May 31st, 2011

Ruger Launches “Million Gun Challenge” to Benefit the NRA

Sell a million guns in a year — and then send a million bucks to the NRA. Sounds simple, eh? Well Ruger issued an interesting challenge last week. Officials of Sturm, Ruger & Co., pledged to donate $1,000,000 to the NRA if one million new Ruger firearms are sold between the 2011 and 2012 NRA Shows.

Is this a publicity stunt or could Ruger really hit the mark? According to Ruger, “no company has ever sold one million firearms in a 12-month period. With the help of our loyal customers, we hope to make history.” Can Ruger do it? On the positive side, gun sales continue to rise, and Ruger continues to roll out popular new carry pistols. On the negative side, the economy remains weak, and many of Ruger’s recent releases have been the subject of embarassing product recalls. We think Ruger is going to have to ramp up its Quality Control before it grabs much more market share from the likes of Glock, Sig Sauer, and Smith & Wesson.

“Our goal is to present the NRA with a check for one million dollars during the 141st NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis next April,” said Ruger CEO Mike Fifer. This substantial donation would reflect a record-breaking feat in the firearms industry. We wish Ruger well in its quest — it certainly won’t be easy to reach the goal. To follow the progress of the “Million Gun Challenge,” visit www.Ruger.com or Facebook.com/Ruger.

Permalink News 2 Comments »
May 30th, 2011

Gene Bukys Wins 2011 Super Shoot

Report by Forum member James Mock
Not only did Gene win the 2-gun at Chippewa SS Warm-up, and the “Heartbreak award for one bad group that cost him last year’s SS; BUT he has now won the BIG ONE. The 2011 Super Shoot champion is Gene Bukys. He persevered after shooting a 1 1/4 inch group at 200 yards. Congratulations to Gene! — James

Further Super Shoot Results will be provided as soon as available. Photo courtesy James Mock.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
May 29th, 2011

Violent Crime Falls as Gun Ownership Numbers Grow

While the two trends are not necessarily linked, it is interesting that serious crime continues to decline while firearms ownership expands with each passing year. Last week, the FBI released its Preliminary Annual Uniform Crime Report for 2010, showing a decrease of 5.5 percent in the number of violent crimes brought to its attention in 2010 compared to the previous year. Violent crime, which includes murder, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault, decreased in all four regions of the country and in both cities and non-metropolitan areas. For decades, violent crime in the United States has been dropping. Final figures for 2009 showed violent crime at its lowest level since 1984. At the same time, firearms ownership and use has been increasing, as right-to-carry legislation has been passed in 80% of U.S. States. There are now 40 Right-to-Carry States: 37 have “shall issue” laws, requiring that carry permits be issued to applicants who meet uniform standards established by the state legislature. Two have discretionary-issue carry permit systems. Vermont respects the right to carry without a permit. Alaska and Arizona have “shall issue” permit systems and have allowed concealed carrying without a permit since 2003 and July 2010, respectively. The largest surge in firearms sales occurred from late 2008 into 2010, and, according to an NSSF report, an estimated 34.4 million people went target shooting in 2009, the largest number ever.

shall issue carry states

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May 29th, 2011

Satern Custom and Liberty Barrels Halt Grendel Barrel Production

Starting June 1, 2011, Satern Custom Machining and Liberty Barrels will no longer produce 6.5 Grendel and .50 Beowolf barrels, as both barrel makers declined to agree to a new, more onerous licensing agreement with Alexander Arms. Satern had produced cut-rifled 6.5 Grendel and Beowolf barrels for the past five (5) years under license to Alexander, while Liberty crafted button-rifled Grendel and Beowolf barrels under license. It may be hard to replace Satern, a highly regarded cut-rifled barrel-maker, as other top-quality barrel makers may likewise reject Alexander Arms’ licensing demands.

