July 21st, 2009

Three-Jaw Case-Holder for Neck-Turning Duties

Grant, one of our Forum members from New Zealand, asked if there was a universal shell-holder that could hold cartridges securely for neck-turning, trimming, and case prep. He complained that the screwdriver-type case holder he was using didn’t center easily, was hard to tighten, and the case sometimes came loose during rotation. Another forum member agreed that he has experienced the same problems using a screwdriver-type case-holder.

This editor has found that a K&M screwdriver-type case holder CAN work securely if you tighten the locking mechanism tightly with the supplied wrench. But then you need the wrench again to get the case OUT. We were interested to see if there was a better solution that held the case securely, yet was easy to lock and unlock without tools.

Forum member Gunamonth provided a solution: “I use a Lee Zip Trim three-jaw case holder. With a little practice it centers the case quite nicely and holds just about anything. Chuck it in a cordless drill and have at it. It is much better than either the K&M or Sinclair [case-holder] in my opinion and the Zip Trim jaw is a lot cheaper (about $12.00). To use with power, you also need the Zip Trim three-jaw spindle, which is another $2.00.”

Lee three-jaw universal case holder

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July 20th, 2009

Sako 85 Finnlight Rifle Highly Rated in Comparison Test

We generally don’t put too much stock in awards handed out by print magazines, nor the NRA’s Golden Bullseye awards (which often seem to be the “Golden Ad Revenue Payback Awards”), but we were pleased to see the Sako 85 rifle receive some recognition. The Sako 85 Finnlight stainless model received an “Excellent” rating from Outdoor Life magazine in its annual review of hunting rifles. The Finnlight ST was the only rifle tested to receive an overall rating of 4 Stars, or the classification of “Excellent”. READ Sako 85 Finnlight REVIEW.

AccurateShooter Sako Finnlight 85 stainless

Each year Outdoor Life performs tests and offers awards in various product categories. This year 13 new rifle models were tested and more than 3,500 rounds of ammunition were fired. “Our rigorous … testing protocol offers the toughest, most honest comparison of new hunting rifles on the market,” according to John B. Snow, Executive Editor. The Finnlight ST received “A” grades in both Workmanship and Performance. Outdoor Life’s tester wrote: “The proven Sako 85 action is as slick and reliable as they come, and the accuracy of our test sample (in .308 Win.) was impressive, especially in light of the rifle’s unscoped weight of 5 pounds 6 ounces. One of my 5-shot groups using Hornady 168gr A-Max ammo measured a scant .581″. The Finnlight is a rifle you can trust your hunt to, which is about the highest praise of all.”

AccurateShooter Sako Finnlight 85 stainless

The complete 2009 Hunting Rifle Test can be read online on the Outdoor Life Website. Guns tested are listed alphabetically below, and you can click the links to read individual reviews:

CZ-USA/Brno Effect
H&R Pardner Pump (pump action)
Marlin 338MX (lever action)
Marlin XS7
Merkel KR1
Mossberg 4X4
Remington R-15 (AR type)
Ruger M77 Predator
Sako 85 Finnlight
Savage Arms M11 FHNS
Stag Arms M7 (AR type)
T/C Precision Hunter
T/C Venture

CLICK HERE to Read 2009 Outdoor Life Hunting Rifle Reviews.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 4 Comments »
July 20th, 2009

Army Marksman Wins NRA Pistol Championship

AccurateShooter SFC James Henderson USAMUArmy Sgt. 1st Class James Henderson won the 2009 NRA National Pistol Championship with a 2646-141X score, followed by Philip Hemphill (2642-131X), and Brian Zins (2637-131X). SFC Henderson, who shoots for the USAMU, also won the Regular Service Champion Title. For his victories, Henderson received the Harrison Trophy, a new firearm, and $550 in Visa gift cards. Below are other winners by category:

Civilian Champion: Brian Zins, 2637-131x
Woman Champion: Judy Tant, 2566-72x
Grand Senior Champion: John Farley, 2538-77x
Senior Champion: Ron Steinbrecher, 2607-99x
Junior Champion: Bryan Layfield, 2545-81x
Collegiate Champion: John Gunn, 2442-45x
Police Champion: Philip Hemphill, 2642-129x
Army Reserve Champion: SFC Keith Sanderson, 2623-109x
National Guard Champion: SFC Ralph Young, 2565-65x

CLICK HERE to download NRA Pistol Championship Results.

