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February 28th, 2009

TECH TIP: Picatinny vs. Weaver Rail Specifications

Readers often ask “What’s the difference between a Weaver scope rail and a Picatinny Rail?” The answer is not as simple as it seems. The dimensions of a Picatinny Rail should be consistent (from one rail-maker to another), since there IS a government spec. Conversely, there is some variance in “Weaver-style” rails. The width of the groove is the most important difference between Picatinny Rails and weaver rails. “Mil-spec” Picatinny rails will have a grove width of 0.206″ while Weaver rails typically have a narrower, 0.180″ groove width.

Brownell’s has a helpful GunTech Article that discusses the Picatinny Rail vs. Weaver Rail. That article explains:

“What are the differences between the ‘Picatinny’ and the ‘Weaver’ systems? The profile of the two systems is virtually identical. Depending on the quality of the machining done by the manufacturer, the two systems should be indistinguishable from the profile. The key difference lies in the placement of the recoil grooves and with width of the grooves. MIL-STD-1913 (Picatinny) grooves are .206″ wide and have a center-to-center width of .394”. The placement of these grooves has to be consistent in order for it to be a true ‘Picatinny’MIL-STD system. Weaver systems have a .180” width of recoil groove and are not necessarily consistent in a center-to-center measurement from one groove to the next.

In many instances, a Weaver system has a specific application that it is machined for, so interchangeability is not necessarily an issue. A MIL-STD-1913 system must adhere to the specifications listed above in order for it to be considered MIL-STD, since the military desires uniformity in the recoil grooves to allow for different systems to be mounted on the weapon with no concern for compatibility.

Now, what does this mean to you? Boiled down, it means that accessories designed for a Weaver system will, in most cases, fit on a ‘Picatinny’ system. The reverse, however, is probably not the case. Due to the larger recoil groove, ‘Picatinny’ accessories will not fit a Weaver system. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule, but for a good rule-of-thumb, [full-width] ‘Picatinny’ won’t fit Weaver, but Weaver will fit ‘Picatinny’.”

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
February 28th, 2009

Lapua Offers Radar-Tested Drag Data for Lapua Bullets

Lapua bullets BCThe Ballistic Coefficient (BC) of a bullet is an index number used to describe the bullet’s aerodynamic drag relative to a reference standard. While bullet manufacturers commonly include BCs in their product descriptions, often times those numbers are merely a mathematical calculation, rather than the result of actual testing. Also, since the true drag of a bullet changes over the course of its trajectory, using a single BC is a fairly primitive way to predict how that bullet will actually perform over a long distance.

Lapua is now using Doppler radar to provide a more sophisticated model of bullet flight. Lapua has issued drag coefficients for its bullets based on radar testing. Importantly, Lapua didn’t just calculate drag coefficients off bullet blueprints. Instead, Lapua used radar to measure bullet velocities at various points along the bullet flight path (trajectory). This provides Cd (Coefficient of Drag) values that can be used with advanced ballistic software such as QuickTARGET to calculate trajectories with great reliability and precision.

Lapua bullets BC

Lapua’s engineers explain: “With our Cd-data measured by continuous Doppler radar measurements you can calculate the trajectory of your bullet much more accurately than using the simplified one-number BC. Typically-used simple ballistic coefficient (BC) describes only ballistic performance of the bullet compared to old standard ‘G1′ bullet. Ballistic Coefficient is essentially a measure of drag force compared to G1 projectile. The higher the BC value, the less drag and better ballistic performance.

The BC changes during a projectile‘s flight and stated BCs are always averages for particular velocity ranges. Knowing how a BC was established is almost as important as knowing the stated BC value itself. For the precise establishment of bullet trajectory, Doppler radar-measurements are required. The normal shooter however, has no access to such expensive professional measurement devices.

The radar-measured Cd factor describes the aerodynamic drag at particular points of trajectory. A Cd table (see above) shows this factor as a function of velocity (Mach number). Special software is required (e.g. Quick Target Unlimited) to utilize this data to [generate a] ballistic table. During the Doppler radar measurements the complete location information versus time is recorded.”

Long-Range Tests Show Lapua’s Bullet Drag Models Work Well
One of our sources has been working with Lapua’s radar-derived ballistic data for over a year. His task was to see how calculated trajectories using Lapua’s stated Cd values for particular bullets compared to observed bullet flights at long range. Using the data for the Lapua 250gr Scenar, this tester found the predicted trajectory “dead on to 1600 meters (about a mile) and only a few click off [at] 2000 meter (1.25 mile) distances”.

Bullet Ballistic Info for Download

CLICK HERE for explanation of Doppler-derived Cd with sample charts.

CLICK HERE for Cd-data for Lapua bullets.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 7 Comments »
February 27th, 2009

NRA Shooting Sports Magazine Now Offered FREE Online

NRA Shooting Sports USAdigital magazineFor years the NRA has published Shooting Sports USA, an informative print magazine for competitive shooters. While sample articles and a match calendar could be found on the web, the complete magazine contents were available only via a conventional print magazine subscription.

