August 31st, 2009

Euro Powder-Maker Shares Technology with ATK (Alliant), Plans Joint Production in USA

Alliant Reloder 17If you have followed our reports on Reloder 17, you’ll know that this Alliant powder, produced in Europe by Rheinmetall Nitrochemie, is a unique propellant that, in many cartridges, can offer 100 fps (or more ) velocity than any other commercial powders. The secret to the extra speed is a proprietary Nitrochemie process that embeds or saturates the kernels with burn-rate controlling compounds. This allows a longer duration, extended energy release. Most conventional extruded powders have surface coatings only. These tend to have a strong “spike” in their energy release but then decrease rapidly in energy output. By sustaining the energy release over a longer period of time (in the barrel), powders such as Reloder 17 promise to deliver higher velocities than could be achieved with other propellants.

Following the release of Reloder 17, sources at Alliant Powder, an Alliant Techsystems (ATK) subsidiary, confirmed that we can expect more powder products using the new Nitrochemie technology. Alliant plans to release both a faster powder (for 223-sized cartridges) and a slower powder (for large magnums).

ATK and Rheinmetall Nitrochemie Announce Strategic Partnership
Rheinmetall Nitrochemie (RN) is jointly owned by Rheinmetall AG and RUAG of Switzerland. Since 2005, ATK has been a Rheinmetall sales partner. Now ATK and Rheinmetall Nitrochemie plan a much closer relationship, through which RN will share propellant technologies and ATK and RN will produce powders together in US facilities. ATK has agreed to a “strategic partnership” with the Rheinmetall Nitrochemie Group, the propellants division of the Düsseldorf-based Rheinmetall Defence Group.

According to DefenseNews.com, “Under terms of the agreement, propellant technologies will be transferred from Nitrochemie to ATK, and the two companies will target sales in North America and elsewhere. While Rheinmetall will gain access to expanded markets, ATK will receive licenses to manufacture and sell powder and propellant systems developed by the German firm. These products will be marketed to both the U.S. military and other ammunition manufacturers.” Through the strategic partnership, ATK will become the exclusive North American vendor of the new-generation Nitrochemie propellants. The technology transfer positions ATK as the exclusive North American provider of Nitrochemie’s Extruded Impregnated (EI), Extruded Composite Low-sensitivity (ECL), Surface Coated Double Base (SCDB), and R-Type propellants.

Rheinmetall Nitrochemie to Build Powder-Making Facility in the USA
As part of the new, expanded business relationship with ATK, Rheinmetall Nitrochemie will shift some of its actual powder production to the United States. Rheinmetall and ATK revealed “medium-term plans” under which a new, powder-processing plant will be set up in the USA and operated by Rheinmetall Nitrochemie in cooperation with ATK. This will allow Nitrochemie propellants to be sold at more competitive prices, since they will no longer have to be shipped across the Atlantic. No specific date was given for the construction of the new powder factory.

Permalink News 7 Comments »
August 31st, 2009

New 5.56x30mm Cartridge from India

The Indian Army has introduced a new Modern Sub-Machinegun Carbine (MSMC) that shoots an interesting new round, a shortened version of the 5.56×45 (.223 Remington). According to The Firearm Blog, “The [MSMC] chambers a round developed in India called the 5.56×30mm. This round is sometimes referred to as the ‘5.56×30mm INSAS’ after the first gun to chambered the round, the INSAS Carbine.”

This is an interesting cartridge, reminiscent of the 5.56×30 MARS cartridge originally developed by COLT for its Mini Assault Rifle System (MARS) project (see below). The MARS gun never went into full production, and the 5.56×30 cartridge remained an orphan. But it was an interesting cartridge. As designed, using just 16.8 grains of commercial ball powder, Colt’s 5.56×30 cartridge could launch a 55gr FMJ bullet at 2600 fps.

Colt 5.56x30 MARS

We are intrigued by the new Indian 5.56x30mm cartridge because it would seem very well-suited for varminting, either in .22-caliber form, or necked down to .20 caliber or even .17 caliber. We already have a similar cartridge, of course, the 221 Fireball, but right now there is only one manufacturer of 17 and 221 Fireball brass, namely Remington.

221 Remington Fireball

If the Indian 5.56x30mm cartridge is produced in large quantities, perhaps we could see budget-priced 5.56x30mm brass exported for sale in the American market. That would be a boon for high-volume varminters. Also, if the Indian 5.56x30mm is standardized internationally, perhaps one of the European brass manufacturers (Lapua, Norma, RUAG, Wolf?) would consider producing it as an alternative to the 221 Fireball. We can only wish that a 20-cal or 17-cal version of the Indian 5.56x30mm cartridge might be produced some day as inexpensive factory ammo. Many varminters are now looking at centerfire options to the 17 HMR cartridge, as 17 HMR ammo prices continue to climb. A 50-round box of 17 HMR can now cost $14.00 or more.

Permalink New Product, News 9 Comments »
August 30th, 2009

Improve Digital Scale Performance with Affordable Line Conditioner

Many reloaders are now using precision digital scales that can measure down to a single kernel of powder. These scales, such as the Denver Instrument MXX-123, are remarkable measuring systems, but you can’t expect them to perform optimally with inconsistent electrical output from a wall socket. We’ve seen the line voltage in some houses vary from 95 to 160 volts. That kind of fluctuation can damage sensitive electronics. A line conditioner can help you get the most from your digital scales and electronic powder dispensers. The line conditioner takes the “juice” from the outlet and actively corrects the voltage to provide a constant 120 volts AC to your machines.