SFC Henderson put in a truly dominant performance. Henderson swept every major individual award, breaking national records along the way and establishing himself as the standard bearer in service pistol. He is the first active-duty Soldier to win the national championship in 24 years. Henderson won every event he was entered in and also led his team to a championship. The Soldier’s dominance commenced at the NRA’s Pistol Championship when he won the Harrison Trophy as the top individual with a score of 2646. He also finished in first-place in the individual .22-caliber and center-fire events.

Next up was the National Trophy Individual Pistol Match, where Henderson won the General Cluster Trophy for the third time. In the process, Henderson set a new national record with a score of 297 out of 300, breaking a record that had stood since 1978.

“What Sgt. 1st Class Henderson accomplished this season is best left undescribed, as there are no words that can put it in a context that does the feat justice,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jason St. John, service pistol team noncommissioned officer-in-charge. “Imagine that never in the history of marksmanship competition that dates over 100 years has anyone done this. No one ever has or probably ever will.”

Congratulations to all of the Champions from the 2009 NRA National Pistol Championships! Complete match standings (with scores) are available in .pdf format from the NRA Championship Results webpage.

This report courtesy the NRA BLOG.

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July 19th, 2009

Rifle Trigger Springs from Ernie-The-Gunsmith

Ernie Paull from California was an active competition shooter for many years. However, his eyesight has declined so he has turned his attention to providing components for shooters and gunsmiths. Through his Ernie the Gunsmith website, Paull sells a variety of useful products including gun trigger springs, pillar-bedding kits, Accu-Risers, and pillar installation tools. This Bulletin post focuses on Ernie’s trigger springs. Ernie offers springs for a wide variety of rifles: Browning (A-Bolt, A-Bolt 22, X-Bolt), CZ (m452), Kimber, Remington (XR100, XCR, 7, 700, 722, 788, 7600 and more), Ruger (77, 77-22, LC6), Tikka (T-3), Weatherby (MK-V), and Winchester (M-70).

Springs start at just $6.95. Ernie also sells springs for the Rem-compatible Shilen Benchrest trigger, as well as Rem 700 ejector springs and trigger alignment springs. For Rem 700 rifles, Paull makes a spring that fits all Remington M-7 and M-700 triggers including the 2007-vintage X Mark-PRO trigger (but not the new X Mark-PRO trigger introduced in 2009). Ernie says: “on average, installation of his Model-700 spring will reduce factory triggers’ weight of pull by 1½ to 2½ lbs with no other changes. The exact amount of creep, overtravel, and weight of pull are dependant upon the type and amount of tuning accomplished by your gunsmith.”

We often hear requests from Tikka T-3 owners asking how they can reduce their trigger pull weight. Paull offers a Tikka T-3 varmint trigger spring which can reduce the pull weight significantly. The photo at left shows the Tikka T-3 trigger assembly.

While there is more to a good trigger job (in most cases) than just a spring swap, you need to have the proper rate spring when adjusting trigger pull weight downwards. NOTE: For safety reasons, we recommend you consult a competent gunsmith before modifying factory triggers. We stress the word competent…

Ernie has observed that some gunsmiths try to lighten trigger pulls by modifying factory springs in questionable ways: “I have worked with gunsmiths in the past who, when the subject turned to trigger springs, preferred to clip them, grind them, heat them, bend them, smash them, or simply back out the weight of pull screw until there was no or almost no pressure on the spring. With any of these methods, you get a spring whose rate is rapidly rising as the trigger is pulled. As the trigger is released, the spring rate rapidly decreases as it approaches full or near-full extension. A more uniform weight of pull will be achieved when the trigger spring is compressed within its normal working range throughout the entire movement of the trigger. In the long run, the benefits of saved time, plus more uniform and reliable results, will more than offset the cost of these [replacement] springs. If you want a lighter trigger pull, you need a lighter trigger spring.”

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 2 Comments »
July 19th, 2009

Gunvault Introduces New, Portable MicroVault

MicroVault Gun SafeA handgun is useless for home defense unless it is readily accessible in an emergency. At that same time, you must keep handguns safely secured from children and curious house guests. The “loaded .45 under the pillow” is a bad idea. There are many small handgun safes on the market, but most are still too large to be placed at arm’s reach, but out of sight, inside a dresser drawer or bedside table drawer.