Now that’s changed. You can read ALL the contents of Shooting Sports USA now for FREE, in a monthly “Digital Edition”. Using “digital paper” technology from Olive Software, the entire magazine loads as a file in your internet browser. You can size the pages larger or smaller. You can even turn the pages as with a conventional magazine. To get your FREE subscription to Shooting Sports USA in digital form, just go to the Shooting Sports USA website, and enter your email address and zip code. That’s it — no fees, no credit card info required.

NRA Shooting Sports USAdigital magazine

CLICK HERE to read a sample Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA
(Note: This will load a flash player that may not be compatible with all browsers.)

Get New Rules, Match Results, Gear Reviews, and More…
The current issue of Shooting Sports USA includes the 2009 NRA Competitive Rule Changes. You can access those rule changes by viewing the March, 2009 sample digital edition (may take some time to load). Other features in the March edition include Shooters News, a Score Sheet (recent match results), Brief Product Reviews, and a Calendar of Coming Events.

NRA Shooting Sports USAdigital magazine

Permalink - Articles, Competition 3 Comments »
February 26th, 2009

Build a Simple, Portable PVC Target Stand

PVC target standOne of the easiest ways to build a portable target stand is to use PVC pipe and connectors. Utah .308 Shooter “Cheese” has created a simple yet sturdy target frame, and he’s shared his design so you can build a similar frame easily and at low cost. The components are wood furring strips, 2″-diameter PVC pipes (and connections), and a 2’x3′ sheet of cardboard. The PVC base can be glued together, or, for easier transport and storage, you can leave some or all of the connections free. “Cheese” tells us: “I didn’t glue any of it together so I could disassemble it, shove it in a bag and take it anywhere.”

“All the parts are just pushed together and not glued. That way I can break it down and carry it all in a bag. Also, if a buddy (not me!) happens to shoot the stand, I can easily replace just the damaged piece. The last 6 inches of the furring strips are wittled-down a bit so they can be pushed into the upright pipes with a little friction. The cardboard is 2 x 3 feet, and I use a staple gun to attach it to the furring strips. Then I just staple the target onto the cardboard and go at it.

Of course you can modify the dimensions as desired. I chose the black ABS pipe over white PVC simply for cost — black ABS is a little cheaper. You can also glue some or all of the parts together, it’ll just be larger for transporting. In windy conditions, the thing likes to come apart. Duct tape might work well. For weight, I thought about filling the two end pipes with sand and gluing test caps on each of their ends. The test caps still allow the pipes to slip into the elbows.”

Add Anchors or Internal Weight for Stability
On a very windy day, a PVC stand can shake or even topple over. There are a couple solutions to this. Some people fill the PVC pipe sections with sand to add weight, or you can put short sections of Re-BAR inside the long legs. One GlockTalk forum member noted: “I built [a frame] almost identical to this. I also take four pieces of wire coathanger bent into an inverted “U” shape to anchor the frame to the ground. It is so light that wind will knock the stand over [without anchors].”

Assembly Diagram with Dimensions
The photo below shows all the components of the base, with dimensions. The overall maximum assembled dimensions are roughly 26″ wide, 41″ deep, and 66″ tall (the cardboard is 2 x 3 ft).

PVC target stand

You can find photos of a similar home-made PVC target stand (with a slightly different rear section) on the Box of Truth website. This also employs a PVC tubing base with wood uprights. We’ve also seen all-PVC target stands, but we’ve found that it is easier to attach the cardboard to wood strips than to PVC pipe. Also, if the upper section is wood, you can fit different height targets, while using the same base.

Permalink Tech Tip 25 Comments »
February 26th, 2009

SEB Rest Update — New Model in Development

SEB coaxial front rests are impressively engineered and beautifully machined. If you like a joystick-style rest, you won’t go wrong with a SEB. This editor shoots off one. Though the current SEB rest is nearly ideal for short-range benchrest, shooters have asked for an upgraded version that can handle heavier rifles (such as 22-lb, F-class guns), and wider fore-ends (up to 6″). Sebastian Lambang, creator of SEB rests, has been listening, and he’s hard at work perfecting a new “magnum” model that will work with big, heavy guns. It is hoped that the new model SEB rest will be available in summer 2009, but it’s “too early to know for sure”.

SEB Coaxial Front Rest

2009 Update: New SEB Rest in Research & Development
Report by Ernie Bishop, USA Dealer for SEB Products

Seb’s goal is to make a new rest using an enhanced design (but it will still be a coaxial-type rest with double-sided functionality). It will have quicker elevation adjustment. It will also go lower and taller at the lowest & tallest setting (from about 4″ to 9″ tall, or more), and should accept rifle stocks up to 6″ wide. Here’s the good news — the price should be less expensive too. The new rest will still feature twin posts, with coarse elevation adjusted by rack & pinion. The center-to-center (“CTC”) between the posts is about 10″, to be able to accept rifle stocks up to 6″ wide. Like the current SEB rests, the new rest can be set up for either right-hand & left-hand shooters.