Forum member Danny Reever explains: “We have talked before about the need for surge protection and line conditioning for sensitive electronic equipment like scales and powder dispensers. However the price of said equipment is perhaps a turn-off for a lot of guys.”

Thanks to Danny, now our readers can afford a heavy-duty, high-performance line conditioner/surge protector. Reever has found a quality line conditioner from APC, a well-known manufacturer, at a bargain price — Just $99.99. The APC H10, 1000VA unit is rated for 1000 Watts (continuous). The APC device automatically steps up low voltage and steps down high voltage to levels that are suitable for your equipment. The APC H10 also provides noise filtering and industrial-grade surge protection. Selling elsewhere for $275.00, the APC H10 1000VA is now available for just $99.99 from Tiger Direct.

CLICK HERE for $99.99 APC Line Conditioner (on Sale for Limited Time).

Danny tells us: “This is a real deal for 4900 joules surge protection. The unit weighs a hefty 16.1 pounds and measures 17″ wide X 9.5″ deep. I received mine yesterday and all I can say is $99.99 buys you one nice piece of equipment. It’s built like a tank for worry free and better component performance.”

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals, Reloading 8 Comments »
August 30th, 2009

Recycle Optics and Firearms with SWFA Trade-In Program

SWFA Sample ListDo you have a nice scope mounted to a “safe queen” rifle that never gets used? Or maybe you have a set of premium binoculars you bought for that Alaskan hunting trip you never got to take?

Now you can convert those valuable optics into cash with the SWFA Trade-In Program. You can either sell your gear outright to SWFA, or trade your items in on new products. (Wouldn’t it be nice to swap some old glass for a new Schmidt & Bender?) Just fill out an online appraisal form, upload a photo, and SWFA will evaluate your submitted product. You can designate whether you want to sell your item outright, or trade it in on new gear.

Trade Your Pre-Owned Optics or Firearms
While SWFA specializes in optics, you can also trade-in firearms, or even barter hunting holidays. SWFA says: “We gladly accept trades on just about anything of value (firearms of any type, scopes, binoculars, spotting scopes, hunts). You never know unless you ask!!! Please direct all trade inquiries using our appraisal form.”

Note, you must submit an Online Appraisal Form for all items submitted for trade-in. In addition, SWFA needs a digital JPEG photo of each item, 400 pixels wide and 300 pixels high.

Permalink News, Optics 1 Comment »
August 29th, 2009

Spirit of America Match Underway at Whittington Center

The Spirit of America National Fullbore Rifle Prone Championship is now underway at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Sponsored by the Bald Eagle Rifle Club, the Spirit of America (SOA) is a major match that draws many of the top prone shooters in the country. The match is for Target Rifles as well as for F-Class Rifles. “Target Rifle” is defined as “a rifle chambered for use with the unmodified 7.62×51 commercial or .308 Winchester cartridge [or] a rifle chambered for use with the unmodified 5.56mm commercial or .223 Remington cartridge.” In practical terms, “Target Rifle” is a class for .308 or .223 Palma rifles.

Fullbore rifle competition originated in the United Kingdom in the 1960s as an offshoot of Service Rifle shooting and has gained popularity in the United States. Both team and individual matches are featured in the championship, in which competitors shoot from distances of 300 yards up to a maximum of 1000. The match is governed by the Fullbore Rifle Rulebook. Different sets of targets will be used by the two classes:

Target Rifle: 300 yds – MR63; 500 yds – MR65; 600 yds – MR1; 800, 900, 1000 yds – NRA LR

F-Class: MR63FC, MR-65FC, MR-1FC, and LRFC

Running for a full week, the SOA consists of a series of daily matches, each with their own awards and rankings. At the end of the week Aggregate awards are determined for Grand Aggregate (Target Rifle and F-Class), Short Range Aggregate (Target Rifle), Long Range Aggregate (Target Rifle), and SOA Team Match Aggregate.

Aug 28 — Cunico Automotive Team Match
Aug 29 — Folsom Shooting Club Team Match
Aug 30 — McGee Stocks Individual Match
Aug 31 — U.S. Armed Forces Indiv. Match
Sep 1 — Sierra Bullets Team Match
Sep 1 — Galaxy Glass Long Range Team Match
Sep 2 — Sinclair International Indiv. Match
Sep 3 — Sierra Bullets Indiv. Match

CLICK HERE for a seven-page Guide to the Match that includes rules, match information, and complete schedule.

Permalink Competition No Comments »
August 29th, 2009

Parent of Remington, Marlin, Bushmaster Suffers Hedge Fund Woes

Over a two-year span (2006-08), Cerberus Capital Management, through its Freedom Group holding company, acquired Remington Arms, Bushmaster, and Marlin Firearms, along with other gun brands. Observers were concerned about the consolidation of so many legendary American gun-makers under one ownership group — too many eggs in one basket. If Cerberus suffers financial setbacks, it was feared, this could have a huge effect on the U.S. gun industry.

