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January 24th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New Flourite Scopes and 20-75X Diascope from Zeiss

At SHOT Show 2010, Zeiss Sport Optics displayed its impressive new series of Diavari scopes with FL (flourite) glass. The new scopes are extremely clear and bright (on a par with Schmidt & Bender), and the flourite lens elements allow very high light transmission with super-low fringing (chromatic aberration). Controls are very positive and the Zeiss eyepieces feature a +2 to -3 diopter. With that broad diopter range, you can use the scopes without corrective lenses even if you normally wear eyeglasses or contacts. A variety of reticles are offered, including ballistic compensating reticles calibrated for four popular cartridge types. Three scopes will initially be available in the new Zeiss FL lineup: 4-16x50mm, 6-24x56mm, and 6-24x72mm, shown below. This extra-large 72mm objective provides superior low-light performance plus a large exit pupil, even at full 24X magnification.

Zeiss Diavari Flourite 72mm

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Higher Magnification and Dual-Rate Focus for New FL Diascope
In addition to the new FL Scopes, Zeiss displayed its new 65mm and 85mm Diascope FL spotting scopes. These look very similar to last year’s models, but there are internal lens upgrades, a new focus system, and a superb new eyepiece that raises the max magnification to 75X on the 85mm model.

We really like the new “dual-rate” focus system. Focusing a high-magnification spotting scope can be frustrating with a single control knob. The dual-rate system is an intelligent solution. When you spin the knob more than 270°, it automatically goes into fast focus mode, which is five times faster. Then as you “dial in” your subject, it reverts to fine focus mode. This is a smart system that works very intuitively. Kudos to Zeiss for this innovation. Zeiss engineer Stephan Albrecht, Diascope project manager, explains the new features.

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January 23rd, 2010

SITE NEWS: 10,000th Shooters' Forum Member

As this is written on Saturday morning, January 23rd, there are officially 9996 registered members of our Shooters’ Forum. Within a few hours, we will hit 10,000 members, a major milestone for the site.

10000members

Who will be Mr. (or Ms.) 10,000? Could it be you? Our 10,000th member will receive a special prize, to be announced later. If you visit our Forum regularly, but haven’t registered yet, now is the time!

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January 23rd, 2010

SHOT Show Shocker: FBI Nabs 22 Firearms Reps at SHOT Show

Culminating a 2.5-year investigation, on January 20th, FBI agents arrested 22 execs and sales employees at the 2010 SHOT Show, on allegations that the defendants, to secure lucrative arms contracts, had tried to bribe FBI agents posing as foreign officials. The FBI based its arrests on alleged violations of the 1977 Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

According to Outdoor Life: “Charged are people at companies in eight states and executives at companies in the United Kingdom and Israel. The defendants allegedly agreed to pay a 20 percent commission to a sales agent they believed represented the defense minister for an African country to win a multimillion-dollar deal to outfit the presidential guard. The sales agent was actually an undercover FBI agent, and no defense minister was involved at all.”

Over a two and a half year period, some 250 FBI agents were involved in the sting operation. Based on the length of the investigation, and the number of agents involved, this sting surely cost the taxpayers many millions of dollars, and also diverted manpower from much-needed investigations of suspected terrorists and big-time drug traffickers.

Can the Charges Stick?
At least one law professor thinks the Federal prosecutors may have great difficulty obtaining convictions. The reason is that object of the bribes was NOT a foreign official, but was instead an FBI agent. This may be similar to cases where store owners accused of selling alcohol to minors “beat the rap” because the “minors” were actually young-looking detectives well above the drinking age. Arguably, if there is no actual foreigner involved then there can not be an illegal bribe under the terms of the FCPA. However, there are some other crimes listed along with the alleged FCPA violations.

What Will Likely Happen?
We expect some of the less important defendants will plea bargain to stay out of jail. These “small fish” will be asked to turn States’ evidence to help the prosecution of the higher profile defendants, such as Smith & Wesson VP Amaro Goncalves. The big shots who were arrested will almost certainly mount a vigorous defense and appeal any convictions. The appeal process could go on for many years. Ultimately, the nation’s High Court might be asked to decide whether the FCPA can be violated when no actual foreign official was involved and the whole scheme was cooked up by American law enforcement.

