January 28th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Chris Hodgdon Sets the Record Straight Regarding IMR 8208 XBR

IMR 8208 XBR powderWe know many of our readers are interested in the new IMR 8208 XBR powder distributed by Hodgdon Powder Company. Early test lots of this new propellant have already won important benchrest matches, and field testing has shown that it is extremely stable across a wide temperature range. At SHOT Show 2010, we interviewed Chris Hodgdon, who gave us the “inside story” on this new powder. Before we started taping, Chris shared with us lab test results showing how pressure of a fixed load varied with ambient temperature. The data was stunning. Basically 8208 XBR showed almost constant pressures from below freezing to well over 100° F. This editor has personally never seen a powder test that revealed “flat-line” results like 8208 XBR, with recorded pressures remaining virtually unchanged over a huge temperature range. If the test results are to be believed, this is indeed a very exceptional powder.

On some internet Forums, skeptics have suggested that IMR 8208 XBR is just an “odd lot of H322″, and that, accordingly, 8208 XBR may not be available for long. Chris told us that the skeptics are misinformed — those who have suggested that 8208 XBR is re-labeled H322 are completely wrong. IMR 8208 XBR IS something new and it IS here to stay. IMR 8208 XBR is NOT merely a “tweaked” blend of H322. Though 8208 XBR has small kernels like H322, allowing it to meter well, 8208 XBR is a completely new formulation. Moreover, IMR 8208 XBR is not going to be a “one-production-run” wonder. Chris explained that Hodgdon is fully committed to long-term production of this new powder. So if you acquire some now, and develop a great load, rest assured that you will be able to obtain more IMR 8208 XBR in the future. As Chris explains in the interview, Hodgdon is strongly committed to IMR 8208 XBR and Hodgdon plans to keep it in production for a long time.

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January 28th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: NEW Savage 110 BA Tactical Rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum

Savage Arms caused quite a stir at Media Day when it unveiled its new 110 BA big-bore tactical rifle. The 110 BA is initially available in two chamberings: 300 Win Mag, and .338 Lapua Magnum. The .338 version of this rifle is Savage’s first-ever .338 Lapua Magnum, and it is VERY affordable compared to .338 LM tactical rifles from other manufacturers. We predict this gun will be a big hit with shooters who want the long-range capability of the .338 Lapua Magnum cartridge but who don’t want to sell the farm to acquire a capable rifle. Once the initial demand settles down, you should be able to find a 110 BA for around $2000 (not including optics).


NOTE: Jason removed his eye protection for this photo. We recommend that shooters ALWAYS wear ANSI-certified eye protection.

The 110 BA gun comes complete with a detachable box magazine (DBM), target grip with base, a +20 MOA scope rail, and Picatinny accessory rails ahead of the action and on the side of the chassis. The stock has a comfortable cheekpiece that adjusts for height using a handy rotary knob. A similar knob controls the buttpad position, allowing you to “dial in” length of pull. As you’d expect, the 110 BA features a Savage Accutrigger.

CLICK HERE for large photo of Savage 110 BA (shows buttstock details)

On the gun we tested, the AccuTrigger broke clean and crisp under 2.5 pounds, with little overtravel. Fitted with an oversize bolt handle from the factory, the action was smooth in operation and effortlessly fed and extracted the big .338 LM cartridges. The gun demonstrated good accuracy with Hornady .338 Lapua Mag factory ammo, allowing Jason to make a first-round hit at about 800 yards. Jason liked the gun, telling us it “feels solid and well-balanced”. Jason did note that the large muzzle brake creates quite a side-blast. When this Editor was taking video, Jason warned me to get out of the way of the blast. I moved back behind the shooter, but even there, the brake’s blast could be felt.

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Quality Big-Bore Tactical for under Two Grand
The 110 BA establishes a new, affordable price point for a true big-bore tactical rifle. Both the 300 Win Mag and the 338 Lapua Mag versions have an MSRP of just $2267.00. We expect to see the “street price” on these rifles peg below $2000.00. That makes the .338 LM version of the 110 BA one of the most affordable .338 Lapua magnum tactical rifles yet offered to the public.

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January 28th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Anschütz Displays Olympic-Grade Smallbore and Air Rifles

The 2010 Winter Olympics are coming up soon, so we asked Uwe Anschütz to show us the Fortner-Action rimfire biathlon rifle that will be used by the vast majority of top competitors. This high-tech 22LR rifle features a straight-pull action that can be cycled nearly as quickly as a semiautomatic. The rifle is designed to be carried on the back while skiing, then quickly deployed at the shooting stages, where competitors engage banks of targets either prone or standing. Note the slots on the forearm for storing up to four extra 5-round magazines.

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Anschutz Fortner Biathlon rifle

Olympic Medal-Winning Air Rifles on Display
In addition to the Biathlon Rifle, Uwe Anschütz showed us the model 9003 S2 Premium Air Rifle, which features a 9003 S2 action in the Precise aluminum stock. This state-of-the-art airgun earned medals at the 2008 Olympics in China, and it is a favorite of top compeitors worldwide. The model 9002 S2 features a very sophisticated buttstock assembly which with great adjustability. With this metal stock, you can adjust every point at which the rifle contacts the shooter’s body, from shoulder to cheek to hand. Even the angle and fore/aft position of the trigger shoe can be adjusted.

Anschutz Fortner Biathlon rifle

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