Cerberus Capital Management

Cerberus Hedge Fund Investors Jump Ship
Now it appears that those fears may have been well-founded. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Cerberus Capital Management’s investors overwhelmingly want out of the firm’s core hedge funds, asking for the return of more than $5.5 billion, or almost 71% of the fund assets”. That’s bad news for Cerberus of course. However, the Hedge Fund represents only about 1/3 of Cerberus assets, so the overall picture isn’t completely bleak. The Private Equity (PE) Fund, for which Cerberus is most famous, is NOT directly affected by these Hedge Fund issues. Still, the PE Fund is not without its own problems. Cerberus’s investment in Chrysler proved disasterous. After Chrysler went into bankruptcy, most of its assets were turned over to Fiat and the UAW.

What’s ahead for Cerberus? We can’t predict. There’s no reason to believe, at this time, that Cerberus is seriously threatened. Likewise, there may be no immediate effect on the operations of Remington, Bushmaster, and Marlin. However, you can bet that the top Cerberus decision-makers will be taking a hard look at the “bottom line” of all the enterprises Cerberus controls. And that, in turn, could mean a financial squeeze for Freedom Group companies that are not performing up to expections.

Freedom Group Gun Companies:
Bushmaster, Dakota Arms, DPMS, Eotac, H&R, L.C. Smith, NEF, Parker Gun, Remington Arms Co.

CLICK HERE for further Discussion of Cerebus Hedge Fund issues.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
August 28th, 2009

California Juniors Win Infantry Team Trophy

If you were trying to predict the winner of the 2009 National Trophy Infantry Team Match (NTIT), odds are you would have focused on the top military teams in the event. This makes sense considering that the last time a civilian team won the NTIT was in 1930. That is until a group of juniors from California stepped up to the firing line at Camp Perry on August 7th 2009, and made history.

Team California Grizzlies O’Connell shot a 1284 to win the NTIT, becoming the first junior team to ever win the event and the first civilian team to win in 79 years. In fact the top three NTIT teams this year were civilian. Forbes Rifle and Pistol Club finished second with a 1275 and Oklahoma Rifle Assn. finished third with a 1250. The Grizzlies won the event shooting Hornady 75 gr BTHP match bullets in their .223 ARs. The team also won the junior title and set new records in 2008 and 2009 in the NTT.

The California Grizzlies O’Connell team was named for team coach Jim O’Connell. The team captain was Anthony Henderson, and firing team members were Cheyanne Acebo, David Bahten, Matthew Chezem, Chad Kurgan, Joshua Lehn and Jim Minturn. The team is based out of the Yosemite area in central California, but team members come from all over the state.

Juniors Win Despite Restrictive California Laws
The group’s accomplishments are particularly impressive considering that California State Law prohibits juniors from handling rifles with a removable magazine. In California the team can only practice with a 10-round fixed magazine that can only be removed using a tool. This makes training for rapid fire difficult, and the only time the team gets to practice with standard removable clips is when they arrive to Camp Perry for the National Matches.

The team… can only get together as a whole team a few times during the year. One of those team meetings comes in the summer, when the team attends Camp O’Connell, lead by the team’s coach Jim O’Connell. The eight-day camp is held at the remote Coalinga Rifle Club in Central California, where team members sleep in tents and do range maintenance projects in addition to their training.

Much of [the team’s success] derives from an introductory program that the Grizzlies have established to attract new shooters. There is a .22LR program that introduces the sport to about 160 juniors a year, ages 10-16. If juniors show aptitude and interest, they move to the farm team where they shoot AR-15s at 100-yard reduced targets until they reach Sharpshooter classification.

READ MORE ….

Story by Sommer Wood, CMP Writer, courtesy ODCMP.com. The full story appears in the current edition of The First Shot, the CMP Online Newsletter.

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
August 28th, 2009

How to Find Older Daily Bulletin Items

We now have nearly 2000 postings in our AccurateShooter.com Bulletin. Having all that content is great, IF you now how to search the archives to find material from months past. Folks email us regularly saying: “Hey, there was an interesting item in the Daily Bulletin, but I can’t find it now.” Take heart. Every Bulletin story is saved in our archive. You can always navigate to all previous posts using the “Older Posts” link at the bottom of this page.

The fastest and easiest method to find older posts is simply to search by keyword, or click one of the topic headings. If you want to see a video, for example, just click on “Videos”. If you’re looking for all stories about scopes, click “Optics”. To find a particular item, such as the story on Barnard actions, just type “Barnard” in the search field and click “Search”. Our search works very fast! Try it, you’ll like it.

AccurateShooter Daily Bulletin

Permalink News 1 Comment »
August 27th, 2009

Gun Industry Jobs Listed on NSSF Website

Looking for a job in the gun industry? The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) launched its Industry Career Connection two years ago as a free service for member companies. It has proven to be immensely popular with both employers and job seekers. “It’s a very helpful and beneficial tool for our members,” said Bettyjane Swann, NSSF member services manager. “On several occasions, our Webmaster has had to pull job postings early because of the overwhelming response.” The NSSF’s Career Connection is regularly updated with new positions from solid companies such as Brownells, Remington, and Smith & Wesson.