Gunvault’s new MicroVault, measuring 11″ x 8 1/2″ x 2 1/4″, is ideal for bedside table installations. It can be secured via four bolt holes in the bottom. Using the No-Eyes® Keypad, a special set of finger-activated push-pads, the MicroVault can be unlocked in under three seconds — we’ve tested this ourselves. It is a reliable set-up that is much faster than using a key or spinning a combo lock. The finger-slot system also works in the dark, unlike most electronic numeric keypads.

MicroVault Gun Safe

MicroVault for Vehicle Applications
There are also situations where you want to transport a handgun in a locked case, but still want to be able to access the weapon in seconds. The new MicroVault serves that purpose well. In many states, it is illegal to carry a handgun in your vehicle unless it is in a locked container. (This assumes you do NOT have a separate concealed carry license.) But if that lockbox has a conventional hasp lock or combination lock with small tumblers, you’re not going to be able to access the weapon in a hurry. With the Microvault, your gun can be secured in the glove box or center console, yet still be accessed in seconds by pressing the right combination of fingers. LEGAL NOTE: In some jurisdictions handguns must be in a locked container in a remote part of the vehicle (e.g. backseat or the trunk), not immediately accessible by the driver. CHECK YOUR LOCAL LAWS.

If you need to transport a handgun, the MicroVault also serves as a secure, locked container that will fit inside a backpack or attache case. The standard MicroVault (model MV500) is available from vendors such as SportCo Warehouse for about $90.00. There is also a “biometric” version that works by reading your fingerprint. Potentially, the biometric MicroVault (model MVB500) offers the fastest access of all. It retails for about $175.00.

Permalink New Product 1 Comment »
July 18th, 2009

SCPRC Match Report — 2-Day Comp Truly Challenging

Our “master fabricator” and silhouette guru Mark LaFevers recently attended the SoCal Precision Rifle Competition, Mark’s first-ever tactical match. Competition was fierce at this year’s SCPRC. The match winner, and “top gun” among the 50+ competitors was Sgt. Dan Gilland, (USMC), a scout-sniper from a nearby Marine base. This was only Dan’s second civilian match and yes, the young Marine was shooting a .308 Win (7.62×51 to be precise). Jason Boak took second place while Gordon Campfield finished third. Jason was the top shooter among the NorCal guys, who did well, capturing 6 of the top 10 places, earning California intra-club bragging rights.

SoCal Precision Rifle Competition SoCal Precision Rifle Competition

Mark told us that the match was a humbling yet very fun experience. In these kind of matches very few, if any, sighters are allowed, and you’re often shooting at unknown distances. Accordingly, it is imperative that you have rock-solid come-ups at all distances, before you arrive at the match. In addition, the SCPRC offered the challenges of angled shooting (requiring ballistic compensation), and lowlight shooting. Log on to the CalGuns.net Forum for a complete match report by NorCal shooter Vu Pham, with lots of photos, plus stage descriptions (match directors take note).

SoCal Precision Rifle Competition

A wide variety of calibers were shot at the match, and Mark observed that no one chambering seemed to have the edge (though a .308 finished on top). However, most of the top shooters were running detachable magazines, and had barrels fitted with muzzle brakes. You can see the dust kicked up from the muzzle brakes in the video below. The first part of the video shows a stage where competitors had to start with standing (off-hand) shots, then transition to a stepped barricade, moving lower and lower as the timer ticked off the seconds. For the standing stages, Mark noted, you wanted a rifle that balanced well and was not too heavy. Some of these beefy tactical rifles, optimized for prone work, are tough to hold offhand.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

SoCal Precision Rifle

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July 16th, 2009

Book Review: A New Ballistics Resource from Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Ballistics BookBryan Litz, chief Ballistician for Berger Bullets, has just released an impressive new, hard-cover treatise on external ballistics. While Bryan’s 536-page Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting will surely take its place among the “classic” reference books on precision shooting, it does much more than explain theories of bullet flight. Using advanced equipment, Litz measured the actual drag of over 175 popular bullet types in the field. Armed with this new experimentally-derived data, shooters can now calculate their loads’ true trajectories with greater precision than ever before.