Satern Machining Grendel Barrel

Alexander Arms’ Policies Have Impeded 6.5 Grendel Development
Radford, VA-based Alexander Arms continues to paint itself in a corner with respect to the 6.5 Grendel cartridge. Alexander Arms (AA) has aggressively protected the 6.5 Grendel cartridge design, threatening legal action against companies that planned to sell 6.5 Grendel AR uppers, chamber barrels for this cartridge, or even merely offer 6.5 Grendel reamers. One can understand Alexander’s desire to protect its design rights, but many industry experts believe Alexander Arms has gone overboard. Many gun builders and parts markers view the 6.5 Grendel cartridge as a “lawsuit in the making” so they stay away from it. As a result, this accurate and efficient cartridge is not growing in popularity as rapidly as it might otherwise. Alexander Arms has simply made it too difficult to comply with its demands, so many gun makers have decided that they would rather build anything other than a 6.5 Grendel.

Ironically, many shooters have chosen to build guns based on 6.5 Grendel parent brass, but necked down to 6mm. Robert Whitley pioneered a very effective 6mm-6.5 Grendel wildcat he calls the 6mmAR. It shoots great in AR platform rifles, as does a higher-capacity derivative, the 6mmAR “Turbo”. To learn more, visit 6mmAR.com.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 11 Comments »
May 29th, 2011

Check Out Remington Custom Shop Website

Remington Custom ShopAmong Remington rifles, Custom Shop products have long enjoyed a solid reputation, though the quality control has declined in recent years. Remington is looking to return its Custom division to the glory days. As part of that effort, Remington has produced a dedicated Custom Shop website: www.remingtoncustom.com. On the Remington Custom Shop website visitors can browse through series of highly-specialized rifles and shotguns: Hunter Series, Target/Tactical, Historical, Rimfire, 40-X™ Series and High Grade. Within each series, the user can click on a specific model for an overview, features, specifications and images of the selected firearm of interest. The Custom Shop Showcase features high-quality photos illustrating the hand craftsmanship that goes into premium Custom shop arms.

Remington Custom Shop

Remington Custom Shop

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 12 Comments »
May 28th, 2011

Koenig Captures 2011 Bianchi Cup Overall Championship

While a few specialty events will be held this afternoon prior to tonight’s Awards Ceremony, the 2011 Bianchi Cup category winners have been named. Congratulations to Doug Koenig, the 2011 Bianchi Cup Overall Champion. Jessie Abbate of Team Smith & Wesson won the Women’s Division, while Rob Leatham was the Production Champion. Other divisional Champions are listed below:

  • 2011 Bianchi Cup Champion: Doug Koenig
  • Production Champion: Rob Leatham
  • Womens’ Champion: Jessie Abbate
  • Metallic Champion: Rob Vadasz
  • Junior Champion: Tiffany Piper
  • Senior Champion: Chuck Thomey
  • Service Champion: Kevin Worrell, USMC
  • Lawman Champion: Bruce Piatt
  • Newcomer: Nigel Gordon

In the video below you can watch John Pride, four-time Bianchi Cup champion, shoot the Moving Target Event yesterday. Pride shot a 474-28x in the event and went on to finish with a 1822-133x overall in this year’s Bianchi Cup. (Warning: Loud volume — turn down your speakers in work setting.)

In the next video (below), Heribert Bettermann and teammate Dirk Borchardt of the German National Team compete in the Falling Plate event. Heribert finished with an excellent 480-66x. The Bianchi Cup draws many competitors from outside the United States. Teams from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Germany made the long journey to Columbia, Missouri to compete in this prestigious competition.

Permalink - Videos, Competition No Comments »
May 28th, 2011

6.5mm, 129gr Bonded Blem Bullets at Midsouth — $13.54 per 100

OEM Blem Bullet 6.5mmForum member Ron W. (aka FClassRon) let us know that Midsouth is offering some high-quality, polymer-tipped 6.5mm bullets at half the normal price. Ron told us: “Midsouth is running a great sale this weekend on 6.5mm bullets with polymer tips: $13.54 per 100! I ordered similar bullets in 7mm a few weeks ago and the only blem I saw was light staining on the jackets (as shown in Midsouth’s description).” The bullets, (item 285-26209B100), are listed as: “6.5MM .264 DIA 129GR BIG GAME BONDED 100 CT BLEM”. Current sale price is $13.54, marked down from $27.08 — That’s a full 50% off normal price.

