June 30th, 2010

New Mil-Dot Rangefinder App for Apple iPhone and iPod

Mil-dot Ranging AppMany of our readers are now using smart-phones for ballistic calculations. Now there is a new App for the iPhone which makes mildot target ranging simple and easy. Mil-Dot Rangefinder 2.0 does all the math for you. Just input the size of the target, and the program calculates range instantly, in yards and meters. The standard edition costs just $1.99 while the “Pro” version is $9.99. We think that, if you’re going to really use this program in the field, it’s well worth paying ten bucks for the Pro version. The Pro edition gives you a full-featured ballistics calculator with windage/elevation corrections. That calculator alone is worth the extra money, and the Pro version offers many other features, which are listed below:

  • Target ranging (yards and meters)
  • US Army and USMC mil-dot reticles
  • Target Info display
  • Advanced ballistics calculator
  • Fast windspeed/direction adjustment
  • Range card (ballistics chart)
  • Point of impact indicator
  • Bullet drop compensator
  • Windage/elevation corrections
  • Time to target
  • Shot energy/velocity at target
  • Multiple Ballistic Profiles

This is a very powerful program. We suspect it will take most users a few days before they really understand all its functions and options. To see a more detailed demonstration of the Mil-Dot Rangefinder App, click on the YouTube video below. There’s no voice-over, so the video can be hard to follow. But at least the video showcases the flexibility of the program and the wide variety of functions it offers. Credit The Firearm Blog for spotlighting this useful App.

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Permalink - Videos, New Product, Tech Tip 5 Comments »
June 30th, 2010

Free July Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA

The July digital edition of Shooting Sports USA is now available for free online. In this latest edition of the popular “e-zine”, Managing Editor Chip Lohman reports on recent major collegiate matches, including the first ever Intercollegiate Rifle Club Championship.

This July issue also features an excellent article by Scott Pilkington on Airgun Maintenance. This is an important topic which needs more coverage. Pilkington is a respected air rifle expert who served as the official gunsmith for the U.S. Olympic air gun squad at the Sydney Olympic games. He also runs his own Tennessee-based business, Pilkington Competition Equipment, www.pilkguns.com.

Air Rifle Maintenance Pilkington

Permalink - Articles, Competition No Comments »
June 29th, 2010

New Generation Tactical Rings Offer Innovative Clamping Designs

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium RingsWe recently had a chance to test the new Chimera Titanium Rings from TacticalRifles.net. The Chimera Rings are “ultra-premium” items designed to compete with the very best tactical rings on the market. As you’d expect, they’re expensive. The 30mm Chimera Rings retail for $224.00 per matched set, including Torx driver. Though these fat boys are beefy in size, offering 7.5 square inches of clamping area per set (way more than most rings), they are very light weight. A medium-height, 30mm Chimera ring weighs just 84 grams (2.96 ounces).

The Chimera rings are precision-machined to exacting tolerances. We had our Mark, our in-house machinist, check them out and he was very impressed: “These rings exhibit beautiful fit and finish and are extremely tough. The fit of the ring bases on a Picatinny rail is perfect. I liked the radius shapes given to most of the surfaces. The front and back faces of each ring are standard flat planes, and the ring caps have a flat disc in their centers, but the remainder of the cap and the sides of the bodies are gently curved. This design requires sophisticated machining processes to pull off, but it looks good. The larger-than-standard heads on the cap hardware, 8-32 X #25 Torx, are another departure that looks well thought out. One danger this increased head size would present if the fasteners were threading into typical 6061 aluminum bodies would be the potential to over-torque and strip the threads with the larger #25 Torx wrench. However, since the titanium bodies have approximately double the tensile strength of 6061 aluminum this is not a problem.”

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium RingsAssymetrical Tensioning by Design
The Chimera Titanium Rings employ an assymetrical clamping design. This should allow the rings to provide stronger clamping force with less chance of ring distortion. Here’s how they work. After placing the scope in the lower halves of the rings, you screw down the top halves on one side only (opposite the bolt head that clamps to the Picatinny rail). After the three Torx screws are tightened fully on one side, so that the top Ring half butts firmly on the bottom half, there will still be a small gap on the opposite side of the ring (see photo). Don’t worry — that is by design. Final torque is applied to the side with the gap. With the final tensioning done on one side only, the scope is less prone to twist. Furthermore, the manufacturer claims this design puts less stress on the scope tube during mounting.