Currently, here are some of the job positions offered:

How to List Available Jobs
The Career Connection is designed to serve both job-seekers AND companies needing additional manpower. If you have a shooting-sports-related business and need to hire new personnel you can add openings to the job board (NSSF membership required). NSSF members (mostly manufacturers and wholesalers) can easily post jobs by logging into the members-only section of NSSF.org. For more information on NSSF’s Industry Career Connection, contact bswann@nssf.org.

Permalink News No Comments »
August 26th, 2009

Louisiana Waives Sales Tax on Guns and Ammo During "Second Amendment Tax Holiday"

Louisiana has adopted a program we’d like to see state governments copy nationwide. From September 4th through 6th (Fri-Sun), Louisiana shoppers can buy guns, ammo, and hunting supplies without paying a penny of sales tax. The Sales Tax Holiday is authorized by a new Louisiana statute that waives gun-related sales and use taxes each year on the first consecutive Friday through Sunday in September. Now that’s a “stimulus program” all shooters can support.

The sales tax holiday will take place Friday, September 4, through Sunday, September 6, pursuant to the Louisiana Second Amendment Weekend Holiday Act. This law (Act 453 of the Regular Session of the 2009 Louisiana Legislature) provides a three-day exemption from state and local sales and use taxes on consumer purchases of firearms, ammunition, and hunting supplies.

Business Purchases Still Taxed
During Louisiana’s Sales Tax Holiday weekend, the sales and use tax levied by the state and its political subdivisions shall not apply to any consumer purchases (by individuals) of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies. However, sales and use taxes will still be due on business purchases of guns and ammo. Also sales tax will still apply to sales of animals used for hunting purposes .

Permalink Hot Deals, News No Comments »
August 25th, 2009

1K Score Record Broken Twice in PA Matches

Shooting at Williamsport, PA on August 15th, our own Jason Baney shot a remarkable 100-6X, 4.864″ ten-shot group at 1000 yards, breaking the previous 100-5X, 4.900″ Light Gun Score record set by Ed Kenzakoski in June. And yes, Jason was shooting the diminutive 6mmBR cartridge (no-turn neck) with pointed 105gr Berger bullets and a stout load of Alliant Reloder 15. Baney’s 6BR Broughton-barreled Light Gun (Stiller Diamondback action) was smithed by Mark King, who also built Ken Brucklacher’s record-breaking Heavy Gun.

Jason Baney 1000 yard Andy Murtagh 1000 yard

Jason’s glory was short-lived however. The very next day, August 16th, Andy Murtagh shot a 100-4X, 4.2766″ group during match 5 of the Reade Range (Allemans, PA) 1K Benchrest League. Though Andy had only four Xs to Jason’s six Xs, Andy had the smaller group. By Williamsport rules, group size trumps X-count (even in score shooting) so Andy is the new Light Gun 1000-yard Score record-holder. Andy’s record-setting 6.5-284, smithed by Sid Goodling, has a Master 1000 stock and Bat action. Andy’s load was 47.5 grains of H4350 pushing 142gr tipped Sierra MKs in Winchester brass.

Congrats to both Andy and Jason for some great shooting last weekend! It’s impressive to see such small, ten-shot groups all centered up. Hey Jason — OK, we’re convinced. That round-robin Ladder Testing Procedure must really work.

Jason Baney 1000 yard

Andy Murtagh 1000 yard

Permalink Competition 4 Comments »
August 25th, 2009

AR-Platform Digital Magazine to Launch in Fall

As if there isn’t enough coverage given to AR-platform rifles already, Grand View Media Group announced it will roll out an AR-specific digital magazine later this year. The new AR Guns & Hunting “E-Zine” covers “gear and tactics” for AR sporting and hunting applications. Its creators intend AR Guns & Hunting to be much more than a conventional print mag re-packaged for the web. According to Grand View, AR Guns & Hunting will provide interactive content and a true “multimedia experience”. You’ll also find gear reviews, tactical news, and first-person hunting accounts.

AR Guns and Hunting

For those interested in this new web resource for AR platform shooters, AR Guns & Hunting is currently offering FREE digital subscriptions. Just supply a valid email address to get access to the content. Grand View Media plans to distribute the first editions via direct email to subscribers. (Hmmm, you may want to check the privacy policy before you sign up.)

Editor: While we applaud any effort to expand the information available to shooters, we’ll withhold judgment until AR Guns & Hunting actually launches. It may be more flash than substance, created mostly to exploit the current market craze for black rifles and accessories. We also are not big fans of “digital edition” formatting — where you flip pages as with a paper magazine. It seems cool at first but then you realize the pages are slow to load, and you don’t have the flexibility of a “normal” web page with vertical scrolling, outbound web-links, and Google searchability.

The web is truly a different medium than print. Forcing readers into a “print magazine experience” is a bit like taking the wings off an airplane so passengers can experience bus travel.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
August 24th, 2009

Optics Bargains on SWFA Sample List

If you’re a bargain hunter, check out the Sample List maintained by SWFA.com. Here you’ll find scores of optics items and accessories at below wholesale prices. Many of these products are new (never been sold) items, that were used in trade shows or as demos.