If you shoot a 6.5×47 Lapua, a 6.5×55 Swede, Rem .260, or 6.5×284, this bullet should work well for you. Here’s a chance to get a versatile, high-BC bullet that can be used effectively for BOTH both hunting and paper-punching. These blem bullets have cosmetic defects only. If you don’t mind some staining on the bullet jackets you can save a bundle compaired to normal pricing.

CLICK HERE for 129gr 6.5mm Blem Bullets at $13.54 per hundred

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals 3 Comments »
May 27th, 2011

Speedy’s Guide to Benchrest Competition

Benchrest Hall of Famer Speedy Gonzalez has prepared a comprehensive Guide to Benchrest Competition. It covers all aspects of the game: gear selection (hardware), reloading methods and tools, plus shooting skills and strategies. All of this is available on the web for free, thanks to Speedy and the Swedish Benchrest Shooters Association (SBRSA).

CLICK HERE to read Speedy’s Guide to Benchrest Shooting.

Benchrest Speedy PPC

Speedy’s article is a gold-mine of info on shooting components and specialized reloading tools. It is also richly illustrated with high-quality photos showing gun components and reloading gear. Many of the photos show tools that have been sectioned so you can view the internal components.

Speedy also covers bullet design, and load tuning. There are thoughtful sections on Time Management and Target Management that will benefit all competitive shooters, no matter what their discipline.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
May 27th, 2011

Home-Built Bullets — A Success Story from Al Nyhus

Forum regular Al Nyhus has tried his hand at bullet making, producing custom 30-caliber projectiles for his 30 BR match rifles. With guidance from his “guru”, bullet-smith Randy Robinett of BIB Bullets, Al has produced some very impressive bullets. This demonstrates that with patience, determination, and the right tools and components, amazing results are possible, even for a novice bullet-maker.

Al writes: “Thought I’d post some updated info on my 30 Caliber bullet making adventure. It’s been a lot of fun and a real learning experience. I’d like to thank Randy Robinett for all his patient teaching and guidance. The bullets have been working well in competition, being used to win the Varmint for Score portion of the IBS Wisconsin State Two Gun Championship [in 2007].”

The Targets Don’t Lie — These Are Quality Bullets
Here are two photos from bullet testing. In the 100-yard, 15-round target, the wind velocity was purposely ignored and the group was fired only with the same flag angle, trying to determine how they worked in the wind. Winds were 12-18 mph from 4 o’clock.

Nyhus 30 BR bulletsNyhus 30 BR bullets

This 200-yard group was fired in near perfect test conditions — overcast, early in the morning, with no mirage. We usually have a small window of what I call ‘Happy Hour’ before the winds crank up.”

NOTE: Al’s 30 BR rifle was smithed by Stan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles.

Measuring Group Size
Note how Al measures his groups. Look at the top photo. You’ll see Al starts with the extreme outside edge of the hole, including the gray edge or ring. Then Al subtracts .290″, the TRUE size of one bullet-hole in the paper, as opposed to .308″, the nominal bullet diameter. If you simply subtract a full bullet diameter you will get a smaller number for your group size. That’s good for your ego, but Al’s method is more accurate because a bullet normally cuts a hole that is smaller than the actual bullet diameter.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
May 26th, 2011

Challenging Steel Safari Match in New Mexico, June 3-5

The kickoff of the 2011 Steel Safari is just a week away, and things are heating up! Temperatures at this long-range field match are always right around 100-degrees, but this year there will be more competitors than ever (38) and a better prize table than ever before. Match organizers expect strong competition this year, as there will be many seasoned Steel Safari “alumni” competing, including recent Steel Safari Top-5 finishers. The Steel Safari takes place this year on June 3rd, 4th, and 5th at the Blue Steel Ranch located near Logan, NM. Zak Smith is the match director. You can learn more about match details and courses of fire at www.SteelSafari.com.


A true field match with no “square-range” in sight, competitors may need to use improvised and non-standard shoot positions to make shots.

The match showcases practical rifle shooting in the field. Competitors locate small and medium-sized steel targets (often hidden), 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, the best you can do while on a reverse incline, over a rock face, shooting down a gully, or leaning out the side of a truck. To add to the challenge, these shooting stations are distributed over two different 3-mile courses in rugged desert terrain. Despite this simple general description, there are a host of individual skills that a competitor must master to place well at this match.