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium Rings

We did fit the Chimera rings to a Leupold LRT 8-25x50mm scope with 30mm tube. Fit was excellent with no high or low points. With the rings installed as instructed, with one side first clamped flush and the opposite side then torqued to spec, the scope was very secure. On removal the Chimera rings left no visible marks on the tube. I can’t say that it would be a waste of time to lap these rings, but on our Leupold scope the fit was perfect, and the “grip” was uniform over the entire clamping surface.

TacticalRifle.net Chimera Titanium Rings

Tactical Precision System TSR™ Rings
TSR™ rings made by Tactical Precision Systems (TPS) have a clamping design very similar to the Chimera Titanium Rings. After placing the scope in the TSR ring set, you clamp down one side (of the ring tops) until metal meets metal. This then leaves a gap of 0.020″ on the other side. The TSR Picatinny 30mm 7075 Aluminum Medium Rings cost $82 in aluminum or $94.00 in alloy steel. The TSR rings are narrower than the Chimeras, and have two Torx bolts per side, rather than the three on the Chimeras.

TSR Rings Tactical Precision

M3 Hinged Scope Rings from American Rifle Company
An even more radical clamping system is employed by the new, patent-pending M3 Scope Rings from The American Rifle Company. The top section of the M3 rings is attached with a hinge on one side. After placing the scope in the bottom section of the M3 rings, you swing the upper ring half into place over the scope tube. Then the clamping is done with two inverted (head-down) machine screws that actually pull the hinged ring section downwards. This is designed to put less stress on the scope than conventional rings. The axis of the screws is tangential to the scope tube. Sophisticated finite element analysis (FEA) was used to develop the “over the top”, tangential-clamping ring design. According to the manufacturer, this design evenly distributes clamping forces over the tube and “eliminates the damaging effects of [scope] bending”. The manufacturer claims that, with its rings, “no significant stress concentrations are present on the scope tube”. American Rifle Co. backs up these claims with a series of 3D stress analyses published on its website.

TSR Rings Tactical Precision

Credit The Firearm Blog for reporting on the M3 ring design.
Disclosure: TacticalRifles.net loaned a pair of Chimera Titanium Rings for testing and evaluation.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
June 29th, 2010

U.S. Army Issues New M855A1 Ammo to Troops in Afghanistan

The U.S. Army has begun shipping its new, improved 5.56×45 cartridge, the M855A1 Enhanced Performance Round, to U.S. troops in Afghanistan. The Army will procure over 200 million rounds of the new M855A1 ammo in the next 12-15 months, and soldiers in Afghanistan will begin using M855A1 ammo in the summer of 2010. The new round replaces the current M855 cartridge used by U.S. troops since the early 1980s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPR

The military sought to replace current M855 ammo because M855 has not performed adequately in the Afghan theater. Specific complaints include: 1) inability to effectively penetrate vehicle windshields; 2) poor long-range performance; and 3) failure to fragment even in short-range anti-personnel use. The Army’s Picatinny Arsenal claims that the new M855A1 has improved hard target capability, more consistent performance at all distances, improved accuracy, reduced muzzle flash, and higher velocity. M855A1 ammo is tailored for use in M4 carbines but should also give enhanced performance in M16s and M249s.

M855A1 ammunition ammo EPRNew Steel-Tip Bullet Design
The 62-grain bullet for the new M855A1 ammo is a completely new design. While it may appear to have a plastic “ballistic tip”, that’s deceiving. The new bullet created for M855A1 ammo has a bismuth-tin alloy core with a steel “stacked-cone” penetrating tip. The photo at right shows the version from last year; the final production version may be slightly different (e.g. the final version tip is a different color). Apparently the latest bullet design is a winner. During testing, M855A1 ammo performed better than current 7.62mm ball ammunition against certain types of targets. According to Lt. Col. Jeffrey K. Woods, the program’s product manager, the new M855A1 ammo is “the best general purpose 5.56mm round ever produced. A true general purpose round, the M855A1 exceeds the performance of the current M855 against the many different types of targets likely to be encountered in combat.” The chart below illustrates how M855A1 ammo performs on hard targets compared to M855.