SWFA has recently revamped its website, making the Sample List easier to navigate. Now with one click you can find the Latest 25 Additions. Here are some of the recent bargain offerings:

Leupold 8.5-25×50 Vari-X III, Stock #10767
Matte finish, target dot reticle, 30mm tube, long range, side focus, light ring marks. $699.95 (Regularly $987.00).

Leupold 25×40 FX-3 Silhouette Scope (Fixed Power), Stock #10413
100% new 2009 demo model, used for current SWFA.com web pictures. Matte finish, Leupold Dot reticle, 1″ tube, adjustable objective (50 yards-infinity), target knobs. $539.95 (Regularly $810.00).

Leica 10×42 Geovid HD (LRF/Binocular), Stock #10611
Black rubber armored, center focus, roof prism, scan mode, built in 1400-yard range finder. Certified Pre-Owned, close to new condition. $1999.95 (Regularly$2,875.00 new.)

Swarovski 8×30 Laser Guide Rangefinder, Stock #s 1368-1371 (multiple units)
Green rubber armored finish, measures yards and meters, great optical quality, close to new condition. $799.95 (Normal ‘street price’ is $999.00).

Zeiss 85mm Diascope T* Flourite Body, Stock #10425
Top-of-the-line Zeiss spotting scope. Green body only (no eyepiece), angled view, Flourite (HD) lenses, LotuTec Coatings, retractable sun shade, standard focus wheel and fine focus wheel, lifetime transferable warranty. $1,499.95 (Regularly $2,185.00).

Zeiss 85 mm diascope spotting scope

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
August 23rd, 2009

Hard-Working Aussie Rifles with Wild Dog Stocks

Australia hunting rifle wild dog stock

It’s not unusual for a shooter to acquire a nice, custom hunting rifle that spends nearly all its life as a safe queen, getting used only once every few seasons, if at all. That’s why we like to see hunting guns that “earn their keep” in regular field use.

Forum member Andrew from Geelong, Australia has two matching hunting rifles that definitely get serious use, harvesting a wide variety of wild game. Both guns are built on Winchester Model 70 actions, fitted in Australian-crafted Wild Dog camo stocks. One rifle is chambered in .243 Win, while the other is a 270 WSM. Andrew has fitted Leupold VXL 4.5-14×50 scopes to both guns. That is the scope with the odd-looking cutaway front objective that lets the scope sit lower on the gun.

Australia hunting rifle wild dog stock Australia hunting rifle wild dog stock

Wild Dog Stocks and Custom Rifles from Australia
Wild Dog Australia, based near Brisbane, Queensland, produces both innovative high-tech stocks, as well as complete rifles. Wild Dog’s staffers are all active shooters and hunters. They build stocks that are light, but very strong, employing carbon fiber and advanced composites. The folks at Wild Dog aren’t afraid to think “outside the box”. One of the clever signature features of Wild Dog hunting stocks is a trap-door ammo caddy integrated into the buttstock. Smart eh? The flip-open ammo storage keeps your ammo clean and secure. You don’t have to mess with clumsy strap-on ammo sleeves that can slide around and collect debris and thorns.

Australia rifle wild dog stock

Australia rifle wild dog stock

Wild Dog Does Tactical Too
In addition to its hunting and varmint stocks, Wild Dog now produces a variety of rugged tactical stocks. The carbon-fiber reinforced thumbhole LA-TA2 and SA-TA2 feature clean lines with no protrusions. (These stocks run about US $900, plus another US $125 for custom camo paint.) Ergonomics are excellent and we think the grip/thumbhole area fits the hand better than an Accuracy International thumbhole stock.

Australia rifle wild dog stock

Australia rifle wild dog stock

Wild Dog also makes an excellent REM-SA-TA1 non-thumbhole tactical stock for Rem-clone short actions. The LA-TA2, SA-TA2, and REM-SA-TA1 all feature adjustable cheekpieces and adjustable length-of-pull spacer systems. Shown below is something you don’t see very often, a snakeskin camo Barnard-actioned tactical rifle. Leave it to the Aussies….

Australia rifle wild dog stock

Permalink News 3 Comments »
August 23rd, 2009

Profile: Sherri Gallagher, 2009 Nat'l Long Range Champion

Sherri GallagherThe Tompkins Trophy goes to the overall Long Range High Power Champion. Along with bragging rights, the winner receives a Tompkins Trophy plaque, a goldtone medallion, a gold and diamond National Long Range Championship ring, a $500 Visa gift card, a $500 check from Sierra Bullets, a $500 check from Berger Bullets, and a Remington Model 700 Sendero SF2 300 Ultra Mag Rifle.

With a record score of 1245-62x, this year’s winner is Specialist Sherri Gallagher of the U.S. Army. According to USAMU Head Coach Emil Praslick, she was shooting a 6.5×284 with Sierra 142gr Matchkings and in the Palma matches she shot a 308 with the new Sierra 155gr 2156 Palma bullet.

“This win is not mine, at least not mine alone,” said Sherri. “Its all due to the team (Army Marksmanship Unit).”

Sherri GallagherHer upbringing probably had a bit to do with it, too. Some might not know that Sherri’s sister (Michelle Gallagher), mother (Nancy Gallagher-Tompkins), and step-father (Mid Tompkins) have all won major National Championships. In fact, there are now 14 National Championships in the family. “It would have been nice to have mom here, but she’s over in England shooting the F-Class Championships.” One could say that shooting is in their blood. This was not Sherri’s first major championship. Sherri won the 2003 World Long Range Championship in Bisley, England.