Besides being a test of rifle shooting skill, it also stresses rifle and gear setup and reliability, and individual concentration and mettle. After hiking around in the desert for six hours, it takes talent, determination, and good field skills to find six targets out in the terrain, range them accurately, and then quickly make the shot from sometimes very difficult shooting positions.


Rugged precision bolt rifles such as this Accuracy International are typical at the Steel Safari. The .260 Remington is one of the most common cartridges in the Winner’s Circle.

A variety of rifles, calibers, and scopes will be used at the match, but most competitors employ more or less similar gear. First, an accurate rifle is critical. Bench-rest accuracy is not required; one MOA is sufficient, but one-half-MOA is preferred. Almost everyone shoots their own hand-loads with premium bullets from Sierra, Berger, or Lapua. Ballistic data, or “dope,” completes the triad with the rifle and ammunition. Most shooters laminate a small card and tie it to their rifle or scope, or use a retractable “pathfinder” available from Allison Machine Tool or Leupold. Long-range ballistic data isn’t useful unless the target distances can be determined, and the best tool for that is a laser range-finder. Since many laser range-finders are monocular units with limited field of view, a good set of binoculars can be a life-saver when trying to find that hidden target.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
May 26th, 2011

Cheap 100gr FB 6mm Bullets at Widener’s

Speer discount 100gr 6mm BulletsIf you are looking for inexpensive, 6mm bullets for fire-forming chores (say if you have a Dasher, BRX, or .243 AI), Widener’s offers 100gr Speer Flatbase bullets at very low cost. Sold in 500-ct bulk packs, the Speer 100-grainers cost just $59.00 for five hundred bullets. That works out to just $11.80 per hundred, less than half the cost of most match bullets.

Varminters who load large quantities of ammo for prairie dog trips might also appreciate this value offering — although the bullets are a bit on the heavy side for prairie-dog size prey.

These soft-point bullets have a fairly long shank and a cannelure. CLICK HERE to order these bullets (item #SE75557) online via Wideners.com

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
May 25th, 2011

New AR-Comp Powder Starts Shipping This Week

AR-Comp Alliant PowderAlliant is introducing a new extruded powder, AR-Comp. AR-Comp is an advanced re-formulation of Reloder 15, a double-base Bofors powder. There are changes to internal and external chemistry to provide much better pressure/velocity stability across a wide range of temperatures. The main difference between AR-Comp and Reloder 15, is the AR-Comp has a slightly faster burn rate, and AR-Comp is much LESS Sensitive to temperature changes. AR-Comp is a small-kernel, double-base extruded powder like Reloder 15, so it will continue to meter just like Reloder 15. The load density should be the same as Reloder 15.

AR-Comp should be at Grafs.com in a Couple Weeks
Here’s the good news — Alliant will start shipping AR-Comp to Grafs.com later this week. Dick Quesenberry, Alliant Powder Product Manager, told us: “I just received the AR-Comp packaging labels and we hope to send off the first shipments to Grafs this week.” With transit time, expect the powder to be available from Grafs.com by the second week of June. You can go ahead and place advance orders for 1-lb and 8-lb containers of AR-Comp on the Grafs.com website.

AR-Comp Offers Uniform Velocities over a Wide Temp Range
Tests were done with .223 Rem and .308 Win ammo, loaded with AR-Comp and maintained at temps from -20° F to +160° F in a controlled test center. The ammo itself was heated or cooled to targeted temps before testing. Across that entire range of temperature, -20° F to +160° F, the ammo loaded with AR-Comp showed a variation of only 20 fps in muzzle velocity. The primary bullet type tested was a 77gr .224 bullet and the secondary was a 175gr .308 bullet.

Burn Rate Like Varget
Though this is a reformulation of Reloder 15, the burn rate of AR-Comp is slightly faster than Reloder 15. Alliant told us: “Reloder 15 is slightly slower, in burn rate, than Varget. The new AR-Comp, with the enhancements, ended up slightly faster than Reloder 15, so it is now very close to Varget in burn rate”. This is the result of the “tuning” of the powder to be much less temp-sensitive.