M855A1 hard target

Over One Million Rounds Fired in Army Tests
Prior to initial production, the new M855A1 round underwent vigorous testing. Official qualification of the round consisted of a series of side-by-side tests with the current M855. Overall, the Army fired more than one million rounds to ensure the new cartridge met all expectations. The new M855A1 round is the “most thoroughly tested small caliber round ever fielded” according to Lt. Col. Woods. The new M855A1 is sometimes called “Green Ammo” because it uses a lead-free projectile. Woods said the M855A1’s bullet design shows how “greening” a previously hazardous material can also provide extremely beneficial performance improvements.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, News 14 Comments »
June 29th, 2010

Creedmoor Sports Offers One-day 54¢ Shipping Promotion

To celebrate the U.S. Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in McDonald v. Chicago, Creedmoor Sports is offering a special, one-day 54¢ Shipping Sale. For today only, June 29th, ANY Creedmoor Sports order, no matter how big, will ship for just $0.54. (Ammunition and bullets excluded!) To get your discounted shipping visit CreedmoorSports.com, and Use Coupon Code: 5-4VOTE.

Creedmoor Sports Sale

Conditions: Sale today 6/29/2010 only. Not subject to prior sales. Shipping coupon excludes ammunition and bullets. These items will be charged shipping before the order is processed.

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June 28th, 2010

U.S. Supreme Court ‘Incorporates’ Second Amendment to States in Challenge to Chicago Gun Ban

In McDonald v. City of Chicago, the most important Second Amendment legal case since D.C. v. Heller, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies to States and local governments. This will allow plaintiffs to proceed with their legal challenge to a Chicago law banning handgun possession. Justice Alito wrote the High Court’s 5-4 decision.

In making this ruling, the High Court held that the Second Amendment applies to actions of State and local governments under the incorporation doctrine derived from the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Justice Thomas offered a well-reasoned concurring opinion arguing that the “Privileges and Immunities” Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment also demands that State and municipal governments not abridge citizens’ Second Amendment rights.

CLICK HERE to Read FULL TEXT of McDonald v. City of Chicago Decision

Now State and Municipal Laws Can Be Challenged on Second Amendment Grounds
In a decision written by Justice Alito, the Supreme Court ruled the individual right to keep and bear arms protected by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution applies to states and local governments. The court split along ideological lines in voting 5 to 4 to support the right of individuals to own handguns for self protection. The Second Amendment now carries “full sway” over state and municipal actions, as do most of the other protections enumerated in the Bill of Rights. In applying the Second Amendment to state action, the Court followed a familiar blueprint under which other rights have been applied to the states by virtue of the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

The case before the Court, McDonald v. City of Chicago, was filed in 2008 a day after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in District of Columbia v. Heller — in which the high court reaffirmed that the Second Amendment protects an “individual” right to keep and bear arms. The Heller decision, however, did not reach the question of whether the Second Amendment also applied to the states.

Immediately after Heller, several Chicago residents, including retired maintenance worker Otis McDonald, filed a federal lawsuit challenging the city’s long-standing gun ban. The Chicago-based federal courts ruled that the Second Amendment did not apply to the states and local governments, setting the stage for the Supreme Court to decide the question it left unanswered in its Heller decision.

On hearing today’s decision, Plaintiff Otis McDonald thanked the Justices: “for having the courage to right a wrong, which has impacted many lives long ago and will protect lives for many years to come.”

Steve Sanetti, President of the NSSF, which filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of McDonald, added: “Today’s ruling is a victory for freedom and liberty. All law-abiding Americans, no matter whether they live in a big city like Chicago or in rural Wyoming, have the same Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. Constitutional rights don’t stop at state or city borders. Cities like Chicago and New York and states like California must now respect the Second Amendment.”

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Credit: Thanks to German Salazar, Esq. for sourcing the text of the Supreme Court’s decision.

Permalink News 1 Comment »
June 28th, 2010

Amazing New MicroSight Technology Moves into Production

Microsight Rifle lens Zone PlateIn May, we reported on the new MicroSight invented by engineer (and shooter) David Crandall of the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The MicroSight keeps both near and far objects in sharp focus, simultaneously imaging two distinct focal planes. This break-through technology allows the shooter to see a sharp image of the target and a sharp image of his iron sights at the same time.

The MicroSight is not a lens per se. Rather it is a phased Zone Plate that focuses light beams through diffraction. Zone Plates, first studied by Frenchman Augustin-Jean Fresnel in the 1800s, focus light via a set of concentric rings that alternate between transparent and opaque. The transparent sections let some light waves pass through unchanged, focusing objects that are far away (basically, at infinity). But light passing the edges of the opaque rings gets diffracted, which brings nearby objects into focus. This produces a seemingly impossible result — sharp images of distant and near objects, simultaneously.