“Growing up, every summer vacation was spent traveling to the different tournaments and watching my mom compete. After a while, it was either sit in the sun or grab a rifle. It was an easy choice.”

Now that she has a national championship to hang on the wall, what’s next for Specialist Gallagher?

“The shooting season is winding down, so we go into training mode. Most of us won’t even pick up a rifle for a few months. Instead, we’ll travel to different bases, overseas, any place where they’re a group of soldiers with a desire to improve their shot. I think it’s a great position to fill and an incredible opportunity to serve my country.”

Report and photos copyright the NRA Blog, used with permission.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
August 22nd, 2009

Savage F-TR Team — World-Beaters on a Budget

Savage ArmsIt seems hard to believe you can compete and win at the highest levels of long-range shooting competition with a stock factory rifle, but that’s exactly what Team USA did at the recent F-Class World Championships in Bisley, England. The U.S. F-TR team, which included Team Savage shooters, dominated the F-T/R division, winning a total of 14 medals at the World Championships (and various side matches associated with the event).

Savage Arms F-TR

Three Oregonians, Darrell Buell, Stan Pate, and John Weil, together with Forum member Monte Milanuk of Wenatchee (WA), crossed the Atlantic to represent the USA and Savage Arms. The competition is held once every four years and features some of the best talent and most expensive custom rifles from around the globe. The matches are held over several days, at distances of 800, 900 and 1,000 yards.

The Savage Shooters used the Model 12 F-T/R from Savage Arms, chambered in .308 Winchester. This exact model can be purchased from any Savage dealer for a suggested retail price of just $1,265. The results speak for themselves: Team Savage came home with seven gold medals, two silvers, and two bronze from the World Championships. The Team also earned two gold medals and a bronze at the associated side matches, including the Bog Oak Trophy Match held in Ireland.

NOTE: In addition to the four Team Savage Members, the full F-TR Team USA included a number of other shooters, using other rigs. The USA F/TR team that traveled to Bisley consisted of 11 shooters: Darrell Buell (Captain), Gary Rasmussen (Wind Coach), Brad Sauve, Dale Carpenter, John Weil, Jeff Rorer, Stan Pate, Mike Miller, Paul Phillips, Warren Dean, and Monte Milanuk. Gary Rasmussen coached F-TR Team USA and Kathy Buell was official record-keeper. Monte Milanuk explained: “While almost half the team was using a Savage-actioned rifle of some sort (Warren, Darrell, John, Stan & Monte), the rest were using four Barnards (Brad, Paul, Dale, and Mike), one Stolle Panda (Jeff), and a Wichita (Gary).”

All of the above participated in the FCWC as individuals, and worked together throughout the entire event (both team and individual stages).

The final firing team that represented the USA in the main F-Class Team World Championships, selected according to performance during certain ‘team’ event stages during the Imperial Meeting, consisted of: Darrell Buell (Captain), Gary Rasmussen (Wind Coach), John Weil (Shooter), Paul Phillips (Shooter), Monte Milanuk, (Shooter), Jeff Rorer (Shooter), Dale Carpenter (Reserve/ Plotter).

The remaining four shooters entered in the Rutland Cup, a match held concurrently with the FCWC, primarily for countries which cannot field a full 8-man team for F-Open. The USA F-Open and F/TR teams both used their ‘extra’ shooters in this event. In the Rutland Cup, the USA F/TR team consisted of Stan Pate (Captain/Shooter), Mike Miller (Coach/Shooter), Brad Sauve (Shooter), and Warren Dean (Shooter).

Savage Arms Team Savage F-TR

Team Savage poses with the Bog Oak Team Trophy. Team members are, from left: John Weil, Darrell Buell, Monte Milanuk and Stan Pate.

World Championship National Teams Match (F-TR)
Team USA 1st place… World Champions
Full USA F-TR Team Roster: Darrell Buell (Captain), Gary Rasmussen (Coach), Dale Carpenter, Monte Milanuk, Paul Phillips, Jeff Rorer, John Weil, Kathy Buell (register keeper).

Individual World Championships (F-T/R)
900 Yard Day 1 — Stan Pate 1st (gold medal)
800 Yard Day 2 — Monte Milanuk 1st (gold medal)
900 Yard Day 2 — John Weil 1st (gold medal)
1000 Yard Day 2 — Stan Pate 1st (gold medal)
800 Yard Aggregate Match — Monte Milanuk 1st (gold medal)
900 Yard Aggregate Match — John Weil 1st (gold medal)

Individual World Championships Grand Aggregate
S. Pate 3rd (bronze medal), D. Buell 9th, J. Weil 10th, M. Milanuk 13th

Other Major Matches
Duke of Cambridge (900-yard match) — John Weil 1st place (gold medal)
Ireland — Bog Oak Team Trophy
Darrell Buell, Stan Pate, Monte Milanuk, John Weil, Gold Medal

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August 22nd, 2009

Ten-Dollar Deals for Outdoor Sportsmen

What will ten bucks buy you these days? Not much. Buy a movie ticket and you won’t have enough left over for the popcorn. Well here are three bargain items — all priced around ten bucks or less — that should prove useful both at the range and for other purposes as well.

