be accessed, FREE, through the website howtobuildanar15.com, or you can click on the links in the tables below. You can also order an AR-15 catalog from the site, or by phone at 800-741-0015, mention code #PEK.

Section 4
Assembling the Upper Receiver
Assembling the Upper Receiver
(6 Clips)

Brownells is the world’s largest supplier of firearm parts, gunsmithing tools, equipment and accessories. Brownells stocks more than 30,000 items, backed by a 100% satisfaction, unconditional, lifetime guarantee. To place an order or for more info, call 800-741-0015 or visit brownells.com.

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October 21st, 2008

Spreadsheet Formula Calculates Useful Barrel Life

How long will a barrel last before the accuracy “goes south”? There are so many variables involved (powder type, bore diameter, bullet coatings etc.) that it’s hard to predict. You might say “Well, my buddy has a .243 and he got 1500 rounds before the throat was shot out” — those kind of comparisons can be useful, but they’re not very scientific, and they won’t help much if you’ve got a gun in a new chambering (such as the 6.5×47) for which there is not a lot of historical data.

Is there a more reliable way to predict barrel life — one that will work for a broad range of calibers? Well, Forum member MikeCr has developed an Excel spreadsheet that accounts for a number of variables, and gives a pretty good estimate of useful barrel life, whether you’re shooting a .223 Rem or a 338 Lapua Magnum. Mike’s program predicts barrel life using five variables: 1) Bullet Diameter; 2) Powder Charge weight; 3) Powder Heat Potential (KJ/kg); 4) Pressure (in psi); and 5) Bullet Coating (yes/no). Mike provides a table with Heat Potential ratings for most popular powder types. The user needs to know the pressure of his load. This can be estimated with QuickLOAD.

You can download the lastest version of Mike’s spreadsheet below. You’ll need an Excel viewer to open the file.

Click to Download Spreadsheet: Barrel Life Spreadsheet (Lastest Version)

Shown below is Mike’s Spreadsheet, with variables for a 6BR shooting 105gr “naked” bullets with 30.3 grains of Hodgdon Varget powder. The formula predicts 2401 rounds of barrel life. That corresponds pretty well to what we’d expect for a 6BR — about 2500 rounds.

Barrel Life ProgramBarrel Life Program

Mike observes: “There has been alot of discussion lately related to cartridge design and resulting barrel life. This is a really important factor to consider amongst a myriad of choices. Barrel life is controversial, and subjective. There are no clear-cut standards for comparison. But a few years ago, I put together a spreadsheet based on Bart Bobbit’s rule of thumb. It worked pretty good, only occasionally failing some tests when validated against posted barrel lives.

According to Ken Howell, I had to account for pressure. And Henry Child’s powder temperature testing provided another piece needed. So, I’ve tweaked it here and there to pass more tests. From 223rem to 300 UltraMagnum. Another element added, but turned off is shot interval. I would need way more tests to lock in on this. But everyone knows, the faster you shoot, the worse the barrel life.

Anyway, another factor hard to define is ‘accurate’ barrel life. This cannot be quantified without standards. Barrels are replaced when expectations are no longer met. I feel that a [barrel] passes peak potential in a finite period due to throat erosion. But that don’t mean it’s toast, if it still shoots well enough. It’s just as likely that many of us never see that peak potential anyway. It’s a slippery thing. Point-blank BR competitors will toss a barrel when it leaves the 1s. I could get another 4000 rounds from it, and be content with its performance, I’m sure.

NOTE: This spreadsheet may show a lower barrel life than you prefer. But it pretty well spotlights cartridges to stay away from if you plan much time at the range or in dog town.”

Editor’s Comment: We want to stress that Mike’s spreadsheet is a helpful tool, but it is not a definitive “take-it-to-the-bank” indicator of barrel life. Mike cautions that predicting barrel life involves so many different factors (including how hard/hot the barrel is run), that the task is a bit like predicting tread life on car tires. Still, the spreadsheet is very helpful. It can certainly put shooters on notice that some chamberings (such as the 6-284) are likely to be a barrel burners. That can help you make a smart decision when choosing a chambering for your next rifle.

Permalink Tech Tip 8 Comments »
October 20th, 2008

Beggs Devises Indexing System for Centerfire Barrels

Gene Beggs is a Texas shooter and gunsmith known for “out of the box” thinking. He has successfully pioneered the 220 Beggs and 6mm Beggs cartridges in BR competition, and has developed radical new rifle designs and tuners at his West Texas research facility (with a 100-yard indoor shooting tunnel). Recently Beggs has tackled the challenge of indexing centerfire barrels. It looks like he has engineered a workable solution that will allow shooters to index their barrels without altering the critical headspace dimension. If this really works, Gene has come up with an important new gunsmithing procedure with the potential to enhance accuracy for a wide variety of firearms.