The new rest should suit a broader set of disciplines — it will work for short range BR, F-class, long-range benchrest shooting, and varmint shooting, too. Unfortunately, because of the specifications/requirements, Seb must remove the “pivotal base system” and make the base in “T” shape. The base can be disassembled for easily for more compact storage. By design, the new model rest can accept a “Balance Weight System” (BWS) better than the standard SEB rest, because the weight (which is optional) would not interfere with the front elevation screw, the fore-end stopper, or the base. This is the reason that the new base will have be built with a “T” shape.

The “BWS” is basically a counterweight, simply a chunk of stainless steel, attached on the side opposite side of the joystick. It’s an inexpensive, optional item, available in different weights. With the “BWS”, the SEB rests could accept rifles as heavy as 30 kgs (66 lbs.), or even more. This should be able to be accomplished without holding the joystick. If the weight is correctly matched to the weight of the rifle), I suspect that the rest top & “BWS” combination would remain stationary under hard recoil.

Hopefully the new rest will cost less than the current model rest. Seb is trying to keep the price under $700. This should be possible because of changes to the design and materials. It will retain the same standard of smoothness and quality that Seb is known for.

SEB Coaxial RestFinally, Seb asks for your patience. He is still evaluating materials and is still experimenting to determine what will work best. Besides this, Seb is working on an updated front bag design as well. (There is also an improved fore-end stop in the works.) Once this new rest is ready, Seb will be shipping some to the States for testing. Personally, I can’t wait to see this new rest!

Ernie Bishop
306 West Flying Circle Drive
Gillette, WY 82716
(307) 257-7431
ernieemily [at]

For more information on SEB front rests visit, or contact Ernie Bishop (address above). Ernie notes: “I have a shipment of 15 rests coming toward the beginning of March. Currently, I am out of stock, and have started a waiting list. The USA price for a SEB Rest (including one 2.25” OR 3” front bag ) is $725.00 plus shipping/handling. Please don’t get confused by the price that is listed on Seb’s website. That price is for customers in countries where there are no SEB dealers.

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
February 26th, 2009

Magnetic Soft Vise Jaws

Here’s an handy and affordable product that everyone can use in their home workshop. When working with a vise you have to be careful not to mar or gouge the item you’re clamping. People will use cardboard, old carpet, even scrap leather as “padding”. All those options can work, but magnetic soft vise jaws are a simpler solution. These come in matching sets, sold for $12-$20.00 by a variety of vendors. Measuring 4-6″ long these have an upside-down L-shaped cross-section. The are formed from a semi-soft polyurethane that won’t scratch metal (or gouge wood). Simply mount the plastic pieces over the metal jaws of your vise. The soft jaws are held in place by magnets embedded in the backside of the plastic. If you wish, you can saw off the ends of the soft jaws for a better fit on smaller vises.

In todays’ report, we highlight two kinds of soft vise jaws, one with pre-formed channels and the other with flat edges. The first unit, made by Wilton, is bright yellow, with shaped channels to hold various items. Shown below, these soft jaws will hold Wood, Metal, Tubing, and more. The Wilton jaws cost $13.69 at TrueValue Hardware stores (item 606400).

Soft Vise Jaws

For those who prefer polymer vise jaws with a flat edge (no channels), Graham Tool Co. makes a nice set of Soft Vise Jaws, priced at $19.95. Graham’s bright red vise jaws feature a flat contact surface with shallow, diamond-pattern serrations. The Graham soft jaws feature powerful rare-earth magnets, so they secure to your metal vise more securely than most other types of plastic jaws.

Soft Vise Jaws

NOT for Barrel Removal/Installation
Soft vise jaws can hold a barrel for fine work, such as engraving. However, they are not designed to resist large torque loads. Soft jaws are NOT suitable for barrel removal and installation. For those tasks, use a dedicated barrel vise with the appropriate clamping insert.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
February 25th, 2009

Freedom Hunters Organizes Hunts for U.S. Military Veterans

There are many television shows about hunting. But the Freedom Hunters series, we believe, deserves special recognition. Freedom Hunters arranges “once-in-a-lifetime” outdoor hunting adventures for American military combat veterans. Footage from these hunting trips, along with background stories on the service men and women chosen for the hunt, are packaged into weekly cable broadcasts. Click the image below to visit Freedom Hunters’ Video Archive. There, click on the “PFC Josh Reilly” link to view great clips from a Wyoming hunt.

Freedom Hunters

Freedom Hunters Seeks Female Veteran for Wyoming Pronghorn Hunt
Freedom Hunters is looking to present an all-expense-paid Wyoming pronghorn hunt to a female veteran. Freedom Hunters producers are specifically looking for women who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq. The hunt will be guided by Llano Outfitters (Casper, WY, 307-235-4865), one of Wyoming’s premier elk, deer and pronghorn outfitters. The hunt will take place in late October 2009. Applications must be received by March 15, 2009.

The woman selected to participate in this hunt will receive gifts from product sponsors and will be featured on a future episode of the Freedom Hunters television show. Those interested in applying for this opportunity should apply via the Freedom Hunters’ Application Page on the web.

Freedom Hunters is a 501(c)3 charitable organization serving the American military family. It is dedicated to honoring those who protect our freedoms. For more information about Freedom Hunters Programs, visit or e-mail info [at] Freedom Hunters airs Fridays at 4:00pm MST on the Altitude Sports and Entertainment network.