Microsight Rifle lens Zone Plate

The MicroSight is not just a laboratory experiment. Prototype versions have been crafted and placed on test rifles. INL has licensed the technology to Apollo Optical Systems which is right now working with gunsight manufacturers to adapt the MicroSight design to a variety of products. In the future, some MicroSight-equipped products might add refractive power to the Zone Plate, allowing target magnification as well as focusing.

WATCH the VIDEO below to see the MicroSight in Use and to learn how it works…

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Microsight Rifle sight Zone Plate

Permalink New Product, News, Optics 11 Comments »
June 28th, 2010

Nightforce Takes Advance Orders for NXS Hi-Speed Scopes

At SHOT Show in January, Nightforce revealed a new Hi-Speed option for its NXS scope line-up. This nearly doubles the MOA range for each turn of the elevation knob, giving a full 20 MOA of elevation for a single rotation. For most long-range calibers that means you can hit targets from 50 yards out past 700 yards all within a single turret rotation. That makes it far less easy to get confused with your long-range zeros.

We’ve been waiting for the “Hi-Speed” option to arrive. Well the wait is almost over — Nightforce Optics has begun taking orders for the new “Hi-Speed” ZeroStop feature for the following 5 models:

NXS 3.5-15x50mm
NXS 3.5-15x56mm
NXS 5.5-22x50mm
NXS 5.5-22x56mm
NXS 3.5-15x50mm F1 (First focal plane reticle)

The above scope models (with hi-speed turret) will be offered with either 1/4-MOA adjustments and 20 MOA per rotation, or 1/10th Mil-Radian adjustments and 10 Mil-Radians per rotation.

Nightforce reports it “will begin shipping these new featured models -– in limited numbers –- by mid to late July, 2010. There will be a 3% price increase per respective model (excluding the NXS1550 F1).”

Permalink Optics No Comments »
June 27th, 2010

Results of 2010 National Junior Air Gun Championships

The 2010 National Junior Air Gun Championships in Albuquerque, NM concluded yesterday. The new champions were crowned last evening at an awards ceremony. Here are the top three individual and team winners from both the Sporter and Precision classes. Note: these results are preliminary, and are not final until the challenge period has ended.

National Junior Air Rifle New Mexico 2010

Precision Rifle Division

Individual Aggregate (1200 possible points):

1. Landon Shankles, LaCueva HS, MCJROTC, 1179
2. Abigail Stanec, Ohio Rifle & Pistol Assn., 1177
3. Dan Lowe, Washington State Rifle & Pistol Assn., 1172

Team Aggregate (4800 possible points):

1. Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association, 4667
2. LaCueva HS, MCJROTC, 4634
3. Washington State Rifle & Pistol Assn., 4633

A record number of JROTC teams competed in this year’s championship.

Sporter Rifle Division

Individual Aggregate (1200 possible points):

1. John White, Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Assn., 1106
2. Dahkota Hayes, Montana Rifle & Pistol Assn., 1094
3. Shaley Clements, Ohio Rifle & Pistol Assn., 1085

Team Aggregate (4800 possible points):

1. Montana Rifle & Pistol Assn., 4267
2. Venture Crew 123 Aloha Council BSA, 4223
3. Maryland State Rifle & Pistol Assn., 4156

This was the second year in a row than the Montana Rifle & Pistol Assn. won a team championship.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
June 26th, 2010

Impossible Shots TV Show Now on Saturdays AND Wednesdays

Flanigan Impossible ShotsImpossible Shots, a spin-off of the Shooting USA TV show, is now the most-watched series on the Outdoor Channel’s Wednesday Night line-up of gun-related broadcasts. Reflecting its growing popularity, Impossible Shots will now also air on Saturdays, at these times: 4:30 PM EST, 3:30 CST, 2:30 MT, 1:30 PT. Impossible Shots features amazing trick-shooting challenges performed by six top professionals: Pistoleros Bub Munden, Jerry Miculek, and Gil Guerra, rifleman George Sutton, and archer Byron Ferguson. There are also regular appearances by Team Winchester’s Patrick Flanigan, considered the world’s fastest shotgun shooter. In the video below, Flanigan shoots 12 shells in just 1.442 seconds!

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Permalink - Videos, Competition No Comments »
June 26th, 2010

Warning: New Apple 4th-Gen iPhone May Have Serious Flaws

Many of our readers use iPhones to run ballistics programs and to access travel maps and weather reports. We CAUTION readers who may be planning to purchase a new Apple iPhone 4 (Fourth Generation), first released on June 24th: Wait until the flaws are fixed.