Misguided Federal Priorities?
So far the mainstream media has missed the underlying question here — namely: “Why did the FBI, at the behest of the U.S. Dept. of Justice, commit millions of dollars and hundreds of thousands of man-hours to trick American arms salesmen, when their alleged ‘crime’ may not be an FCPA violation at all, and when there are other far more important priorities — such as real terrorists?” The Red Alerts blog declared: “When dealing with third world nations corruption is part of the price of doing business. Everyone knows that but the government wasted the time of at least 250 FBI agents while real Muslim terrorists were sneaking underwear filled with binary explosives on airplanes.”

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January 22nd, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Bernosky, Tubb and Whidden Explain How to Win in the Wind

At the 2010 SHOT Show we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (8-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion), and John Whidden (2-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. After recording the interviews, both Jason and I stood there in stunned silence…with jaws dropped. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Watch the videos and soak up the wisdom of some truly legendary shooters….

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By the way, the above clips are only part of longer interviews with Carl, David, and John. Stay tuned for other videos where these three champions talk about specific skills and techniques they’ve developed for the high power and long-range prone game.

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January 22nd, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New 'National Match' Die Sets, New Calibers, and Versa Pak Reloading Kit

Gas gunners take note — for 2010 Redding has created new “National Match” reloading sets in .223 Remington, .308 Winchester, and 30-06 Springfield. These new three-die sets are designed expressly for the AR15, M1A, and M1 Garand used in High Power comps and Garand matches. These kits include a full-length sizing die, a Competition Seater Die, and a taper crimp die. Previously these dies were only offered individually. If you’re shooting an AR, Garand, or M1A, these new sets may be just what you need.

In addition to the National Match die sets, Redding has added new calibers to its die catalog for 2010. Complete die sets will now be offered for the popular 6.5 Creedmoor, the 260 Rem Improved 40° (also know as the 260 Ackley), and the 458 Socom. This should please the growing numbers of High Power shooters using the 6.5 Creedmoor, and the tactical guys looking for more velocity than a standard 260 Rem can deliver.

New Complete Basic Reloading Set
For shooters just getting started in reloading, Redding has put together a new basic reloading package that contains virtually everything you need except a press and dies. Redding’s new Versa Pak includes a reloading scale, powder measure, case trimer, powder trickler, case lube pad, funnel, deburring tool, and other case prep tools. In addition, the Versa Pak comes with the Hodgdon Reloading Manual and Redding’s excellent Advanced Handloading DVD. The Versa Pak will retail for about $350.00. That may sound like a lot, but if you add up the cost of all the gear included in the Versa Pak, it is a good value. You’ll also save time (and shipping costs) by acquiring all the essential tools at one time.

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January 22nd, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Hornady Unveils New AutoCharge Powder Scale/Dispenser

Hornady is late to the party with its first electronic powder scale and dispenser, but the new Hornady AutoCharge looks impressive. This product competes directly with RCBS’s popular ChargeMaster 1500. Similar in size and layout to the ChargeMaster, the new Hornady AutoCharge has three (3) speed modes, and will be more affordable than the Chargemaster. We like the idea of three user-selectable speeds, a feature not found on other digital dispensers from Lyman, PACT, and RCBS. The Hornady Autocharge also has calibration weights suited to both low and high powder charges. Hornady claims accuracy of ± 0.1 grain, the same as the ChargeMaster.

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Hornady won’t start shipping the AutoCharge until April, 2010, so we’ll have to wait until late spring to get a test unit. Then we can see how the AutoCharge performs and see if it can really deliver repeatable ± 0.1 grain precision. We do predict that when the AutoCharge starts shipping in April, it will offer stiff competition for the RCBS ChargeMaster. Hornady’s red AutoCharge will sell for approximately $300.00. That’s about $75 less than the RCBS ChargeMaster 1500 scale/dispenser.

Hornady AutoCharge Dispenser

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January 21st, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Berger to Release .338 and new 6mms and Load Manual Nears Completion

We had a long chat with Eric Stecker, Berger Bullet’s Master Bulletsmith. Eric had some interesting revelations. First he noted that Berger’s production in 2009 was up 50% compared to the previous year. Berger is now running 24-hour shifts to meet demand. And Berger isn’t resting on its laurels. A new .338 bullet is going into production, and Berger now has the means to produce .416s and even 50-caliber bullets. Berger also has multiple new prototype long-range bullets in development. Eric let me look at them and hold them but he requested that we NOT publish photos as the bullet profiles are somewhat radical. Eric revealed that a new series of short-range 6mm bullets in the 60-grain range are probably going to be released later this year. These borrow some design ideas from the successful Euber FB bullets, with refinements to improve ballistics.