Freedom Hunters TV

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, News 30 Comments »
February 25th, 2009

$50.00 Factory Rebate on Sightron Big Sky Riflescopes

Throughout 2009, Sightron is offering purchasers a $50.00 rebate on Sightron SII Big Sky™ riflescopes. To qualify, just purchase any Sightron SII Big Sky™ Series riflescope before December 31, 2009. These scopes feature the ExacTrack™ windage and elevation system, a Broadband lens coating process, one-piece main tubes, and Sigtron’s Lifetime Warranty.

CLICK HERE for Rebate Application Form.

Sightron Big Sky Scope Rebate

The Fine Print
This offer is valied in the USA only. Purchase of an SII Big Sky™ scope must be made between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. To qualify for the rebate, purchaser must submit Sightron coupon with original sales receipt, warranty card and UPC sticker by March 31st 2010. Rebate offer cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
February 24th, 2009

Wind-Reading Skills for Hunting

On, you’ll find a good article about wind reading by Shawn Carlock. Shawn Carlock is a veteran law enforcement marksman and the current USPSA national precision rifle champion. Shawn offers good advice on how to estimate wind speeds and directions using a multitude of available indicators — not just your wind gauge: “Use anything at your disposal to accurately estimate the wind’s velocity. I keep and use a Kestrel for reading conditions….The Kestrel is very accurate but will only tell you what the conditions are where you are standing. I practice by looking at grass, brush, trees, dust, wind flags, mirage, rain, fog and anything else that will give me info on velocity and then estimate the speed.”

Shawn also explains how terrain features can cause vertical wind effects. A hunter positioned on a hilltop must account for bullet rise if there is a headwind blowing up the slope. Many shooters consider wind in only one plane — the horizontal. In fact wind has vertical components, both up and down. If you have ever piloted a small aircraft you know how important vertical wind vectors can be. Match shooters will also experience vertical rise when there is a strong tailwind blowing across an up-sloping berm ahead of the target emplacements. Overall, Shawn concludes: “The more time you spend studying the wind and its effect over varying terrain the more successful you will be as a long-range shooter and hunter.”

Permalink - Articles, Hunting/Varminting No Comments »
February 24th, 2009

Smith & Wesson Recalls Walther PPK and PPK/S Pistols

S&W PPK RecallOn February 20, 2009, Smith & Wesson issued a RECALL of Walther PPK and PPK/S pistols. This recall applies to all Walther PPK and PPK/S pistols manufactured by Smith & Wesson from March 21, 2002, until February 3, 2009. Smith & Wesson has identified a condition that may exist in certain PPK and PPK/S pistols which may permit a round to be discharged without the trigger being pulled. When the manual safety is disengaged, Smith & Wesson’s Product Engineering Group has determined that the possibility exists in certain firearms that lowering the hammer may cause a chambered round to fire.

CLICK HERE for the Serial Numbers of the pistols subject to this recall.

Remedy and Action to Be Taken
Smith & Wesson advises: “STOP USING YOUR PISTOL AND RETURN IT TO SMITH & WESSON AT ONCE. Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential for causing injury, and we ask that you stop using your pistol immediately.

When you return your pistol to Smith & Wesson, we will replace the existing hammer block feature with a new part at no cost to you. Your firearm will be returned as quickly and efficiently as possible. When your pistol is returned, you should note a punch dot which appears at the back of the frame. See the photograph below. This marking is verification that the new hammer block has been installed and that your pistol is safe to handle.”


FREE Shipping Voucher and Instructions
To receive a UPS pre-paid billable stamp and shipping instructions to arrange for the modification of your pistol, CLICK HERE or contact Smith & Wesson directly at 1-800-331-0852.

Permalink News 11 Comments »
February 23rd, 2009

Have Guns, Will Travel — NCSA Mobile Shooting Club

This story comes to us courtesy of the NRA Blog, which recently featured the innovative program of the North Coast Shooters Association (NCSA). The NCSA has pioneered a “movable match” that utilizes multiple shooting facilities to expand the opportunities for competitive shooters in the Midwest and Ohio region. The NCSA is a mobile shooting club. Instead of owning its own range, the NCSA has a trailer loaded with everything needed to hold a match including homemade spotter discs, spindles, and pasters. The NCSA holds its competitions wherever they find enough interest, rather than trying to draw people to one location. This unique approach attracts first-time shooters and those adverse to traveling long distances, creating a nice turn-out every time.

NCSA Mobile Shooting Club

NCSA Offers Matches at Military Bases
A little over a year and a half ago, NCSA founder Nick Mullet decided there weren’t enough places to shoot east of the Mississippi River. As a result, the North Coast Shooters Association was formed with the mission of opening additional ranges for civilian shooters. Nick contacted military bases normally closed to civilians and got permission to hold matches. The NCSA secured .50 and .223 caliber matches at Fort Knox, Fort McCoy, Fort Drum, Camp Gruber, Camp Perry, and Thunder Valley.