You May Want to Hold Off on Purchasing a iPhone 4
We know many of you guys are anxious to get the latest iPhone 4… but we strongly advise you to wait a week or two at least. Or perhaps wait a few months until an improved version of the new iPhone is available. The reason for this advice is simple — the glass panels on the new iPhone are prone to cracking, and there is a serious reception problem on many of the latest generation of iPhones.

iPhone 4 Major Problems
We suggest readers WAIT before purchasing an iPhone 4, based on issues we observed ourselves, as well as thousands of reports that are flooding in. There are three main problems.

1. Many iPhone 4s have hardware-related reception problems causing dropped calls. This is apparently caused by hand interference with the antenna.

2. The iPhone 4’s front screen and back plate, which are composed of a new, ultra-hard Aluminosilicate glass, are very prone to cracking. We observed this first-hand.

3. Some iPhone 4 users are reporting yellow blotches and other abnormal screen discolorations. This is apparently a manufacturing defect.

iPhone 4GCracked Glass on Faceplate and Backplate
On June 24th, we went to the shooting range. One of our shooters, Katrina, had just acquired a brand new iPhone 4. She carried it in a protective belt holster. After a couple hours of shooting from a sitting position at the bench, she tried to make a call, only to find that the front glass screen had a full-width diagonal crack. This phone was never dropped, tossed, or abused in any way. While the screen needs to be replaced, Katrina’s iPhone is still able to make calls — the first one of which went to Apple customer support.

Many reports are surfacing about broken iPhone 4 glass. Unlike our experience with Katrina’s phone, most of the breakages appear to be on the back plate. You’ll find reports of the breakages in the Apple forums and on major tech websites.

Gizmodo.com reports: “Cases of broken iPhone 4’s backs are already appearing. This hasn’t changed from previous generations…. But the difference is that the iPhone 4 is all glass. If you drop any other phone, you have a 50% chance of breaking its screen. With the iPhone 4, the risk will always be there, no matter how it falls. It’s just more exposed to damage because of the material choice.” Another breakage report.

CNET confirms the cracking glass problem in iPhone 4s, and has already published a do-it-yourself YouTube video showing how to replace the glass rear plate.

Reception and Dropped Call Problem
There is a widespread problem with iPhone 4s losing reception when held in the hand. The video below shows how just picking up the iPhone and holding it normally will cause loss of reception. The problem appears to be hand contact with the iPhone 4’s metal frame, which serves as the antenna.

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An article in Gizmodo.com addresses the issue: “There’s no great fix for the iPhone 4 reception issues right now. We’re also pretty sure—and Apple confirms it—that touching the antenna does affect things—whether or not it has the final result of killing calls or speed of data connection.”

Rubber Bumper Partial Reception Fix?
Here is a further CNET video report confirming the reception issue with multiple iPhone 4 test units. The problem is more acute with some users than others, and CNET did suggest that installing a $30 rubber bumper may help with the problem. Tests by igear360.com show that bumper can raise iPhone 4 downloading speeds, but uploading speeds still suffer substantially. Click here for iPhone bumper tests.

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Permalink Gear Review, New Product 7 Comments »
June 25th, 2010

Burris Signature Rings and Inserts on Sale at MidwayUSA

MidwayUSA is running a sale right now on Burris Signature and Signature Zee scope Rings and Pos-Align inserts. The Burris Signature Rings feature polymer inserts that fit between the scope tube and the ring itself. This protects the scope finish and also allows the scope tube to self-align within the rings. By using offset inserts with different thicknesses, you can keep your scope centered in its range of travel. You can also use the offset inserts to pre-load elevation into your scope, thus avoiding the need to purchase an expensive angled base for shooting at long ranges.

As examples of the current savings, Burris 1″ Signature Zee Weaver-Style Rings High Rings are marked down from $36.99 to $32.99. A set of Burris 1″ Pos-Align Offset Inserts (.005, .010 and .020) is now just $10.99, marked down from $14.99.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
June 25th, 2010

Redding Invests Over $1,000,000 to Double Production Capacity

Redding Reloading CNCWith the high cost of manufactured ammunition, the reloading market continues to grow, and Redding Reloading is growing with it. With the goal of doubling its production capacity, Redding has invested over $1,000,000 in the past two years in new equipment. Just this month, Redding added two more American-made CNC machines. These latest machines complete Phase One of Redding’s strategic growth plan.