We covered many other topics during our interview, including the status of the new Berger Reloading handbook, and the differences between the G1 vs. G7 Ballistics models. Click on the video link below to learn all the latest info from Berger.

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January 21st, 2010

SHOT Show Report: New 3-Way Case Neck Trimmer & Chamferer from Forster

We saw a cool new product at the Forster Products booth. Forster has introduced a new 3-in-1 Carbide cutting tool that works with all existing Forster case trimmers. This unit does three jobs at the same time. It trims the case to length, it puts a 14-degree chamfer on the INSIDE of the neck, AND (last but not least), it cuts a 30-degree chamfer on the OUTSIDE of the neck. It does this all quickly and efficiently — in a matter of a few seconds. We tested the new tool ourselves on a few cases. The tool is solid and well made. The carbide cutting tips do perform a very clean cut. Be aware, however, if you have turned your necks already, you may have to reset the blade positions before you start trimming your brass.

Forster Case neck trimmer chamferer

Forster’s CFO, Robert Ruch, demonstrates the 3-in-1 case trimming/chamfering tool in the video below. As you can see, the tool turns very smoothly (no chatter) and the job is finished in a few seconds. The actual cutting time, per case, is just a few second. The tool has an MSRP of $70.00, but we expect it to sell for around $50.00 at major vendors. It can be fitted on Forster trimmers and other hand lathes with a .490″ shaft diameter.

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show New Products — Quick Look

Streamlined DBM Mag Release from American Precision Arms
Jered Joplin of American Precision Arms (formerly Patriot Arms) showed us a smart new product that should speed up mag changes for tactical bolt-gun competitors. The new APA detachable box magazine (DBM) bottom metal has two, spring-loaded tabs, one on either side of the tigger guard. Just push down on the tab on either side and the magazine drops out quickly and easily. You don’t have to fumble around with hard-to-operate latches anymore.

American Precision Arms’ DBM system uses the well-proven AICS magazine, as several others do, but APA’s version has the most streamlined and user-friendly mag release mechanism. Releasing the magazine with the trigger finger is very intuitive. The release levers are machined to fit flush with the trigger guard edges, so there is virtually no change of a snag or unintentional release. For more information, call Jered Joplin at (706) 534-1577.

New Protektor Model Deluxe Rear Bags
We stopped by the Protektor Model booth and were pleased to find some new deluxe rear bags on display. The DR bag, a large square rear bag, is one of Jason’s favorites. He suggested to Protektor that it combine this flat top design with the larger Loaf design, shown at right in the picture below. The loaf provides extra stabiity and it can serve as a hand/arm rest as well.

One new Protektor product that caught our attention was a thick-botomed bag with a carry handle. The thick bottom is crafted from hard, thick leather with an extra layer of suede on the bottom for enhanced grip. Though designed for bench use, I dubbed this model the “F-Class Bag” because the extra height would be very helpful when shooting from the ground, and the built-in handle would be ideal for carrying the bag out to the shooting positions. This new F-Class Bag is not on Protektor’s website yet, but it is a production model that should retail for roughly $70.00 unfilled and about $80.00 filled with sand. (Protektor conveniently offers both filled and un-filled versions of most of its sandbags.)

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Murdica Tests New Norma 6PPC Brass

Lou MurdicaAt the request of AccurateShooter.com, respected Benchrest ace Lou Murdica tested the brand new, early production Norma 6PPC brass. Lou shot 30 cases (both turned and unturned) over the past few days, and he endorses the Norma brass without hesitation. Lou says “the Norma PPC brass is great brass. Without a doubt this will be highly competitive brass in the short-range benchrest group”. Lou did observe that the necks on the Norma brass were slightly thinner than on Lapua 220 Russian brass, but that really doesn’t matter. With a slight neck turn, Lou declares, “the Norma PPC brass is as good as any out there.”

Lou said, based on his testing, the Norma brass holds pressure well, and the accuracy is outstanding. Lou shot five 5-round groups, as in a match course of fire, and his largest group was “around 0.148″ at 100 yards.