Gene Beggs Barrel Index

Barrel Indexing Basics
Barrel Indexing is a procedure for optimizing the rotational position of a barrel relative to the action. With a conventional barrel installation, if you were to put a mark on the outside of a barrel and then screw the barrel into the action, that mark might end up at at 12 o’clock, or 6 o’clock or pretty much any position on the “clock-face”, depending on where the shoulder is cut on the barrel. When the shoulder butts up against the face of the action (or recoil lug), you can’t screw the barrel in any farther. At that point, the barrel’s rotational position is fixed and can’t be changed without altering headspace.

Tests with rimfire barrels suggest that careful barrel indexing can produce accuracy gains. We’re not quite sure why — there are different theories — but it has been clearly demonstrated that by rotating the barrel relative to TDC (top dead center) on the action, you can move bullet point of impact quite dramatically. On rimfire barrels machined with a cone breech and secured with a barrel block system (as on an Anschutz 2000-series action), gunsmiths such as Mike Ross have been able to easily experiment with index positions. CLICK HERE for Mike Ross Indexing Tests.

But indexing centerfire barrels has been a challenge. You can use shims to adjust the barrel’s index position relative to action TDC, but this moves the shoulder in and out, effectively altering headspace by the width of the shims used.

Is there a way to index a centerfire barrel without changing the headspace? Texas Benchrest shooter and gunsmith Gene Beggs thinks he has the answer.

The Beggs Barrel Indexing Solution
With a conventional barrel installation, the action/receiver has an internal female thread. The threaded breech end of the barrel, or tenon, has a male thread. The barrel simply screws in until its rotation is stopped (and index position fixed) when the shoulder hits the action face or recoil lug.

Beggs has come up with an ingenious solution using an intermediary threaded bushing that fits between the action thread and the tenon threads. The barrel tenon is reduced in diameter slightly and re-threaded to mate with the inner bushing. This inner bushing is shorter than the receiver threads so it can be adjusted inwards and outwards. Its position is fixed with a set-screw. The effect of moving the inner sleeve inwards and outwards is to change the index position at which the barrel tenon threads start to “grab” as they are spun inwards. Set the inner sleeve at one position, and the tenon threads may start contact at 6 o’clock for example. Rotate the inner sleeve a half-turn and the threads will start at 12 o’clock.

Now, as you continue to screw the barrel inwards, it will still stop when the shoulder hits metal — so headspace is always the same. But…and this is the key point, the barrel’s rotational index position will vary depending on the position of the inner bushing. By adjusting the bushing position, you control where the barrel’s threads start to “connect”. The result is that the rotational orientation of the barrel can be indexed at any point on the dial.

Boyd Allen has given this example which may help readers visualize things: “Think of a slot-head machine screw being tightened till it bottoms. The final orientation of the slot after tightening depends on where it picks up the first thread of the threaded hole. If the hole itself is rotated then the final position of the slot, relative to the viewer, will be rotated by a similar amount. Screw a slot-head machine screw all the way into a nut. Now turn the nut. The slot rotates with it.”

Gene Beggs Index Barrel

System Slated for Production
Gene Beggs is excited about the new indexing system and plans to create a kit that can be used by gunsmiths. Gene writes:

“Inserted in between the action threads and the barrel tenon is a bushing that can be adjusted fore and aft in the action. This makes it possible for the barrel tenon shoulder to contact the receiver face at any position of the clock. Of course, the barrel tenon must be turned down and threaded to match the inside threads of the bushing. A small stainless steel set screw now holds the bushing securely in place. Adjustments are quick, easy and secure.

I spent two days in the tunnel testing the system. The test rifle is a Cobra sporter chambered in 6mm Beggs stocked with one of my Ultralite aluminum stocks. Barrel torque was rechecked each time the barrel was re-indexed and never seemed to loosen up. The sweet spot was found on the second adjustment at the six o’clock position. After a couple of days of testing, I now have complete confidence in the rifle and indexing system. Unless problems arise, we will soon be tooling up and producing kits which will require gunsmith installation.”

For more information on the Beggs Indexing system, email Gene at genebeggs [at] cableone.net, or call (432) 631-5124, or (432) 367-0329.

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