“From our start in mid 2007, we’ve held five .50 caliber matches and two .223 matches in four different locations throughout three states”, Nick stated. The NCSA has grown to 74 paid members and has high hopes for the future. With increased membership comes more frequent competitions over a larger area. Any and all skill levels are welcome to NCSA matches as long as they follow Nick’s two basic rules: 1) No one has the authority to get hurt; and 2) Have a good time.

NCSA Mobile Shooting Club

For more information, visit the North Coast Shooters Association website and NCSA Forum. The NCSA may be planning a match near you.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
February 23rd, 2009

Lou Alessi, Respected Holster-Maker, Succombs to Cancer

Lou Alessi, one of America’s leading holster-makers for four decades, passed away this weekend in New York after a struggle with cancer. Lou was a great designer, and a master craftsman. He invented many holster designs that were copied by other holster-makers. Alessi’s classic ankle holster design was “the standard against which others are measured”, and the Alessi Talon, in this Editor’s opinion, is simply the best IWB (Inside Waist-Band) design ever. The Talon IWB is thin, comfortable, durable, easy-to-deploy, and affordable. This editor once asked Lou why he maintained affordable pricing on the Talon while other holster-makers were selling copy-cat designs for twice the price. Lou replied: “I’m not in this to get rich. I want to sell at a fair price so law enforcement officers can afford good equipment.”

Lou Alessi Leather Holster

D.M. Clark, moderator of the 911 Jobs Forum, noted: “Lou was well known to all those in law enforcement, who found his gear to be beautifully made and durable beyond belief. Almost all custom holster craftsman today credit their designs and skills to the generous advice and support of Lou Alessi. [He was] truly a real gentlemen. RIP Lou.”

Jim Shepherd of the Shooting Wire adds: “[Alessi’s] reputation among his fellow holster-makers was a man who led by example…. That’s the same kind of reputation Alessi had among fellow holster makers coming up in the past two decades; if there was a question about how to do something, Alessi was always willing to share his insights. Insights many others considered their trade secrets.”

Permalink News 6 Comments »
February 22nd, 2009

Reader TECH TIP Contest — Submit Your Best Tips

The TECH TIPS shared in this Daily Bulletin are very popular. We know there are many clever folks out there who have developed interesting tricks and procedures to load better ammo or shoot tighter groups. To share some of these “bright ideas” with our readers, we’ve decided to run a contest, rewarding the best reader-submitted Daily Bulletin TECH TIPS.

Bulletin TECH TIPS Contest
We are soliciting TECH TIPS from our readers. These can include reloading advice, ways to optimize the use of tools, pointers on how to maintain/repair rifles, or even advice on how to set up your rifle better on the bags. You might also explain how to craft a simple, inexpensive tool or gadget to assist with reloading. One popular TECH TIP was from a reader who built a portable reloading bench using a Black & Decker Workmate as a base. Another guy crafted a custom jig to control cut depth with a neck chamferer. One popular reader-supplied TECH TIP explained how to fit a mirror and magnifying glass to make it easier to use a balance-beam scale. There are all kinds of good ideas… so come on and share your best tips with us.

Contest Rules
To enter the contest, you must have an original idea (no copies from somebody else’s post or article), and original photos. You must submit at least 400 words explaining your TECH TIP, and provide at least three (3) good, sharp digital photos (or technical diagrams). The photos should be 640×400 or more pixels. 1024×768 is ideal. Any TECH TIP without photos/diagrams will be ineligible for prizes.

Entrants MUST supply their name, address, email address, and phone number. We must have that information for fact-checking purposes and to notify the winners.

We will select the top TECH TIPS in late April. All submissions (text and photos) become the property of | We will run the best TECH TIPS in the Daily Bulletin over the next few months.

Contest Prizes
The writers of the Best Four (4) TECH TIPS will each receive a prize. First Prize is an RCBS CaseMaster ($100.00 value), Second Prize is a 100-ct box of Berger Bullets (.204, .224, 6mm, 6.5mm calibers), Third and Fourth Prizes will be T-Shirts (Large or X-Large only).

Contest Deadline
To be considered in the Contest, you must submitted your TECH TIP (500 or more words plus at least 3 photos), no later than April 10, 2009. While 500 words + 3 photos is the minimum, you can submit longer articles and more photos. It is OK to submit multiple entries.

Permalink News, Reloading No Comments »
February 21st, 2009

Sinclair Int'l Releases New 2009 Catalog

Sinclair Int'l 2009 CatalogSinclair Int’l has released its latest catalog of products for precision shooters. As always, the Sinclair Catalog is packed with interesting gear, and this 2009-A catalog has a bunch of new products. Most notably, the catalog features a wide selection of Nightforce scopes, including the Benchrest models. Sinclair Int’l is now a stocking Nightforce dealer. The 12-42×56 BR model is Sinclair Product 72-1045, priced at $1359.00.