If you’re a short-range benchrester, definitely watch this video and listen to Lou. He thinks this new Norma brass will “change the game”. Note — Lou said most PPC shooters can shoot the Norma cases with no change in their powder recipes. So you won’t lose any velocity using Norma’s new brass. Lou was very impressed with Norma’s new offering, enough so that he declared: “I would go right for the Norma right now if I could put a bunch in my hand.”

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: Manners Composite Stocks

Manners Composite Stocks builds very strong, stiff stocks employing advanced manufacturing methods and high tech carbon fiber materials. In this video, stock-maker Tom Manners showcases his new products for 2010. These include the handsome new MCST 5A Tactical stock, composed of 30% carbon fiber, 65% fiberglass. Though as strong as any comparable stock on the market, the MCST 5A weighs just 4.1 pounds. Tom also displayed his impressive “long wheelbase” F-Class stock. A full 7″ longer than any other F-Class stock on the market, the Manners F-Class stock features all-carbon construction and a unique “fish-belly” design that provides extra rigidity so the stock tracks smoothly without the “springboard effect” common to some other low profile stock designs.

Manners F-Class stock

Manners F-Class stock

Tom also previewed the new Manners Mini Chassis, an integrated v-block/bottom metal/mag carriage. Manners’ Mini Chassis can be installed in one of Manners stocks or other designs, and it provides a rock-solid, “bolt-in and go” mount for a Rem-700 footprint action. The Mini Chassis takes both 5-round and 10-round AI magazines.

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January 20th, 2010

SHOT Show Report: The Boys from Bartlein

Bartlein BarrelsWisconsin’s Bartlein Barrels currently produces some of the most accurate cut-rifled rifle barrels in the world. We had a chance to chat with Bartlein barrel-makers Tracy Bartlein and Frank Green shortly after the doors opened at the 2010 SHOT Show in Las Vegas. Frank and Tracy weighed in on some of the “hot topics” in the barrel-making business: Gain Twist and the advantages of single-point cut rifling. In this interview, the “boys from Bartlein” discuss current trends in barrel-making, including what’s “hot” in short-range benchrest and the emergence of 7mm barrels for F-Class Open competition. Tracy also offers his opinions on cut rifling vs. button rifling, and he explains how modern technology has helped make modern barrels “better than ever”.

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January 19th, 2010

Burris "Eliminator" LaserScope Automatically Sets Aim Point for Ranged Target Distance

Today at the SHOT Show’s “Media Day at the Range”, Burris gave us a glimpse of the future in hunting optics. The new Burris Eliminator scope will range your target, calculate your trajectory, and illuminate a spot on the reticle that becomes your aimpoint at extended range. We could write a treatise on the Eliminator’s breakthrough technology, but all you really need to know is that after you range your target with the scope, a red dot appears on the vertical crosshair that is the correct aiming point for your ranged distance. The ballistics “hold-over” is already calculated. Just put the calculated red dot on the target, and pull the trigger. It’s that simple.

Burris Eliminator LaserScope

The new “Eliminator” scope is being introduced as a 4-12x42mm optic, for an expected $850.00 street price. The laser is activated with a simple push-button on the left side of the scope, and also comes with a remote switch that you can attach to the rifle in a more convenient position allowing the laser to be activated while maintaining the aim of the rifle. In the above photo you can see the remote switch on the objective end of the scope.

Burris Eliminator LaserScope

Burris Eliminator LaserScope

Once the target range is acquired, the range displays for about 10 seconds and the illuminated aiming dot remains illuminated for 70 seconds. The illumination clock allows plenty of time to pull off a good shot, yet saves battery life.

So how does the Burris LaserScope calculate the appropriate trajectory of your load? The software in the scope contains a database of hundreds of factory-loaded cartridges and even calculates handload trajectories using two (2) user-provided data points. The user inputs the zero range (100 or 200 yards) along with the inches of drop at 500 yards. The 500-yard drop is best found by real world shooting, not by using a calculated trajectory approximation from a ballistic program. The scope’s software then uses the zero-distance and the 500-yard drop figure to extrapolate the entire trajectory.

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While shooting this scope on a Tikka 7mm-08, we successfully engaged targets from 350-570 yards that were approximately the size of a whitetail deer’s vitals area. Seeing how the conditions were not very conducive to accurate shooting with rain and a 5-15 mph switchy wind, we were impressed with the results.