AR-Comp First in Series of New Alliant Temp-Stable Powders
AR-Comp will be the first in a series of “new generation” temp-stable powders from Alliant. Quesenberry noted: “Our goal was to provide a powder that offers stable pressures in all temperatures. Shooters want to be able to stay with the same load in winter and in summer, in cold or in hot conditions.” Quesenberry added: “We’ve been working on this quite a while. AR-Comp is the first example and we hope to extend this to other rifle powders. It’s a tough job. You have to balance the performance carefully. We worked very hard to do just that and we think shooters will be impressed with the results.”

Reloder 15 Will Stay in Production
Fans of Alliant’s Reloder 15 don’t need to worry. Alliant will keep Reloder 15 in production. “We don’t drop powder lines”, said Quesenberry.

Permalink New Product, Reloading 5 Comments »
May 25th, 2011

Weaver Extends $50.00 Rebate on Super Slam Scopes

Now through the end of the year, purchasers of Weaver Super Slam® scopes can get a $50.00 rebate. Purchases must be made by Dec 31, 2011. Weaver will give $50 cash-back on Super Slam scopes purchased between April 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011. Completed rebate coupons must be received by January 30, 2012. Coupon with box UPCs and original cash register receipts must be submitted together. Limit one rebate request per name, address and household.

CLICK HERE for printable rebate coupon (PDF File)

Super Slam Weaver Rebate

If you haven’t tried them, the Super Slam Scopes are pretty good for the money. We’ve used them on some varmint rigs and they worked fine. The tracking was consistent, the reticles were straight, and the optics were pretty bright. five reticle options are available. The higher magnification Super Slams (3-15×50 and 4-20×50) feature side-focus parallax adjustments. CLICK HERE to check out the Super Slam lineup at www.weaveroptics.com.

Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
May 24th, 2011

Protect Your Barrels with New Polymer Jags and Brush Guides

German Salazar has found some innovative and smartly-engineered new cleaning accessories that can benefit any shooter who wants to maintain the accuracy of his precious (and expensive) barrels. Here’s German’s report on the new Bore Rider Jags and Bore Rider Brush Guides.

Good Stuff: Bore Rider Barrel Care Products by German Salazar
We see new bore cleaning solvents introduced with some regularity, but cleaning hardware evolves more slowly. I’ve been using some new jags from Don Leidich’s Bore Rider Barrel Care Products for a few months and am satisfied that they are a genuine improvement over anything else I’ve used. Don began making these items for the black powder cartridge shooters as their cleaning needs are serious and frequent. He has now expanded the line to include popular bore sizes for modern centerfire barrels.

Bore Rider Jags Brush Guides

Modern Jags and Brush Guides Made from Acetron Polymer
Don’s Bore Rider enterprise makes jags as well as companion Brush Guides for use with bore brushes. These are all made from Acetron® GP, an acetal polymer material similar to Delrin, but with greater lubricity. Bore Rider Jags and Brush Guides minimize any damage that might occur to the crown when the jag or brush exits the bore. With conventional jags and brushes, when brushing or patching your barrel, the cleaning rod shaft falls to the bottom of the bore as the patch or brush exits. Over time, that can result in excessive wear at the lower edge of the bore (6 O’Clock position) in the last few millimeters on the muzzle end. In extreme cases you can even wear a slight groove in the lip of the crown (i.e. the very end of the rifling at the muzzle). Another advantage of Bore Rider Jags over conventional brass jags is that you don’t get “false positive” green/blue patch colorations from solvent reactions with the metal jag itself (as opposed to actual copper fouling in the barrel).

Bore Rider Jags Brush GuidesThe Bore Rider Jag has an extra-long shank so that when the patch exits, the Acetron (polymer) shank is the only thing that makes contact with the crown. This way you don’t have a metal rod tip riding over the delicate crown. The Bore Rider Jag shank diameter is also a close fit to the bore to avoid uneven wear. The Brush Guide is an Acetron extension that fits between your brush and the end of the cleaning rod. This extension protects the crown when you brush, allowing you to push the brush completely out of the barrel without dragging metal connections over the edge of the crown. [Editor’s Tip: While the polymer material used in the Bore Rider Jag and Brush Guide is “kinder” to crowns, be sure keep the Acetron shanks clean from small particles and debris. These particles can embed themselves in the polymer. Wipe off the Jags and Brush Guides regularly.]

