April 14th, 2011

Duplex Powder Loading Causes Catastrophic AR15 Kaboom

Thinking of combining rifle and pistol powder in a blended duplex load? Well think again. If you want to keep all your fingers, stick with factory powders and established loads at safe pressures. Here’s what can happen with a duplex load composed of both rifle and pistol powders. This catastrophic kaboom of an AR rifle took place at the Phoenix (AZ) Rod & Gun Club (PRGC) range. The photos, first posted on the ArizonaShooting.com forum, show how the AR blew up, ruining the bolt carrier, splitting the upper receiver, blowing out the Cavalry Arms polymer lower, and actually detaching the barrel.

AR15 AR Kaboom Phoenix

Another shooter, who was nearby when the Kaboom occurred, reported: “I was standing 10 feet behind [the shooter], loading mags. The shot was no different than any other shots. I only looked up because the RO was yelling for assistance.”

Obstructed Barrel? Probably Not: “The target showed four hits — the fourth round Kaboomed the rifle. [If there was an obstructed barrel only three holes should be on the target.] A piece of the exploded cartridge is still in the chamber of the barrel. The barrel extension split into three major pieces with smaller pieces cutting the left inside forearm.”

Suspected Cause? “It was a combination of rifle and pistol powder. The rest of the batch was pulled and there were apparently 3-4 other rounds with mixed loads.” It has been reported that these were commercial .223 Rem reloads.

What Happened to the Operator? “The shooter is fine. He got whacked in the face with the charging handle, giving him a fat lip. Minor cuts on his face. His wrist got fragged with carbon fiber/free float tube remains, which were embedded in his skin for a few weeks.”

Parts Ruined: Upper receiver, Cav Arms MK2 polymer lower receiver, Bolt Carrier Group (total loss), forearm, barrel, gas tube, gas block, muzzle brake, mag release, bolt release, custom trigger and take-down pins. Also charging handle is bent and trigger group sustained some damage.

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April 14th, 2011

Shooting Community Mourns Passing of Ferris Pindell

Ferris PindellWe are sad to announce the passing, on April 11, of Master Gunsmith and cartridge designer Ferris Pindell. Co-inventer of the 6 PPC cartridge with Louis Palmisano, Pindell was a legendary figure in the benchrest community. A member of the Benchrest Hall of Fame, Pindell was revered as a great machininist and a true pioneer in the pursuit of ultimate rifle accuracy. The short, fat PPC cartridge he helped design has proven to be the most accurate cartridge ever created. For decades it has dominated the sport of Benchrest for group and the PPC holds virtually all the major 100- to 300-yard group accuracy records.

We are all diminished by the passing of Ferris Pindell. As Tim Oltersdorf wrote on Benchrest Central:

“I wish to express my sadness at the passing of Ferris. He was a great innovator and master craftsman. His time on earth was too short for someone with so much to give. He is either wildcatting with God or giving Satan lectures on machining; come to think of it — given Ferris’ gifts — probably both.”

Palmisano is in Poor Health
Lou Palmisano, shown below (on left) with his friend and colleague Ferris Pindell, is ailing. Patti Palmisano posted this request on Benchrest Central this morning:

Palmisano and Ferris PindellJust to let everyone know that Lou is in extremely poor health. I know it would mean a lot to him to hear from shooters. He loved shooting and shooters more than anything throughout his lifetime. Please…just [send] a card or note… or even a call in the afternoon. He is 80 now and very frail… asking you to please reach out to him at this difficult time.

Thanks so much — Patti

CLICK HERE for Lou Palmisano address.

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April 14th, 2011

April Edition of Shooting Sports USA Worth Reading

NRA Rules 2011The April Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA (SSUSA) is now available on the web. Shooting Sports USA is FREE to read online, and you can subscribe for free. As always, SSUSA has match reports and a full calendar of NRA shooting events. This month’s digital edition has a “must-read” section on NRA Rule Changes for 2011. This covers multiple disciplines including High Power, Smallbore Rifle, NRA Pistol, and Action Pistol.

Red Dot SightsWe also recommend Larry Carter’s excellent article on Red Dot Sights (pp. 18-19). Whether you’re a multi-gun competitor, bullseye pistol shooter, or a turkey hunter, we guarantee you’ll learn something new from Carter’s article. Here are some highlights:

Dot Size: Use only as much diameter as you need. Small diameter for bullseye and larger diameters for sports that require moving from target to target. Either way the field of view is unlimited if you shoot with both eyes open.

Mounting: Try to get the [red dot] sight as close to the bore as possible. Consult with your gunsmith about what type of mounting is best for your activity and pistol.

Durability: Leave the dot turned on for the day’s shooting. Saving wear on the control is worth the trade-off in battery life. Most sights will run up to 500 hours on a battery.

Vision: If you don’t see a round dot, ask your eye doctor if you have an uncorrected astigmatism. This is especially true if you have really good vision. The eye doctor will not normally give a prescription to correct a small astigmatism if everything else is OK.

Editor’s Note: Astigmatism IS a major problem when it comes to using red dots. Some years ago I ordered an Aimpoint for an AR. Instead of a nice, distinct round dot I saw something that looked like a little starburst with fuzzy edges. I sent the Aimpoint back, thinking it was defective. But the replacement red dot sight was the same, so I went to my optometrist. It turns out I had astigmatism. Once that was corrected with prescription shooting glasses, I could see a nice distinct round dot. Without correction, it was very difficult to use the red dot sight effectively.

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April 14th, 2011

Bartlein Donates $14K Worth of Barrels to USA Benchrest Team

Bartlein BarrelsBartlein Barrels leads the way among companies supporting American competitors at the 2011 World Benchrest Championships in France. Bartlein Barrels has made a significant donation to this year’s American team — over $14,000.00 worth of match barrels. In dollar value, this is the single largest donation to the team from any source. Each Team USA member will receive four (4) barrels in their set-up of choice. We commend the folks at Bartlein Barrels for generously supporting the United States Benchrest Shooting Team.

World Benchrest Championship USA Team Members Selected
Listed below are the names of the team members who represent the United States at the 2011 World Benchrest Championship (WBC-11). The Championship will be held August 23-27, 2011 in Volmerange, Les Mines, France. USA Team members were selected through points accumulated at five qualifying matches in 2010.

Team 1 – Tony Boyer, Larry Costa, Gene Bukys, Chris Harris
Team 2 – Mike Ratigan, Jack Neary, Andy Shifflett, Wayne Campbell
Team 3 – Tim Oltersdorf, Dave Coots, Rabon Stewart Jr., Larry Baggett
Alternates: Bob Hammack, Don Nielson, Lou Murdica, Greg Reed | Honorary Captain: Walt Berger

World Benchrest Championship France

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