For those that hunt or shoot out to about 600 yards or so, this scope will definitely speed up the process of pulling off an accurate long range shot. In a matter of seconds, you can locate a target, range it, and engage it. There is no time wasted fumbling with a separate laser rangefinder, no time wasted looking at a drop chart, and no time wasted clicking in the appropriate amount of elevation. As long as you can get a range on your target, the only thing left to worry about is the wind! This scope is obviously not for everyone, but we are confident that many hunters can benefit from this remarkable new technology.

Burris Eliminator Specs:
Click value 1/4″ at 100 yards
Weight 26 ounces; length 13″
Eye Relief 3-3.5″
Elevation Travel 50″
Laser range 550-800 yards based on reflectivity

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product, News, Optics 6 Comments »
January 19th, 2010

NEW Steyr SSG 08 Showcases Sophisticated Design Features

At the Media Day rifle venues, “Tactical” rifles were definitely the featured attraction. There were, of course, many AR-based black rifle offerings, but the purpose-built, precision bolt guns really were the stars of Media Day this year. Savage has a new .338 Lapua Magnum, its first ever. SAKO unveiled an impressive new .338 TRG with front rails and a very sophisticated folding stock (more on that later). Barrett had some thundering big boomers on display. You could feel the compression from the muzzle blast on the new .416 Barrett a dozen feet away. JP Enterprises had its handsome new MOR-07 on display. This features an aluminum chassis with either tubular or square 2×4-style fore-arm, plus a buttstock that looks like the Magpul AR stock. JP’s new MOR (Manually Operated Rifle) is offered either as a chassis to fit Rem footprint receivers, or as a $4499.00 complete rifle.

Though there were many impressive domestic tactical bolt guns, one of the nicest overall designs, in this Editor’s opinion, came from Austria’s Steyr Arms. The new Steyr SSG 08, shown below, features an advanced folding stock that is solid in the locked position while offering full adjustability of comb height and length of pull. The pistol grip was one of the most comfortable I’ve tried. The SSG 08 features a unique, 3-position triggersafety. In the “full safe” position, a positive pop-up selector locks the safety in place and actually blocks the firing pin. The detachable box magazine can be secured in two positions. In the first, the magazine is fully retained in the gun but you can cycle the bolt without picking up or extracting a round.

While the SSG 08 had all the tactical bells and whistles (such as forearm rails and 10-round magazine), it was the overall execution and competence of the weapon that impressed me. The design was well thought out — there were no “rough edges”, and everything, from the buttstock hinge to the mag release, functioned smoothly (and quietly). What separated the SSG 08 from most of the competition was the quality of the trigger. Many of the tactical rifles had very, very heavy trigger pulls with lots of over-travel. The Steyr SSG 08’s trigger was crisp and light. Shooting this gun was a pleasure. One noticed the attention to detail in every element of the rifle. We are told that Steyr received input from Austria’s Special Forces on this rifle. We aren’t surprised. With the SSG 08, one can see that real marksmen were involved in the design.

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January 19th, 2010

NEW Savage m93 17 HMR Varmint/Tactical Rimfire

Savage Arms was well represented today at the SHOT Show’s “Media Day as the Range.” We saw and shot several new offerings from Savage (including a tactical rifle in 338 Lapua Magnum and a hunting weight 6.5-284). We’ll cover these centerfire Savages later this week. One of the new Savages we really liked was the model 93R17 TR, a slick little 17 HMR. It looks and feels like a full-sized centerfire tactical bolt-gun, it comes with an excellent stock and nice trigger, and it is both affordable and very accurate. (NOTE:v Savage is also offering 22LRs rimfires in the same stock, the MK II TR and TRR.)

This rifle features an all-new, texture-painted wood stock with a very sound “tactical” design. It is well thought out, with good ergonomics, and offers options and design details that most rimfires do not. The stock features a moderate beavertail fore-end, a fairly vertical grip and a shallow butt-hook at the rear for support using the non-shooting hand. The black textured paint is very similar to the black painted finish on McMillan stocks (notice the texture in the photo).