If you’re serious about long-range shooting, or just have an interest in bullet design and performance, you should buy this book. It is offered for $39.95 directly from Bryan’s website, AppliedBallisticsLLC.com.

YouTube Preview Image

In the video above, Litz explains some of the key features of his new book. (Watch the video — Bryan explains what you’ll get for your $39.95!) Don’t be fooled by Bryan’s youthful appearance. This guy is the Einstein of external ballistics. He holds a degree in Aerospace Engineering, and he was an honest-to-goodness rocket scientist who worked with the U.S. Air Force on air-to-air missile design for six years before joning Berger Bullets. What’s more, Bryan is an extremely talented long-range shooter. Bryan was the 2008 National Palma Champion, and he holds the all-time NRA mid-range iron-sight record (450-39X).

Bryan Litz Ballistics Book

Even if you rely on a software program to calculate your come-ups, it is important to know how bullets are affected by wind and gravity, and how bullet ballistic coefficients are determined. If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of ballistics and the nuances of bullet design, you should find Bryan’s book informative and readable.

You don’t need an MIT degree to understand this book. It was Bryan’s goal to explain the important elements of exterior ballistics in a practical way that can be understood and applied by shooters. What you learn from Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting can help you make better decisions about the bullet(s) and the caliber(s) you choose to shoot, and give you more confidence when taking those long shots in the field.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 7 Comments »
July 16th, 2009

Billiard Chalks Make Fun Reactive Targets

Reactive targets — whether balloons, steel gongs, or clay birds — always add fun to a range session. But precision shooters may want something more challenging (i.e. smaller) than a clay bird when shooting inside 300 yards. For a change of pace, try shooting at small reactive targets attached to your target board.

AccurateShooter PaintballNecco Wafers and Paint Balls
We’ve seen folks shoot at candy NECCO® Wafers at 100 yards. When hit, these disintegrate nicely but don’t offer much of a visual display. For serious “splat factor”, some shooters use paint balls as targets. Glued to a cardboard backer, the paintballs explode dramatically when hit. Unfortunately paintballs make a really big mess, and your rangemaster might not be happy with the residue. Accordingly, we suggest you leave the paintballs to the “gravel pit”-type plinking ranges.

Pool Cue Chalks — Cheap, Fun, Dramatic
If you’re looking for a nice small target that makes a nice big cloud of color when hit, try pool cue chalks. You know, those little blue cubes you use to dust the end of billiard cues. Measuring about 7/8″ per side, billiard chalks make very challenging targets at 100 and 200 yards. When you hit them, if you nail the circular “dimple” in the middle, they disintegrate impressively, tossing blue “smoke” in all directions.

AccurateShooter Billiard Chalks targets

To see actual hits on chalk at 100 and 200 yards, watch the video below. The movie-maker, Phil of the Random Nuclear Strikes Blog, cautions that: “You’ll notice (in the video) that some of the hits are ‘wiffs’ instead of ‘poofs’. If you look at the picture above, you’ll see the 1/2 inch dimple in the cube face. If you don’t put the bullet in that dimple, it’ll ‘wiff’ on you.”

Pool cue chalks are inexpensive. You can buy a dozen chalks online for about $3.00 — just 25 cents each. And the prices drop with more quantity. One gross of chalks (that’s 144 pieces) costs just $23.00 at ozonebilliards.com.

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July 15th, 2009

Wolf Primers IN STOCK at Powder Valley and Wideners

On Monday, we reported that Powder Valley, Inc. would be receiving a very large shipment of Wolf Primers today, July 15th. In addition, Wideners.com has already received a big shipment of Wolf Primers on 7/14. You can now place orders online with Wideners, but they caution that there will be shipping delays of up to one week. Wideners has Small Rifle Magnum primers in stock for $29.00/1000 and the Large Rifle (Regular) and Large Rifle Magnum in stock for $29.50/1000. NOTE: for the BR and PPC cases we recommend the Small Rifle Magnum primers. Regular Wolf Small Rifle primers have soft cups.

CLICK HERE to order Wolf Primers from Wideners.com.