Stanley 16″ Plastic Tool Box from Lowe’s
Item #174828, Model 016011R, on Sale for $7.98

This is a versatile, compact Tool Box from Lowe’s. It has two convenient flip-top lids to carry small items such as patches, jags, and brushes. Inside you can stow your muffs, cleaning supplies, cleaning rod guides, log books or other range essentials. The box has an external hasp that can be locked with an small padlock.

Stanley 16

Plano Soft Tackle Bag from Cabela’s
Item #OG-123603, Reg. $29.99, on Sale for $9.88

Wait a minute, you’re saying — this is a shooting website, not a fishing forum. Well, the four (4) plastic boxes in this Tackle bag are ideal for holding bullets, small reloading tools, patches, jags, bushings and other small items. You can use the bag to store these items conveniently, or bring the bag with a single box to the range and use the rest of the compartment for windmeters, ear muffs, notebooks and other miscellaneous shooting gear.

Plastic tackle holders fishing

Diamond Cut Jeans at Sierra Trading Post
Items #23080, 17745, 1933U, on sale for $10.46

At a time when a pair of Levis are running $45 at some stores, can you still get a decent pair of jeans for ten bucks? Well, the answer is yes. In its “Bargain Barn”, Sierra Trading Post is now selling Diamond Cut Jeans in a variety of style and colors (even camo), for just $10.46 per item. The “Relaxed Cut” jeans, item #17745, are offered in stonewashed khaki, dark grey, light blue and dark blue, sizes 30-50. We like the Carpenters Jeans, item #23080, offered in stonewashed blue with plenty of pockets for storage. Sierra Trading Post also offers Diamond Cut Jeans in three different camouflage patterns (all listed as item #1933U): Mossy Oak Break-up, Natural Gear Camo, and Realtree All-Purpose Camo. For hunters needing comfortable, inexpensive camo trousers, these are a good solution. Head to SierraTradingPost.com and check out Diamond Cut trouser line-up. These $10.46 pants have been hot sellers, and the buyer reviews have been postive.

Bargain Jeans Camo Pants

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August 21st, 2009

Thomson/Center Introduces ICON™ Precision Hunter with Accuracy Guarantee

Thompson/Center (TC) has started shipping its new, ICON™ Precision Hunter varmint/deer rifle. From what we’ve heard, these guns should be shooters. Five chamberings are offered: 204 Ruger, 223 Rem, 22-250, 243 Win, and 308 Win. TC’s Precision Hunter features a 22″ heavy-contour, fluted 5R button-rifled barrel. The action mates securely to the stock via a machined aluminum bedding block (see photo below). All models feature a 3+1 detachable magazine with single-shot adapter. Tom Manners of Manners Composite Stocks has tested some wood-stocked ICONs with 5R barrels, and he says they “shot really well”. The ICON™ Precision Hunter comes with a 1 MOA accuracy guarantee, and we’d expect it to shoot quite a bit better than that with quality handloads.

TC Icon Precision Hunter

The ICON Precision Hunter features a laminated hardwood stock with a beavertail fore-end incorporating vents on the underside. TC claims these vents allow better barrel cooling. Hmm… well those vents can’t hurt. The action, which has a 60° bolt lift, is very smooth to operate. The action comes standard with integral Picatinny-style bases for scope mounting. The trigger adjusts from 3.5 lbs to 5 lbs. On the prototype units we tried, the triggers broke clean and crisp, with very minimal creep. It’s a nice hunting trigger and we expect that with a spring swap you could lower the pull weight a bit.

TC Icon Precision Hunter

TC is now owned by Smith & Wesson. It appears both S&W and TC are committed to building a quality varmint rifle with serious accuracy. “Thompson/Center has continued to push the definition of accuracy in a production rifle with the new ICON Precision Hunter, which is certified to deliver sub-Minute of Angle (MOA) accuracy right out of the box,” said Tom Kelly, Vice President of Marketing for Smith & Wesson. “We have listened to the bench shooters and varmint hunters, heard their ideas on what a perfect gun for their style of hunting would be and have designed the ICON Precision Hunter to exceed their expectations.”

What’s the price? MSRP for the ICON Precision Hunter is $1,149.00, so we figure street price will settle around $950.00. For more information, visit www.tcarms.com.

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August 21st, 2009

Remington Recalls 17 HMR Rifle and Ammunition

Here is an important notice for anyone who owns a Remington model 597 rifle chambered in 17 HMR or who shoots Remington 17 HMR ammunition. Remington has learned that safety problems can arise when its 17 HMR ammo is used in semi-autos, including the model 597-17 HMR. Accordingly, Remington is recalling both the ammo and the gun.

The Firearm Blog reports: “Problems with the Model 597 and 17 HMR [are] not uncommon. Gun manufacturers seem to have a very hard time in trying to convert .22 blow-back actions to the more powerful .22 Magnum and … the 17 HMR.” Prompted by safety concerns, Remington has instituted a buy-back program for its model 597 17 HMR rifle. Remington will also provide $10.00 coupons for each box of Rem-brand 17 HMR ammo returned by customers. This ammo must be returned directly to Remington, not to the dealer where it was purchased. Remington’s Safety Recall Notice reads as follows:

DO NOT USE REMINGTON 17 HMR AMMUNITION IN SEMI-AUTOMATIC FIREARMS.