Redding Expands Its New York Production Facility
At a time when some historic firearms factories (such as the Marlin plant in North Haven, CT) are shutting their doors, Redding is buying land and putting up new buildings. As Phase Two of Redding’s growth plan, the company is acquiring adjacent real property to expand Redding’s manufacturing facility. The planned physical plant expansion begins in late summer, 2010. This will add an additional 40% of dedicated production and warehousing space to the company’s current facility in Upstate New York. For more information, contact Redding Reloading Equipment, 1089 Starr Road, Cortland, NY 13045, or visit Redding-Reloading.com.

ReddingCLICK HERE to download 2010 Redding Reloading Catalog PDF

Permalink News, Reloading No Comments »
June 24th, 2010

Special Optics Offers — Exclusively for Our Readers

AccurateShooter.com has a new sponsor, Webyshops.com, which sells a full range of sporting optics for hunters, varminters, and competition shooters. To kick off WebyShops’ participation with our website, Mike Orlov, who runs Webyshops, has agreed to provide some EXCLUSIVE specials for AccurateShooter.com readers. These specials, just for our readers, are a full $50 below the normal low price. The Super-Sale items are limited quantity, first come, first serve, and subject to availability. When they’re gone, they’re gone. Go ahead and comparison-shop first. We think you’ll find these exclusive specials are hard to beat. For example, the Eotech 516 sells for $456.56 at Amazon.com, and $479.99 at Cabelas.com.

IMPORTANT: To qualify for these special prices, use Coupon Code ACCSHOOTER when you check out with your online order. For phone orders, call (800) 851-9329, ask for MIKE, and say you are an AccurateShooter.com reader.

EOTECH 516 Holographic Weapon Sight, 65 MOA Ring/1 MOA Dot Reticle, (516.A65/1)

Regular price: $449.00
AccurateShooter price: $399.00
SAVINGS: $50.00 off

Eotech Holosight
BUSHNELL Yardage Pro 4-12×42 Laser Rangefinding Riflescope, Mil-Dot Reticle, Matte (204124)

Regular price: $679.99
AccurateShooter price: $629.99
SAVINGS: $50.00 off

bushnell laserscope
LEUPOLD DeltaPoint Reflex Sight, 7.5 MOA Delta, All Mounts (65930)

Regular price: $449.99
AccurateShooter price: $399.99
SAVINGS: $50.00 off

Leupold Reflex
Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
June 23rd, 2010

Hot Temps and Hot Shooting at 2010 Steel Safari in New Mexico

2010 Steel SafariOne of the best hike-and-shoot, field-style long-range rifle challenges is the Steel Safari match — a 3-day event conducted in New Mexico’s high desert. The Steel Safari is a contest that examines “practical hunting skills, including target recognition, range estimation, wind doping, trail skills, and marksmanship”, according to the match entry form. Competitors locate small and medium-sized steel targets, range them, and engage with one shot only, under a challenging time limit. Some movement on the clock is required, and shoot positions are always improvised. Shooters may have to go prone on a rock slab, shoot a steep angle down a gully, or lean out the side of a truck. Both the North course and the South course are approximately 3.3 miles in length starting and ending at the “front range”, and looping around the rim of different parts of elevated terrain features.

2010 Steel SafariThe 2010 Steel Safari, held June 4-6, can be characterized by one word: HOT. Temperatures started ramping up on Friday for the Long-Range Side Match, reaching about 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and peaked on Saturday with a high of 109. The shooting was hot too, with winning scores higher than ever before. Among the 36 competitors, Steve Mann finished first with an impressive 95 score. Close behind, with a 93, was B.J. Bailey. Jimmy Holdsworth and Tom Freeman, both scored 88s, but Holdsworth prevailed on the tie-breaker for third place. In the Long-Range Side Match, Jon Beanland took first with a 111 score, followed by Jim Jensen (109) and Brian Whalen (99).

2010 Steel Safari

Equipment List — Two-Thirds of Competitors Use 6.5s or 6mms
The most popular rifle/action make was Surgeon (28%), followed by Remington (22%), then Accuracy International and Stiller (11% each), then Savage (8%), Big Horn Arms (6%), and one each of Barrett, Borden, DTA, GAP Templar, and Howa. The 6.5mm caliber totally dominated with 39% of all rifles; 6mm was next with 28%, then .30 (22%), and then 7mm (11%). Chamberings of choice were: .260 Remington (25%), .308 Winchester (17%), 6.5×47 Lapua (11%), 6% for each of 6XC, 7mm WSM, 7mm RSAUM, .260AI, and then 3% each for .300 WM, 6mm-250, .30-06, 6.5-284, 6 Dasher, .243 Winchester, and 6CM/243.

2010 Steel Safari

Scopes: Nightforce (28%), U.S. Optics (25%), Schmidt & Bender (17%), followed by Leupold (14%), Vortex (6%), and 3% each for Hensoldt, Burris, Pentax, and Premier. Laser range-finders were dominated by Leica (50%), followed by Swarovski (19%), Zeiss (17%), Vector (8%), and 3% each Leupold and Newcon. Bipods were mostly Harris (78%), followed by Atlas, AI, Caldwell, and Sinclair.

Propellants: Hodgdon powders totally dominated (80%) with Alliant second (20%). Of the Hodgdon powders, H4350, H4831SC, and Varget were the most popular, while RL17 was the most popular Alliant powder by far. The most notable trend in powder choice is that RL17 has replaced H4350 and H4831SC for many shooters.

Bullets, Brass, Ammo: Sierra (31%), Berger (25%), Lapua (25%), and DTAC 6mm (11%). Winchester and Lapua cases dominated with 33% each, followed by Remington (16%), and then Black Hills, Norma, and Lake City (3%). Only 2 shooters used factory ammo: one was Federal GMM (.308) and the other was M118LR (7.62×51 NATO).

CLICK HERE for full, 6-page report on 2010 Steel Safari

Permalink Competition, Hunting/Varminting 1 Comment »
June 23rd, 2010

Summer Bargains from Midsouth Shooters Supply

Midsouth summer flyerMidsouth Shooters Supply has some excellent deals in its 2010 Summer Shooting Flyer. To download the complete flyer as a PDF file, CLICK HERE

Midsouth has knocked $44.00 off the price of the RCBS Chargemaster — it’s now on sale for just $279.99. If you need a media separator, Midsouth’s “house brand” rotary sifter is a steal for $19.29. There are many other great deals in the flyer.

Midsouth AR Replacement parts

Special Replacement Parts Packs for AR Shooters
Midsouth has done something really fantastic — it has created affordable kits that include all the key internal parts and pieces that can wear out (or get lost) on an AR15. Great idea. AR manufacturers should provide kits like these with every complete rifle sold! For under $30.00, Midsouth’s Field Repair Kit includes: firing pin, 2 firing pin retainers, bolt cam pin, 3 bolt gas rings, buffer detent, buffer detent spring, extractor springs, & pads, disconnector spring, disconnector, hammer spring and trigger spring.

Midsouth AR Replacement parts

Permalink Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
June 22nd, 2010

Stinger Missile Box Makes Dandy Double-Gun Safari-Style Case

Cabelas safari gun caseYou have to hand it to the Texans. Forum member Paul Scott (aka “FTRinTexas”), has created a sturdy double-gun case from a surplus Stinger Missile transport box. Measuring roughly 63″ x 11″ x 13″, the aluminum Stinger box is big enough to fit two, long-barreled match rifles side by side, stowed vertically, toaster-style. There’s even room inside for a spotting scope and other accessories. With a little effort (and some after-market foam), the Stinger box can be converted into a very practical (and rugged) gun case.

The converted Stinger box is also an attention-getter according to Paul: “Other guys at the range definitely do a double-take when you haul a missile case out of your truck! They’re kind of disappointed when I open the lid and they see there are only rifles inside.”

Advantages of Side-by-Side (Vertical) Rifle Cases
For wide-forearm rifles with big scopes, we have always liked the vertical storage (drop-in style) cases such as the Plano AirGlide. Vertical placement allows the gun’s weight to rest on the stock with no side-pressure applied to the scope turrets. We’ve asked Plano to make a double-gun case of a similar design, but that’s not going to happen any time soon.

Cabelas safari gun caseThere are companies that make large, metal-bodied safari cases that stow two rifles vertically, side-by-side. These cases are super-secure, but they are also very expensive. Cabela’s side-by-side Safari Case costs $399.00, and it will only hold rifles up to about 50″ overall length. Ziegel Engineering makes a beautiful two-rifle, top-loading Expedition case, but it costs $639.95, and is also limited to a 50″ rifle OAL.

The Stinger Solution — Inexpensive, Rugged Side-By-Side Storage
Paul Scott was clever to source a Stinger Box and transform it into a side-by-side double rifle case. With over five FEET (61.5″) of internal length, the box will secure guns with barrels up to 38″ with ease. And the Stinger box is wide enough to hold two F-Class guns side-by-side with plenty of clearance. Stinger boxes come with an O-ring seal, air relief valve, and handles on each end. Hasp locks are easily added, as are wheels (just slide an axle through the lower “bumper” flange on the box end.)