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July 15th, 2009

ATF Letter Clarifies Rules on Firearm Receiver Transfers

AccurateShooter ATF logoWith the current high demand for AR15-style rifles, the sales of both bare (stripped) and semi-assembled lower AR receivers has increased dramatically. This has led to questions, from both buyers and Federal Firearms License holders, as to how these lower receivers should be handled during sales. The ATF has issued a letter which deals with these issues. Important points to note are:

1) An FFL may not sell a frame or receiver to anyone under 21 years of age [Title 18, U.S.C., section 922 (b)(1)]. Comment: This is because the receiver could, potentially, be made into a pistol.

2) An FFL may not transfer a frame or receiver to an unlicensed person from another State. [Title 18, U.S.C. section 922(b)(3)]. Comment: Again, this tracks the rules regarding transfers of pistols, because some frames/receivers can be built into pistols.

3) Multiple handgun sales forms (ATF forms 3320.4) are NOT required for sales of multiple frames or receivers of any firearm, as they are not pistols or revolvers. Comment: This may seem inconsistent with points 1 and 2 above, but this follows from the provisions of CFT 478.11 which states that bare frames or receivers are not handguns until so assembled.

Further information on these points is contained in the July 7, 2009 letter from the ATF, which is linked below. All FFLs are encouraged to download this letter and read it carefully.

CLICK HERE for 7/9/2009 Letter from ATF Re Firearm Frames and Receivers

AccurateShooter AR15 lower

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 4 Comments »
July 15th, 2009

New Tactical Television Show on the Sportsman Channel

Tactical Arms TVIf you haven’t got your fill of Tactical TV with the Military Channel and History Channel offerings, check out Tactical Arms, a new program hosted by Larry Vickers and broadcast on the Sportsman Channel. Vickers is a skilled gunsmith who has two decades of U.S. Special Operations experience. He is supported by SEAL Team veteran Kyle DeFoor and Australian ADF Commando Jason Falla. These guys are all very knowledgeable and the technical information is solid. Based on the previews we’ve watched, we can say the show has high production values, enhanced by high-quality animated graphics.

Tactical Arms, which offers a unique exploration of modern weapons, from machine guns to battle rifles to combat pistols, will have its primary airing on Thursday nights at 9:30 pm ET during the network’s “Thursday Night Shooting” lineup presented by Midway USA. (Tactical Arms is followed by Handguns at 10:00 PM, and Guns and Ammo TV at 10:30 PM.) Other show times are Wednesday at 2:30 pm and Saturday at 12:00 am Eastern time.

Tactical Arms TV

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July 14th, 2009

Sam Hall Sets New 600-Yard IBS Score Record

This past weekend, Sam Hall of Booneville, NC, set a new IBS Heavy Gun Score Aggregate record, 197 out of 200 (four, 5-shot groups, maximum 10 points per shot). That’s remarkable shooting by Sam, who holds multiple IBS records and was the IBS 600-yard Shooter of the Year in 2008. Sam’s 197 represents the highest Score Aggregate ever shot in either Light Gun or Heavy Gun IBS 600-yard competition. Sam was shooting a 6mm Dasher in a Shehane Maxi-Tracker stock with a Brux cut-rifled barrel.

AccurateShooter Sam Hall 600-yard IBS

Sam told us: “Here are pictures of my IBS 600-yard 6mm Dasher. With this 197 HG Score Agg, now Brux holds both the Score and Group Heavy Gun IBS Aggs. Mike Davis set the Heavy Gun IBS 600-yard Group Agg two months ago, also using a Brux barrel.”

AccurateShooter Sam Hall 600-yard IBS

AccurateShooter Sam Hall 600-yard IBS

Permalink News 1 Comment »
July 14th, 2009

New Bushnell RangeFinder with Angle Range Compensation

Bushnell has released a new Legend 1200 ARC laser rangefinder (LRF) with a claimed 1,200-yard capability on highly reflective objects. Bushnell claims the Legend 1200 will range a tree out to 850 yards, or a deer-sized animal out to 475 yards.

AccurateShooter Bushnell Laser Rangefinder

A compact 4.3″ x 2.9″ x 1.7″ size, the Legend 1200 weighs just 7.4 ounces. This is small and light enough to carry in a shirt pocket. The Legend 1200 features a multi-coated 6X optic and all external lens surfaces are coated with RainGuard HD. With a $349.00 MSRP, the Legend 1200 is available in black or Realtree® AP™ camouflage.