The “look and feel” of the model 93 TR is similar to the popular Rem 700 PSS, and that’s good news for tactical shooters. With the new m93 TR, you feel like you are shooting a full-size tactical rifle. It feels solid and comfortable. And this rifle features with an optional factory-installed picatinny rail — a very nice feature on a rimfire rifle. You can easily move your scope back and forth between the model 93 and a Picatinny equipped centerfire bolt-gun. The model 93 should prove very popular with shooters who want to train with an economical rimfire that has very similar ergonomics to a centerfire bolt gun. For training duties only you may prefer the 22LR version. But the 17 HMR would be our pick for a “working” varmint rifle.

With CCI hollowpoint 17 HMR ammo, the m93 proved very accurate — we hit everything we shot at with ease, even in rainy, gusty conditions. Targets were mostly clay pigeons at 50-100 yards; we could break a clay, then easily hit the smaller pieces. Clearly this gun can be a very effective short-range varminter.

Overall, we really liked the feel and ergonomics of this rifle. It is a good choice for those seeking a rimfire trainer that handles like an “adult-sized” centerfire rifle. We are confident this will make a great varmint rifle as well as a economical tactical trainer. Your Editor expects that this rifle will be a hot seller for Savage.

Savage m93 17 TR Specs: Cal 17HMR; barrel 21″; overall-length 40″; weight about 7.5 lbs.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 1 Comment »
January 18th, 2010

Get Media Day Updates on Twitter.com

Eat your hearts out readers. Today while you’re working hard at “real jobs”, Jason Baney and I will be in Boulder City, Nevada testing the latest and greatest new firearms from Savage, Browning, Sig Sauer and other makers. Jason and I will be exercising our trigger fingers as part of the SHOT Show Media Day at the Range. At this annual event, over 50 leading manufacturers will showcase their new products for 2010.

Media Day SHOT Show

We’ll have a chance to put a variety of rifles and pistols through their paces. Sig Sauer has promised some exciting new rifles, and Beretta, Glock, Ruger, and Taurus should all have some new pistols.

We will provide a complete report, with many photos and video, on Tuesday. But if you can’t wait, check out our Twitter Page Monday afternoon and evening for Media day updates. We hope to provide “instant updates” on Twitter.com, offering quick highlights of the new firearms on display.

CLICK HERE for Media Day Instant Field Reports on Twitter.com

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
January 18th, 2010

NEW Eliseo Modular Tactical Chassis with Twin Lowers

One gun, many calibers. That’s the concept behind Gary Eliseo’s new modular long action tube gun. By offering two different lower assemblies, along with swappable bolts and barrels, Gary’s versatile new RTM (Remington Tactical Modular) chassis can shoot a wide range of chamberings, from the midsize cartridges (such as 6XC) all the way up to the .338 Lapua Magnum. Eliseo’s RTM provides the tactical shooter with unrivaled versatility in a single package with consistent ergonomics and control function. You’ve heard the old adage, “beware the man with one gun.” Well that’s especially true if the one gun is built on the Eliseo RTM platform. To our knowledge, the RTM is first tube gun that can shoot everything from a 22-250 up to the .338 Lapua Mag. It’s a remarkable feat of engineering.

Eliseo RTM modular tactical rifle

Eliseo RTM modular tactical rifle

Gary provided this initial report: “I wanted to give Daily Bulletin readers a peek at the new RTM chassis I’ve been working on. Designed to accept the Remington 700 long actions or custom long action Rem clones, it will be available with two lower units. With the shorter lower, users can run short action cartridges like the 6-6.5×47, 6XC, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5×47 Lapua and .308 using AICS 5- or 10-round magazine. Or, with the longer lower (and a different barrel and bolt), you can shoot the .300 Win Mag up to the .338 Lapua Mag using AI 5-round single stack magazines.” Gary adds: “I’ve been working with John Pierce on this project — he’ll offer an action ‘package’ which will include a long action, two bolts, and even two barrels for those who want all the options.” Eliseo’s new RTM chassis comes equipped with an improved ambidextrous cheek piece, Gary’s new folding VRGS (vertical rear grip system), and a pair of quick detach sling swivel cups. For more information, visit CompetitionShootingStuff.com, or call Gary Eliseo at (714) 630-5734.