Among the many new items in Sinclair’s catalog are two new products from Edgewood, makers of sandbags and high-quality leather shooting products. The first Edgewood addition will make old-fashioned bag-squeezers rejoice. Edgewood’s new “Softy” is an extra-soft squeezable rear bag is made of heavy Elk Hide. The Softy’s base is extra thick, but still soft (not a hard donut like Edgewood’s otherbags). This bag is approximately 3-1/2” tall with medium height ears and a 3/16” ear spread. Sinclair comments: “If you prefer to squeeze the rear bag for minor sight adjustments instead of turning knobs on your front rest, this is the perfect rear bag for the job. The Softy’s taller, soft ears will accommodate just about any stock style.” The Softy, Item 04-7575, retails for $135.50.

Edgewood Softy Rear Bag Sinclair Int'l

The second Edgewood item we noticed was the new leather Stock Protector, item 04-7580. Yes, we know, a cheap, old towel can do the same job, but the $32.95 Edgewood product will stay in place better than a towel and it provides a better barrier against solvents that might harm your stock’s finish. This is a beautifully-made item, a shooting accessory for the “man who has everything”. Two 1/4” steel rods are sewn into the side edges of the stock protector to keep it in place on the stock. Made of a single piece of quality leather, the Edgewood Stock Protector is 9-1/2” wide and 12” long.

Edgewood Stock Protector Sinclair Int'l

Sinclair Int’l Catalog Requests
Sinclair’s 2009-A catalog is free for the asking. CLICK HERE for a catalog request form. Fill it out and Sinclair will mail its latest catalog to you.

Permalink New Product No Comments »
February 21st, 2009

Updated 2009 Traveler's Guide to Firearms Laws

Many readers will be driving across multiple states this spring and summer to attend competitions. Other shooters will be heading out of state for a game hunt or to spend a week in the prairie dog fields. For $13.95 you can purchase a state-by-state Traveler’s Guide to firearms laws. Written by a lawyer, this 68-page guide covers all firearms types and all 50 states. It even has information for Canada and Mexico. The latest edition of the Traveler’s guide, updated with 38 changes for 2009, has just been released.

CLICK HERE for Sample Page.

The Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the Fifty States has sold more than 700,000 copies since it was first released in 1996. The book’s author, Attorney J. Scott Kappas, has written numerous magazine articles and has appeared on television, explaining the unexpected pitfalls that shooters may encounter when traveling with firearms. Along with being an attorney, Mr. Kappas serves as a director on the Board of the Kentucky Firearms Foundation, and Kappas is a Class III firearms dealer.

The Traveler’s Guide has proven especially useful for shooters traveling in RVs and motorhomes. One reader from Texas noted: “”I used to think that my RV was the same as my home when it came to gun carry….the Traveler’s Guide set me straight. Now I know my motorhome is subject to the same laws as any vehicle when it comes to guns.”

Permalink News No Comments »
February 20th, 2009

Videos Show How to Apply Spray-On, Heat-Cured Gun Finishes

In recent years, spray-on finishes have become a popular alternative to traditional blueing for chrome-moly barrels and receivers, plus other gun parts. Spray-on finishes provide excellent rust-proofing, some degree of abrasion resistance, and many of the finishes also provide increased lubricity for moving parts. (Be aware, however, that these finishes go on thin, and the finish can wear through on high-abrasion areas, such as slide rails on pistols.)

Matte spray-on products work well for hunters looking for a dull, non-glossy finish that blends into the background. A bake-on polymer-type finish is a very good choice for a shotgun or rifle used in the winter or in damp environments (such as duck blinds).

Brownells Gun-Kote

Brownells has created a Six-part series of videos that explain, step by step, how to apply a spray-on finish to gun parts. In Parts I & II, Brownells gunsmith Dave Bennetts explains the basics of spray-on finishes, then shows how to properly prep metal parts for finishing.

In the next four videos, Bennetts provides specific application instructions for four different spray-on gun finish products. Bennetts explains the strengths and weaknesses of each product for particular firearm types. Click the links below to watch the specific product videos:

Spray-on Finish – Chapter 3 – Baking Lacquer
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 4 – Gun-Kote
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 5 – Teflon-Moly
Spray-on Finish – Chapter 6 – Aluma-Hyde II

Of the four featured products, Gun-Kote, sold by Brownells under license from KG Industries, offers superior corrosion resistance, and is probably the most popular of the four products for use on rifles. Gun-Kote was originally developed for the military and was first used by Navy SEALS. Gun-Kote is an “oven-cure” finish applied to pre-heated metal. Though it goes on thin, Gun Kote cures to a hard coating that resists abrasion and won’t wear through as easily as bluing or chemically blackened surface treatments. Brownells Gun-Kote is offered in a wide variety of colors, shown below.

Brownells Gun-Kote

Permalink Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
February 20th, 2009

Hot Deals from Cabela's Bargain Cave

Among the many good deals in Cabela’s Bargain Cave, we found a couple outstanding bargains this week. How about a quality hydration pack for $14.88, or a fleece neck gaitor for just $2.88? Note, also currently offers free shipping on orders of $150.00 or more. Use Promo Code ’29SHIP’.