AccurateShooter Bushnell Laser RangefinderBuilt-In Angle Compensation
The Legend 1200 has a built-in inclinometer so it can give you true horizontal yardage for up-angle and down-angle shots. That is very important for hunters and tactical shooters who must rapidly adjust for shot angle to ensure a hit. In Rifle Mode the Legend 1200 calculates the angle and indicates the holdover required in either inches or MOA (user selectable output). The range of angle measurement is -90 to +90 degrees.

A new feature in the Legend 1200 is Variable Sight-In Distance capability or VSI™. In Rifle Mode, users can select between 100, 150, 200 or 300 yard sight-in distances to accommodate their shooting styles and preferences. Other standard features include SCAN, Bulls Eye and Brush Modes for better targeting and accuracy. The Legend 1200 ARC is rubber armored and fully waterproof. It comes with a carrying case, lanyard and 3-volt CR2 battery.

Permalink New Product, Optics No Comments »
July 14th, 2009

Balolia Blogs Bisley — F-Class World Championship Reports

The U.S. F-Class Open Rifle team takes off for the UK on July 15th to participate in the 3rd World F-Class Championship, hosted in Bisley, England for 2009. This prestigious match is held every four years. The American Team won the inaugural event held in Canada, while the second World Championship was won by the South African squad on their home turf. To view profiles of U.S. Team members and learn more about the 2009 Championships, click the link below:

F-Class Championship

Daily Bisley Blogs from Shiraz Balolia
AccurateShooter F-Class ChampionshipThis year Shiraz Balolia, U.S. Team Vice Captain, plans to provide Daily Updates on the World Championships via a Web Blog. In his first Blog entry, Balolia writes: “On July 17th [there are] three matches, the Century 500 and 600 yards and the Admiral Hutton 900 yards. There are a number of different matches just about every single day until Saturday the 25th of July. Then, the World Championships start on Monday July 27, 2009.

The whole U.S. F-Class Open team will be shooting the proven 6.5-284 caliber. Several of the other teams are shooting the ballistically superior 7mm calibers, but we expect to outwit them with our calculated wind calls. The English have a ‘home court’ advantage and are utilizing their best wind readers who know the nuances of their ranges inside out.”

CLICK HERE for F-Class Blog by Shiraz Balolia

F-Class News for Twitter Fans
The U.S. F-Class team has also created a Twitter account, so you can follow events via this popular social networking site. CLICK HERE for the latest F-Class “Tweets”.

F-Class Championship

Permalink Competition 7 Comments »
July 13th, 2009

Powder Valley to Receive Truckload of Wolf Primers This Week

Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) reports that it is scheduled to receive twenty thousand (20,000), 1000-count boxes of Wolf primers this Wednesday, July 15th. PVI staffers don’t know the exact distribution of primer types, but the large shipment should include small rifle, small rifle magnum (recommended for 6BR and 6-6.5×47), large rifle, and large rifle magnum, as well as pistol primers.

You may want to call Powder Valley, 1- 800-227-4299, and place your orders right away. We can’t predict how long Wolf primer supplies will last. Just last week Powder Valley received a shipment of CCI primers and they were gone in two days.

Wolf Primers AccurateShooter.com

Permalink Hot Deals 1 Comment »
July 12th, 2009

National Championships at Camp Perry Start July 13th

Camp Perry 2009 National matchesThe 2009 NRA National Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio kick off tomorrow, July 13th.13th with the First Shot Ceremony. This week, pistol competitors vie for top honors, and then smallbore matches begin on July 22. Our Daily Bulletin will report on highlights of the rifle matches. In addition, the NRA Blog has sent reporters to Ohio to provide regular, day-by-day Blog coverage of the National Matches, from start to finish. Here is a schedule of major events:

  • July 13: First Shot Ceremony
  • July 14-18: NRA Pistol Matches
  • July 22-25: NRA Smallbore 3-Position Matches
  • July 26-30: NRA Prone Smallbore Matches
  • August 9: Whistler Boy High Power Rifle Match & NRA/Springfield M1A Match
  • August 10-14: NRA National High Power Rifle Matches
  • August 15-19: NRA Long Range Matches

The National Matches, considered America’s “World Series of the Shooting Sports”, have been a tradition at Camp Perry, Ohio since 1907. Each summer, the nation’s finest civilian and military marksmen and women square off for five weeks of rifle and handgun competition in a variety of formats and events. For complete match results, visit the NRA National Championships webpage. You’ll also find lots of helpful information on the CMP National Match Index Page. This includes a detailed calendar, Match Rules, and Online Event Registration.

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July 11th, 2009

Rifle-Mounted Ammo Carriers — Low-Cost or Tacti-Cool

One of our writers is shooting in the SoCal Precision Rifle Competition (SCPRC) match this weekend. When assembling his gear for this tactical match we realized there was a problem. He needed to carry 10 rounds “at the ready”, but his rifle lacked detachable magazines. He didn’t want to depend on ammo stored in a backpack or carried in a belt caddy. To quickly access the ammo on his belt or in his pack he would have to get up out of firing position. Our challenge was to figure out the most efficient way to stow 10 rounds on the gun itself.

Elastic Ammo Sleeves
To secure the needed 10 rounds on the gun, we looked at a variety of options. First we tried some slide-on elastic sleeves. These were cheap ($4-$6), but the elastic sleeve tended to slide forward on the buttstock, and as it moved forward it could also rotate. Plus these elastic sleeves held only 9 rounds max. One too few. Shown in the photos are the $4.99 Cabela’s 8-round “Bullet Band” and the Allen 9-round ammo carrier ($3.49 on sale at MidwayUSA). Yes our writer could carry an extra round in his pocket, but we figured there was a better solution.

8-Round Eagle Ammo Carrier
Next we looked at the Eagle Industries Gunstock Ammo Carrier. With THREE velcro-secured straps, including one around the back, this holder was secure. It didn’t slide forward or rotate on the butt-stock. However it cost $28.00 locally, and it only held 8 rounds. Too much money for too little capacity….

Plastic Ammo Caddy Solution — 10 Rounds, Zero Dollars
We then came up with a very simple solution. Federal ammunition comes in sturdy, TEN-round plastic ammo caddies that protect the bullet tips. The caddies have plastic loops at either end so that you can carry the unit on a belt (or other strap). These cartridge-holders cost nothing — people toss them into the trash at ranges.

Using strapping tape — one strand through the loops on the backside, and another layer over the top — we had our “field expedient” 10-round ammo carrier for an all-up cost of $0.00. Zip. Nada. (Duct-tape works as well, but the strapping tape is a cleaner install. See photo right.)

Ugly? Yes — but hey, it works.

Another option with the plastic caddy is body-mounting. Using the belt loops, you can sew the cartridge-holder to an elastic (fabric) arm brace and just slip it on your forearm. That gives you a 10-round, easy-access ammo carrier for under $5.00.

Gunstock Ammunition Carrier (Plus Plastic Caddy in Pocket)
OK, even if it IS a cheap, functional solution, some of you guys will NEVER duct-tape a plastic cartridge holder to your $4500.00 tactical wondergun. It’s just not… how shall we say… “Tacti-Cool”. We know that some Tac shooters are acutely image-conscious. For them it would be a major fashion faux pas to duct-tape an ammo caddy to an Accuracy Int’l or GAP Crusader.

Eagle Industries Stock Pack

If you don’t mind dropping $40.00 or so, there is a solution that gives you a proper tactical set-up, PLUS 15 rounds on the rifle. This, ultimately, is what our writer chose. He purchased an Eagle Industries Stock Pack ($39.09). This features a padded, suede cheekpad, and secure elastic straps at the rear and bottom. Our writer now can mount five (5) rounds on the outside of the pack. In addition, he carries ten (10) more rounds on his Federal plastic cartridge holder, stowed in the Stock Pack’s zippered pocket.

Permalink Tech Tip No Comments »
July 11th, 2009

Premium Powder Funnels for Precision Reloading

Having a quality funnel can help you get a carefully-measured powder charge in your cases, with no spillage, every time. If you’ve messed around with cheap plastic funnels you know that they can rock on the case mouth. Also, if the fit isn’t good, some kernels can end up on your bench, instead of inside the case.