If protecting your barrel’s crown was all that these items did, that would be enough to merit their use. However, what’s more interesting about the jags is that they are made for a very tight fit in the bore and as a result, they truly get the patch working to scavenge the grooves of all the residue possible. The fit is so tight that Don was concerned that not all patches might work properly, as some extra thick ones might not enter the bore at all on this jag. I’ve used the jags with patches from Sinclair, Bruno’s Pro-Shot and a couple of no-name bags and all have worked flawlessly. Also, the jags are designed so that the segments that hold the patch material can never come in contact with the crown while pulling it back into the barrel. My borescope examination of the barrels shows that the job is getting done right.

Bore Rider Jags Brush Guides

Source for Bore Rider Jags and Brush Guides
The .223, .243, .264 and .308-caliber jags sell for $15.00 and the Brush Guides sell for $13.00. Other caliber jags start at $22.00 for jags and $18.00 for Brush Guides. These are threaded and chamfered to fit appropriate Dewey rods. The opposite ends on the brush guides have 8-32 female threads. Customers can buy adapters (from other vendors) to fit other brands of cleaning rods. Don can also customize Jags to fit a customer’s rod specifications if you don’t want to deal with an adapter. Don’s custom made Jags and Brush Guides cost $25 and $18 respectively.

Bore Rider Barrel Care Products
Don Leidich
18855 Nelson Rd.
St. Charles, MI 48655
989-642-5036 evenings
brbcp@yahoo.com

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 5 Comments »
May 24th, 2011

International Revolver Championship June 2-5 in California

International ICORE Revolver ChampionshipMany of the world’s best wheelgunners will be in California the first week in June. The 20th Annual Smith & Wesson Int’l Revolver Championship (IRC) takes place June 2-5 at the Hogue Action Pistol Range in San Luis Obispo, CA. This is the 12th consecutive season that San Luis Obispo Sportsmen’s Assn. hosts the IRC, the highlight of the ICORE revolver shooting season. Nearly 200 ace revolver shooters, from the USA as well as 6 foreign countries, are expected to compete. According to Ron Joslin, IRC match director: “This is the highlight of our competition season. It’s where everybody in ICORE comes together to determine who is the best. This is our Superbowl, and it’s been that way for [two decades] now.”

The man to beat in Open Class will be legendary pistolero Jerry Miculek of Team Smith & Wesson. Jerry has won every IRC in which he has competed. When it comes to wheelguns, Miculek is the fastest man on the planet. Also competing will be past Ladies Open Division winner Julie Golob, and past Limited Division Champion John Bagakis.

Along with the adult classifications, the IRC features divisions for Junior shooters. The junior events are always crowd-pleasers. Some of these youngsters are definitely future champions in the making. The video below shows the 2009 IRC Junior Shoot-Off for the overall Junior Title.

YouTube Preview Image
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May 23rd, 2011

.223 Remington Shooter Equals GB 1000-Yard F-TR Record

At a recent Great Britain F-Class Association Match at the Blair Atholl Glen Tilt range, AccurateShooter Forum member Laurie Holland shot a 96-9V for twenty shots, tying the British F-TR single match record. Laurie accomplished that feat with a Savage-actioned .223 Remington. Laurie proved that the little .223 Rem can be competitive, even at 1000 yards. The Blair Atholl range, 1,000′ ASL in the southern Scottish Highlands, has been described by a top international rifle coach as ‘the world’s second most difficult range for wind’ (behind Trentham in New Zealand). Many British F-Class shooters were therefore surprised when Laurie Holland took his Savage-based .223 Rem F/TR rifle to the range earlier this month to compete in the season’s second GB F-Class Association league round. The event consisted of five, 1000-yard matches over a weekend (three 15-round stages on the Saturday, and two 20-round matches on Sunday). Forty-eight registered GB FCA shooters turned up, split 50/50 between F-Open and F-TR categories.