Bargain 70-oz. Hydration Pack
Cabela’s is offering a good, solid basic hydration pack for just $14.88, marked down from $24.99 (item OG-517656). While a benchrester may never need a water pack, this is a great accessory for a varmint hunter, F-Class shooter, High Power competitor, or any one who has to spend long hours in the hot sun. The pack (offered in blue or green) features a 70-oz. H20 reservoir, comfortable shoulder straps, and a handy mesh pocket for keys or cell phone. Similar hydration packs from other manufacturers can cost $40 or more. A recent purchaser praised the Cabela’s design: “Great item — I have been very impressed with the Cabela’s Diamond Peak Hydration Packs I ordered. The bite valve is very easy to use and never leaks a drip. The pack construction seems very solid. No need to pay more.”

Cabela's Hydration Pack

Polartec Fleece Neck Gator — $2.88
The last time this Editor went to the range at the crack of dawn, it was about 30 degrees. I sure could have used this warm, thick fleece neck gaiter. This Polartec “WAMUgaiter™” (item OG-942580) has an angled zipper so you can adjust ventilation. I’ve used these when skiing and riding a motorcycle as well. You can easily slide them up and down to adjust the warmth factor, and unlike a full-head-coverage Balaclava, they won’t make you look like a Ninja assassin. Note, the only color available is BLAZE ORANGE, though the photo below shows camo. That may disappoint some, but for under three bucks, how can you complain. This is a very versatile cold-weather item, on sale now for just $2.88.

Cabela's Neck Gaiter

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February 19th, 2009

New Project Rifle — Our 6-6.5×47 + 6.5×47 Switch-Barrel

After much anticipation, we finally rolled out our latest project gun, a Bat-actioned 6-6.5×47/6.5×47 Lapua switch-barrel benchrest rifle. Equipped with two (2) Bartlein 30″ 5R barrels, the gun was designed to compete in a variety of disciplines: F-Class, Varmint Matches (Silhouette + Paper), and 600- and 1000-yard Benchrest.

6-6.5x47 Project Rifle

The gun was built to a 17-lb. weight limit, with the goal of achieving the maximum possible accuracy with this pair of cartridges. We chose two identical, 30″ Bartlein barrels so we could evaluate the relative performance of the 6.5×47 and its necked-down 6mm version, holding as many variables constant as possible. Both barrels were chambered by ace gunsmith Mark King with tight-tolerance, no-turn necks.

6-6.5x47 Project Rifle.
Sightron provided the SIII 8-32×56 30mm scope, shown mounted in Burris Signature Zee Rings.

The rifle, two years in the making, features top-of-the-line components. The action is a BAT multi-flat MB, with a +20MOA Weaver-style rail on top. As the action was originally intended to be used in an F-Class rifle, the loading port was enlarged at the BAT factory to load full-length .284 Winchester rounds.

Baer laminated stockThe stock design is unique. It started as a Bruce Baer MB Tooley style, but we added some custom design upgrades. The sides of the fore-end are square (like a McMillan edge), and the underside of the fore-end has been relieved in the middle, creating two “rails”. The rear flat, on the underside of the buttstock, is 1.25″ wide, with a channel cut in the middle (to reduce drag, and to ensure that the bag tracks in the ears rather than on the center stitching.)

The stock was expertly inletted, pillar-bedded, and finished by Alex Sitman of Master Class Stocks. Alex put much time and effort into ensuring that the geometry was square throughout, with straight, parallel tracking surfaces. The BAT MB action has an extended front section, to allow for additional bedding surface. The MB action employs a three-action screw design. Sitman installed pillars for all three action screws then carefully bedded the entire action. Alex, one of the best stock-workers in the world, did a great job on this rifle.

6-6.5x47 Project Rifle

Rifle Will Provide Load Data for New Cartridge Guide
This rifle was originally conceived as a match-grade test bed for the 6.5×47 Lapua cartridge and its wildcat cousin the 6-6.5×47. Jason Baney will test different powders and bullets in the rifle, to develop reliable load data for an upcoming 6.5×47/6-6.5×47 Cartridge Guide. And yes, we will be trying H4350, Reloder 17, and the relatively new Hodgdon Hybrid 100V. Jason will test a variety of flat-base and boat-tail bullets in both 6mm and 6.5mm.

Pet Loads Wanted for 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47 Cartridge Guide
While Jason will generate load data for our planned 6-6.5×47/6.5×47 Cartridge Guide, we recognize that one rifle (even with two barrels) can’t provide all the key info. Each gun has its powder/bullet preferences, so we want to offer a broad sampling of load data for the new Cartridge Guide. That’s where you, our readers, can help.

If you shoot the 6-6.5×47 or 6.5×47 Lapua, and have developed some really great loads, share them with us. We can then include more data in our planned load charts. Send your “pet loads” to Be sure to include: Powder Brand, Charge Weight, Primer Type, Bullet Brand and weight, and the OAL or known seating depth. We also request that you list the type of action, barrel length, and contour. Chron data is also important. Include the tested Muzzle Velocity, Extreme Spread (ES), and Standard Deviation (SD) if possible. It’s helpful if you can provide a short summary of your load, such as “Great 600-yard accuracy, near max, works best with light neck tension, low ES/SD.”