DO NOT USE THE REMINGTON MODEL 597 HMR SEMI-AUTOMATIC RIFLE.

Remington has been notified by its supplier of 17 HMR ammunition that 17 HMR ammunition is not suitable for use in semi-automatic firearms. The use of this ammunition in a semi-automatic firearm could result in property damage or serious personal injury.

If you have a semi-automatic firearm chambered for 17 HMR ammunition, immediately discontinue use of Remington 17 HMR ammunition. If you have any Remington 17 HMR ammunition that you wish to return to Remington contact the Remington Consumer Service number below.

Do not return the ammunition to the dealer. Remington will provide you with a $10.00 coupon for each complete box of 50 rounds of Remington branded 17 HMR ammunition you return to Remington. This coupon will be good for the purchase of any Remington ammunition at your local dealer.

In light of the ammunition manufacturer’s notice, it is very important that you immediately stop using your Remington Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle. If you own a Remington Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle and wish to return it to Remington please contact the below Remington Consumer Service Number. In return for your Remington Model 597 17 HMR synthetic stock semi-automatic rifle, Remington will provide you a coupon valued at $200.00 good for the purchase of a replacement Remington firearm. If you have a laminate stock Remington Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle, Remington will provide you a coupon valued at $250.00 good for the purchase of a replacement Remington firearm. Remington will also reimburse you for the actual postage to return your Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle to Remington.

Please allow up to 6 weeks after Remington receives your Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle or your Remington branded 17 HMR ammunition for the appropriate coupons to arrive. Instructions for redemption of the coupons will be contained on the coupon.

For any consumer questions or instructions on how to return of your Model 597 17 HMR semi-automatic rifle or your Remington branded 17 HMR ammunition, please contact the Remington Consumer Service Department at 1-800-243-9700, Prompt #3.

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August 20th, 2009

Nikon Unveils New EDG Spotting Scopes

There is an “arms race” going on now among the top optics-makers trying to grab market share at the high end of the spotting scope field. Prices have climbed into the stratosphere as companies provide ever-bigger objectives with ultra-premium glass. The latest 80+ mm “super-spotters” are running $3000 to $4000 with zoom eyepieces. Last year, Kowa released its superb flourite-lensed TSN-883/4 Prominar at $2905.00 (88mm body with 20-60 zoom eyepiece). Leica followed suit with its Televid 82 APO spotting scope priced at $3995 (82mm body with 20-50 Vario eyepiece, $3195.00 body only). Yep, that’s four grand for a spotting scope — we could buy a nice used truck for that.

Nikon EDG spotting scopes

New Nikon EDG 65mm and 85mm Spotting Scopes
Now Nikon has joined the “big-buck-glass” game with its new line of EDG spotting scopes in 65mm and 85mm objective lens sizes. With a 20-60X zoom eyepiece, the larger 85mm Fieldscope retails for $3299.00, a new high for Nikon. But the new Nikon looks impressive. The new EDG Fieldscopes offer the same exclusive ED glass lenses and premium prisms as Nikon’s highly praised EDG binoculars. Nikon says the new ED lenses deliver superior sharpness and color correction (without chromatic distortion), and ultra high contrast. The 85mm objective also provides a wider field of view than most spotting scopes. For enhanced low-light performance, the straight (non-angled) EDG scopes feature what Nikon calls “Dielectric High-Reflective Multilayer Prism Coating”. Hmm… “Dialetric Prisms” — that sounds like something Scotty would use on the Starship Enterprise.

Nikon EDG spotting scopes

Will the new Nikon EDGs run with the top-of-the-line Kowa, Leica, Swarovski, and Zeiss spotters? We’ll have to wait until comparison testing can be done. But we can say that the new Nikons EDGs are a big step up from past Nikon Fieldscopes. The EDG body is more compact and the unit is better balanced. We like the large focus ring, but would prefer a dual-focus system. The mounting bracket looks very solid, which should reduce wobbles when mounted on a tripod. Early reviewers say that the EDGs are very bright, with outstanding eyepieces.

New, Improved ED Eyepieces
Nikon has also released a whole set of new eyepieces for the EDG scopes. For long-range use, there is a new fixed-power eyepiece that delivers 75X magnification on the 85mm Fieldscope. We’ve used up to 82X magnification on other spotting scopes and we can assure you, 75X is NOT too much when viewing conditions are good. The 75X eyepiece would be a great choice if you’re trying to resolve bullet holes at 600 yards and beyond.

Nikon EDG spotting scopes eyepieces

High Power and iron sights shooters will like the new 20X/25X LER (long eye relief) eyepiece. This provides enough power to see target spotters, while offering easy viewing (and a wide field of view), when you are in shooting position and want to take a quick look through the glass. This eyepiece features ED glass, and provides 20X magnification with the smaller 65mm Fieldscope and 25X magnification with its 85mm big brother. All the new EDG eyepieces feature fuully multi-coated lenses, and many offer twist-out eyecups, which are handy for eye-glass wearers.

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »