December 1st, 2010

New Magazine-Well Security Block for ARs

GunVault AR maglockGunVault has unveiled a new, affordable security system for AR-platform rifles. The patent-pending AR MagVault ($24.95 MSRP) is a key-lock-controlled bright orange nylon block that fits in AR magwells. When engaged, the AR MagVault blocks magazine access, and more importantly, prevents the bolt from cycling. Once the AR MagVault is locked into place, a round cannot be inserted or chambered.

According to the manufacturer, the AR MagVault fits virtually all .223/5.56 AR-platform rifles. We like this well-designed product. The fiberglass-reinforced nylon block seems sturdy. It can supplement the use of a chamber safety flag at the range (the hi-viz orange color makes it easy to see the block is in place). In addition the AR MagVault can provide added security when an AR is transported or stored in a gun safe. Our only concern is the key system — we’d rather see a combination lock. As blogger Robert Farago cautions: “Don’t lose that key!” For additional info, visit GunVault.com.

GunVault AR maglock

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 2 Comments »
December 1st, 2010

Systems for Mounting Spotting Scope on Bench

We’re often asked: “What’s the best way to set up a spotting scope for shooting from a bench?” Some guys have spotting scopes set on big full-size tripods positioned to the side of the bench. That will work, but it normally requires you to move way out of position to look through your scope. Also, if you place the tripod as close to the bench as possible, one of the tripod legs will extend down close to your foot. It is all too easy to jostle the tripod with your foot or knee and move the scope off your target. We’ve also seen folks with spotting scopes mounted on compact camera tripods set directly on the bench. Again, this is not a very good solution. These small tripods position the spotting scope too high. Small camera tripods are also really too light and flimsy to hold a big, heavy spotter, with a 65mm or larger front objective. You really need a better set-up. You want to mount the spotting scope so, when you are in shooting positino, the eyepiece is close to your head — allowing easy viewing without moving your whole body away from the rifle.

Scope Stands for Bench Use
The best system for mounting a spotting scope to a bench was the Ray-Vin Ultimate Benchrest Stand. This clamped securely to the side of the bench and was a very high-quality piece of gear. Unfortunately, Ray Brandes of Ray-Vin has retired and his clamping benchrest scope stand is currently out of production. If you can find one for sale second-hand — snag it. If you can’t locate a Ray-Vin clamping stand, don’t despair, Creedmoor Sports has come out with a clamping-type Spotting Scope Bench-mount that is only $79.95 without head. This features 1″-diam vertical shaft so it can be used with most scope-holding heads that can adapt to a 1″ tube, such as a Ray-Vin head, Big Blue head, or Creedmoor’s new Polecat head. The clamp mount secures the rig anywhere you want along the side of the bench. You can easily adjust the scope height and fore/aft position relative to the shooter. The Ray-Vin head, now sold by Creedmoor, features a twist handle with a ball joint on the end. This then lets you set the scope (and angled eyepiece) to any angle you want. It’s a very slick system.

Creedmoor spotting scope benchmounts

The Creedmoor Bench-mount is currently back-ordered, but Creedmoor expects to receive product before the end of the year. The Polecat head is available now for $139.95. Creedmoor, which has taken over production of the Ray-Vin scope stand head, is taking orders for the Ray-Vin head currently. No release date is offered. However, there should be some 1″ Ray-Vin heads on the used market.

Creedmoor Polecat scope head

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 4 Comments »
December 1st, 2010

Magazine Seeks Product of the Year Award Nominations

Shooting Sports USA Product YearEach year Shooting Sports USA magazine (SSUSA) spotlights its Products of the Year — those competition shooting accessories which have the best combination of value, performance, and utility. Right now SSUSA is asking its readers to nominate products for the annual Best Products of the Year feature. SSUSA seeks your input on competitive shooting gear that made a significant difference in your shooting performance. Such products could include barrels, scopes, timers, holsters, magazine followers, instructional DVDs, or any other accessories/components which help you compete more effectively, and achieve higher scores.

Once the numbers are in, the results will be tallied and published in the SHOT Show edition of Shooting Sports USA. Please send your nomination for best 2010 competitive shooting product to shootingsportsusa@nrahq.org with 2010 Product in the subject line. The nomination deadline is December 10, 2010.

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