Thankfully, precision, caliber-specific metal funnels are available to reloaders for about $10-11. Satern Custom Machining funnels feature an aluminum top with a caliber-specific, machined brass base/neck. Dick Saunders makes a simliar, turned-aluminum funnel sized for particular calibers. Both these metal funnels make reloading easier (and they are ideal for blackpowder loading because they do not give off static electricity). As Forum member Wes notes, with a fitted metal funnel: “the possibility of the funnel sliding to the side, and spilling powder all over the place is drastically reduced.”

Satern Aluminum/Brass Funnels
Steve Satern crafts rugged aluminum funnels with brass ends. The caliber-specific sizes offer a snug fit that keeps the funnel tight on the case neck while the powder is flowing. Forum member Danny Reever reports: “If you are tired of the generic ‘fits all’ funnels falling over and powder spraying every where, try one of the Satern funnels. Sinclair Int’l sells them and they are top notch.” SMike308 adds: “I have retired my plastic funnels after buying my first Satern funnel. I now have one for each different caliber that I load for. I especially like that the Satern has the brass weight at the bottom, which adds stability to the funnel.”

Aluminum powder funnel Satern

Satern funnels are sold by MidwayUSA (6mm $11.29), Satern Machining (6mm $10.49), and Sinclair International (Item 11-9XX, 6mm $11.95). Satern Machining also offers two types of universal funnels, 22-30 caliber and 30-50 caliber.

Saunders Aluminum Funnels
Some of our Forum members prefer the turned aluminum funnels made by Dick Saunders.
These are sold by Russ Haydon’s Shooters Supply for $9.95 each. Specify .17, .20, .22, 6mm, 6.5mm, .30 caliber or “all-purpose”. If you have questions, you can contact contact Saunders directly:

Dick Saunders
145 Delphi Rd.
Manchester, IA 52057

Permalink Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
July 10th, 2009

Good Reading from Varmint Hunter Magazine — For FREE

Varmint Hunter magazineTo receive the Varmint Hunter Magazine you normally have to join the Varmint Hunters Association (VHA) at a cost of $30.00 per year. A VHA membership is worth the money, but it’s always nice to see what you’ll be getting first. Right now you can sample the entire 212-page July Varmint Hunter Magazine for FREE. The current issue features shooting news, plus dozens of articles and gear reviews, illustrated with many photos and data tables. The VHA offers an online version of its July issue in a magazine-style format, allowing you to flip the pages and navigate from an index page to the article you prefer. CLICK HERE to load the July issue of Varmint Hunter Magazine.

Among the recommended articles in the July issue are:

• The 22-6.8 SPC Wildcat Explained, (p. 13)

• Medical and Safety Concerns for Varmint Hunters, (p. 49)

• Big Shooter Portable Bench Review, (p. 62)

• Ballistic Reticles for Long-Range Shooting, (p. 65)

• Don’t Get Lost — Using Topo Maps, Compass, and GPS, (p. 94)

• Comparison of the .204 Ruger and the .20 Tactical, (p. 144)

• Switch-Barrel Remington 700, “Savage Style”, (p. 168)

Varmint Hunter magazine

Permalink Hot Deals, Hunting/Varminting 2 Comments »
July 10th, 2009

New Monkey Bag Modular Field Rest

Here’s a new product that may prove useful for tactical shooters and walk-around varminters. The new Monkey Bag™ (MSRP: $29.95) from Shooters Ridge®, is a versatile three-part, poly-filled bag rest that can adapt to a variety of placements. You can stack all three “rolls” to create an elevated front rest. Use one or two rolls in the rear to support your buttstock in prone position. Available summer 2009, the Monkey Bag features a soft suede pad to protect a firearm’s finish and provide a gripping surface. NOTE: As the Monkey Bag hasn’t hit the shelves yet, we haven’t tested it. But it looks promising for shooters who want something more versatile than a “sausage roll” sand-sock, but lighter and more compact than an Uncle Bud’s Bulls Bag.

Sandbag Monkey Bag

Filled with polymer stuffing rather than sand, the Monkey Bag is lighter and easier to carry than conventional sandbags. Shooters Ridge claims the Monkey Bag is “ideal for fence posts, box blinds, [and] shooting benches.” This versatile bag joins Shooters Ridge’s existing line of modular bag rests such as the Gorilla Bag and Mini-Gorilla Bag (photo below). For more information, visit ShootersRidge.com.

Sandbag Monkey Bag

Permalink New Product No Comments »