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February 19th, 2009

Detailed Review of SEB Coaxial Rest

Mark Trope, Webmaster of the Gun Owner Network website, has written a very thorough review of the SEB Coaxial front rest. Mark’s SEB Rest Review covers all the bases, showing how the rest works with a variety of rifle types, including both wide-forearm match rifles and narrow-forearm sporter rifles. Mark provides dozens of clear photos of the rest, showing many of the fine points of SEB’s impressive design. The review shows how to set-up and level the rest, and how to tune the “feel” of the joystick to suit your preferences. Some rest users prefer the joystick to move quite freely, while others prefer to dial in some resistance so there is no chance of movement when you remove your hand from the joystick.

SEB Coaxial Rest Review

SEB Bigfoot bag eviewAfter covering the features and performance of the SEB Rest, Trope turns his attention to the SEB “BigFoot” rear bag. He explains why it’s a super-stable choice in rear bags, one of the best products available. You’ll note we acquired a SEB BigFoot rear bag for our latest Project Rifle (see story above). After providing tips on how to fill the bag with heavy sand, Trope shows how to adapt a RubberMaid “ActionPacker” plastic storage bin to carry both the SEB Front Rest and the BigFoot Bag.

If you are considering the purchase of a joystick-style front rest, or joystick-style rest top, you should definitely read Trope’s Rest Review. It will definitely help you identify the features you need, so you can make an informed decision, whatever brand you ultimately choose. To learn more about the SEB coaxial rest, or to place an order, contact Sebastian Lambang’s American dealer, Ernie Bishop:

Ernie Bishop
306 West Flying Circle Drive
Gillette, WY 82716
(307) 257-7431
ernieemily [at]

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February 18th, 2009

Melonite Surface Treatment for Barrels, Bolts, and Actions

Melonite surface hardeningAce trigger-puller Joel Kendrick, a former IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year, has been working on a MELONITE® nitrocarburizing process for surface-hardening barrels and other gun parts. The main advantage of Melonite barrel treatment is that it reduces friction in the bore and lessens bore surface wear, potentially extending barrel life. Melonite-treatment of a bore creates a new compound layer in the top 10-20 microns of the surface, creating a very hard, slick surface. Joel has found that this surface is so slick that carbon does not easily adhere, so the barrel is easier to keep clean. Real-world tests have shown that Melonite barrel treatment definitely reduces internal barrel friction. Joel notes that, after processing, barrels deliver 50 to 100 fps LESS velocity with the same load, a reliable indicator of reduced friction. (Likewise, you’ll get less velocity when switching from naked to moly-coated bullets.) Butch Lambert has tried some Melonite-treated barrels, and he reports: “I have had Joel Kendrick do three barrels for me in Melonite. I polished them first and the finish is like a deep polished black-bluing. One Krieger has 5000 rounds on it and it is shooting just as well as when new. It has been an incredible barrel. It has no throat erosion. It has developed a bunch of pinprick looking spots in the throat, but doesn’t seem to hurt anything. The finish is so hard you can’t thread it. I have not put one of the LV barrels on yet and the heavy is a great shooter and doesn’t have many rounds on it. My experience has been great, but a more extensive test is needed.”

Salt-bath nitrocarburizing by Melonite process has been applied in a wide range of industries throughout the world for many decades. It is used to improve the wear resistance, the fatigue strength, and corrosion resistance of components made from steel, cast iron, and sintered iron materials. The Melonite process is used as an alternative to other surface engineering processes such as case hardening.

Kendrick Melonite barrel

Joel tells us: “I have been experimenting with this Melonite process for the last five years. I have been testing nitrocarburized barrels on my F-class and Long Range equipment since 2005 with good results. What will it cost? Joel expects Melonite treatment will cost under $100.00 per barrel, but the final pricing structure hasn’t been set yet. There will be volume discounts for gunsmiths and manufacturers.

There are many potential applications of Melonite processing for shooters, Joel believes. In addition to barrels, bolts, actions, internal components, and even reloading equipment can be surface-hardened with the Melonite process. After processing, the surface compound layers formed consist of iron, nitrogen, carbon and oxygen. Due to its microstructure, the compound layer does not possess metallic properties. Depending on material used, the compound layer will have a Vickers hardness of about 800 to 1500 HV, and a layer depth of 10 to 20 micorons. That’s so hard that conventional reamers won’t work well on a Melonited surface, so the barrel must be chambered BEFORE Melonite processing.

Kendrick Melonite barrel

Lower Friction, Less Throat Erosion, Longer Barrel Life
Joel believes there are many benefits to Melonite barrel processing. The barrels he has treated and tested have shown reduced fouling, less throat erosion, and extended useful barrel life. Melonite-treated Chrome-moly barrels will have improved corrosion resistance as well. But are there negatives? According to Joel, “with stainless barrels, Melonite processing may reduce corrosion resistance slightly. Also, the treatment process makes the surface so hard that re-chambering is not practical — so this is something you do to already-chambered barrels.”

What about accuracy? Joel says: “Melonite barrel treatment should have no effect, positive or negative, on accuracy… except to the extent that your barrel may retain its best accuracy longer since it won’t wear out as fast.”

To learn more about the Melonite nitrocarburizing process and its application to shooting products, contact Joel Kendrick, joelkndrck [at], or call (704) 616-6442.

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