Eliseo RTM modular tactical rifle

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product, News 5 Comments »
January 18th, 2010

Flaming Carbines — How to Destroy an M4 Barrel

On January 12, 2010 the New York Times “At War” Blog focused on the combat performance of the M4 Carbine, one of the preferred weapons of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

There has been some concern that m4s used in sustained fire-fights are overheating the barrel. It’s no surprise that guns firing magazine after magazine of ammo can over-heat the barrel. In a video found on the N.Y. Times site, Testers for Colt Mfg. recently shot an m4 in full-auto mode, loading magazines as fast as possible. The point was to test the gun to the point of catastrophic failure, something that occured after about two minutes.

CLICK HERE to watch m4 Rifle Test Video (Catastrophic Failure).

This is a pretty amazing video. As the NY Times author notes: “Watch the video closely. After several magazines, the barrel smolders. Then it becomes red hot. After 1 minute and 20 seconds the barrel begins to droop between magazines — like a piece of warm licorice. Then comes the catastrophic ending, at 1 minute and 51 seconds and after the 535th round, when the barrel ruptures.”

m4 Destruction Video

We hate to see any firearm abused like this. On the other hand, we’re glad a manufacturer testing the limits of extreme performance. Lessons learned can help improve the m4 design. The U.S. Army is considering fitting a heavier-contour barrel that may not heat up so quickly. A second video on the same NYT Blog page shows an m4A1 carbine with a heavier barrel. This second gun delivered 911 rounds before the gas tube ruptured. Note, in both the video demos, the m4s were modified to shoot full auto (not 3-round bursts like most m4s). This allowed a much high sustained rate of fire than would be possible with weapons limited to 3-round bursts.

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January 17th, 2010

Gary Anderson Retires as Director of Civilian Marksmanship

Gary Anderson, who served the CMP as the Director of Civilian Marksmanship (DCM) for the past ten years, officially retired from that position on the December 31, 2009. Anderson celebrated his 70th birthday in October, 2009. The CMP has no immediate plans to appoint a new Director of Civilian Marksmanship. The CMP’s current Chief Operating Officer, Orest Michaels, will take over direct management of CMP programs.

Anderson will continue his association with the CMP in a consulting capacity as “DCM Emeritus”, working work on several projects that include training curriculum development, master instructor training, rulebook editing and technical writing. Anderson will also stay busy with international-level shooting. Anderson was recently elected President of USA Shooting, the U. S. Olympic shooting governing body. He also serves as a V.P. for the ISSF.

CMP Thrived Under Anderson’s Leadership
During his tenure at CMP, participation in CMP National Matches events doubled, the CMP Games expanded dramatically, and Anderson guided the growth of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force JROTC marksmanship programs, and CMP Master Instructor training program. Anderson also had a key role in the construction of the CMP Competition Centers at Camp Perry and Anniston.

While serving as DCM, one of Anderson’s top priorities was increasing youth participation in the shooting sports. In the photo above Anderson awards a certificate to a CMP-USMC Junior High Power Clinic participant.

Anderson said, “My work as the DCM has been richly fulfilling and I am grateful to the CMP and its Board of Directors for the opportunities they gave me to realize so many of my dreams and expectations for the shooting sports.” The CMP Board will hold a tribute to Gary Anderson at Anniston, Alabama on March 28th, after the 2010 JROTC Air Rifle National Championship.

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
January 17th, 2010

Handy New Case Lube Pad with Cartridge Tray

Case Lube padGrafs.com has a handy new case lube unit from SmartReloader, the Swiss-owned “yellow” brand now competing with RCBS (Green) and Lee (Red). The SR-104 case lube pad/tray is so new you won’t even find it on the parent SmartReloader’s company website.

The SmartReloader Case Lube Unit is very nicely thought out. A closed-cell-foam lube pad is positioned in the middle. On left and right sides are small trays that can hold your lube bottle or cartridge cases. But the real brilliant feature of the design is the dual-purpose yellow pad cover/brass holder. When flipped open, the hinged cover has slots to hold your cases just like a reloading tray. When you’ve finished lubing your cases, fold the yellow lid back and it completely covers and protects the sticky lube pad. That’s really smart. Now you don’t have to worry about your lube pad attracting dirt, tumbler dust, and even unlucky insects that might wander across it.

Case Lube pad

If you still prefer to lube your cases on a rolling pad (there are easier methods in this Editor’s opinion), you should check this product out. The new SmartReloader Case Lube Unit costs just $12.99 at Grafs.com, item VBSR01702.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading No Comments »