Cabelas safari gun case

As received from Uncle Sam, a surplus Stinger storage box needs some modification to work as a double rifle case. Paul removed most of the internal foam padding from the lower section, and then used an electric knife to carve cradles to support the two rifles under the forearms and buttstocks. The original hard foam blocks in the Stinger box lid were replaced with closed cell foam like that used in Pelican cases. Paul found that the new foam in the lid would press down on the scopes’ elevation knobs, so he cut round holes in the top foam to provide additional turret clearance.

Cabelas safari gun case

As you can see in the photos, Paul had enough room forward of the rifles to stow his spotting scope and disassembled spotting scope stand. Paul simply placed another layer of foam in the bottom of the box and then cut the foam to fit the equipment. Another foam layer can be placed over the spotting scope and stand to prevent slippage during shipment.

If you are interested in making your own double-gun case from a Stinger box, email PScott [at] pegasustexas.com . Paul has a few extra Stinger boxes he may be willing to sell for around $175 each. Each of these Stinger Missile containers cost Uncle Sam $2066.00 originally! The photo below shows the Stinger transport box before modification.

Cabelas safari gun case

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June 22nd, 2010

Garand Assembly Diagram Printed on Large Mats

Here’s a handy product for our readers who collect military rifles or who shoot in the CMP’s Garand Matches. Second Star to the Right, a company based in Stonewall, Lousiana, offers vinyl mats printed with the breakdown/assembly instructions for the M1 Garand. These mats are faithful reproductions of the 1952 Army instruction diagram used to train GIs and armorers. There are two models: 1) 30″ x 26″ Deluxe heavy-weight version with grommets ($25.00); and 2) 19″ x 14″ “Collectors Edition” lighter-weight version ($17.00). You can either use the mat draped on your bench as a cleaning surface, or hang it on the wall for decoration.

In addition to its M1 Garand mats, Second Star plans to introduce mats for other firearms such as the M14, M1 Carbine, and M16. For more information call Second Star at (318) 560-2579. Second Star’s website is not yet active, but you can send email to: the2ndstar2010@yahoo.com .

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June 22nd, 2010

Kinetic-Powered Flashlight Needs No Batteries

The problem with most flashlights is that, when you really need them the most, you often find the batteries are discharged. A flashlight with dead batteries is useless in an emergency. The new LED Magna flashlight doesn’t need batteries at all. Inside the housing is a copper coil. By shaking the handle of the unit you cause a magnet to pass back and forth through the coil. This generates electricity which is stored in a capacitor. Just a few shakes will generate light.

kinetic flashlight LED kinetic flashlight LED

The LED Magna Light costs just $4.68 plus shipping from www.techdeals.us. At that price you can afford to keep one of these lamps in each of your vehicles, plus one in your range kit or “bug-out” bag. Now we just wish somebody made kinetic-powered cell phones and GPS units. It seems we are always struggling with low batteries on those often-used electronic devices. And why hasn’t anybody put a solar panel on the back of the iPhone yet?

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June 21st, 2010

Get Ready for National Championships at Camp Perry

Camp Perry 2010 logoWe are just three weeks from the start of the 2010 National Rifle and Pistol Championships at Camp Perry, Ohio. The National Championships, which have been held since 1907, draw more rifle and pistol competitors than any other shooting match in the Americas. The physical “playing field” is impressive — Camp Perry, situated on the southern shore of Lake Erie, boasts the largest outdoor rifle range in the world.

The NRA’s Competitive Shooting Division has just released a “Welcome to Camp Perry” video, which covers the history of the National Championships along with pistol, smallbore rifle, and highpower rifle disciplines. This entertaining, professionally-made video shows the diversity of the competitions and the overall scale of this big, annual event. If you watch carefully, you’ll see cameos by champions such as Carl Bernosky. The video is highly recommended….

YouTube Preview Image

Camp Perry 2010 logoRegistration, Programs and Entry Cards
If you want to compete at Camp Perry, it’s easy to register. Simply CLICK HERE to REGISTER ONLINE.

Note: Programs and entry cards for 2010 will only be mailed to those individuals who did not register online in 2009. Those who registered online may again do so for 2010 or they may request that a program and entry packet be sent to them. All others must request a copy of the National Matches Program by writing to:

NRA Competitive Shooting Division
11250 Waples Mill Rd., Fairfax, VA 22030

Please state which phase (Pistol, Smallbore Rifle or High Power Rifle) you plan to enter. You can also send E-mail to compadmin@nrahq.org.

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