Though heavy rains were expected, Saturday was dry. However, the predominately 5 o’clock wind grew progressively stronger throughout the day, swinging through 20 or 30° with irregular gusts and lulls. With the range situated on a steep and uneven valley-side, wind changes affect elevation markedly in addition to the usual lateral movements. A gust can send the bullet high and left, while a lull moves POI low and right.

After Matches 1 and 2 Laurie was at the bottom end of the top 10 shooters in the class, but he surged to the lead in the day’s final match that saw the most difficult wind conditions. Laurie’s 66-2V score topped second place Adam Bagnall (reigning GB F-TR league champion) by seven points, and was also better than many F-Open scores. Laurie and his .223 were now tied (on points) with F-TR world champion Russell Simmonds for the overnight lead. Both had 183 points but Laurie was leading by five V-Bulls to one. As chance would have it, Russell and Laurie had been squadded to shoot together on the second detail of Sunday morning’s 20-round Match 4. NOTE: Brits employ a different system for F-Class targets. Target Rings have a 1 through 5 value, with a “V” (rather than “X”) for a dead-center hit. The maximum score possible on a twenty-round match would be 100-20V.


Laurie used the Savage successfully in the 2010 F Class European Championship meeting seen here shooting for GB in the second placed GB F/TR ‘Blue’ Team.

What followed was a classic two-man duel. Laurie explains: “While the F-Open boys on the first detail were still shooting, we had a short but violent rainstorm that really spoiled their day, this finishing just as they took their last shots. As the rain cleared, the wind apparently died too, the flags hanging limp, so we didn’t delay getting set up to take maximum advantage of the conditions. Russell and I both found the Bull / V-Bull on shot 1. Russell drilled five consecutive Vs, while I had two Bulls and three Vs. I began to think I might just hold Russell on points, but he’d hammer me on V-count. We started to find something was moving the bullets about, but there was no way of reading this on the sodden flags or even by the sway of the tops of some tall silver birch trees near the firing point, these usually proving very sensitive. It was a case of watching the plot develop, use intuition, and watch where Russell’s shot went before I took mine. (Remember, we have two competitors to each target taking shots alternately — no string shooting in the UK.)


Kongsberg electronic scoring monitor. This system gives near instant shot marking and lets spectators watch competitors’ performance in real time.

Crowd Watches Two-Man Duel — Laurie Ties Record in Match 4
With the Kongsberg electronic scoring machines, a flashing circle on the target shows the most recent shot, with its numerical Ring Value on the right side of the screen. All of our Fours came up as 4.9s, just leaking out! I was very reluctant to touch the scope knobs knowing just how easily a quarter-MOA ‘click’ can overdo the correction in these conditions and increasingly aimed low and left as the match progressed. As we reached the end we guessed our scores must be close, and amazingly I was getting more Vs now than Russell and his .308. However, neither of us knew we were tied on shot 19, both having dropped four points, and scored eight Vs, so the last shot would be crucial. Russell told me afterwards he sensed the wind had maybe picked up marginally, briefly considered aiming off a little further left, but decided to stick with his previous aim that had given him a ‘V’ – crack, 4.9 at 3 o’clock! My shot 19 had been a Four in exactly the same spot and I eased the Sightron’s reticle dot over to the bottom left corner of the Bull ring – crack, V.0 at six o’ clock for 96.9v total. Just to our right, Adam Bagnall had also shot 96, but with eight Vs, so I won the match and equaled John Cross’s GB F/TR record 20-round 1,000-yard score shot last summer. This increased my overall lead to 1 point. As the shooting concluded, we heard a rising murmur behind and turned to discover we had a substantial audience, mostly of ‘Open’ competitors, who’d been following our progress — electronic scoring not only gives an instant result, but makes shooting a spectator sport!

I’d like to say the fairy tale had a happy ending, but I blew my lead in the final four shots of the final match and ended up fourth in F-TR class, Russell taking the top spot. So, the .223 Rem will have to wait a little longer to get its first GB F-TR league round win.”

Despite faltering in the last match, Laurie still earned two stage medals and posted the highest F-TR V-count (15) in what had been a low scoring weekend. Laurie’s impressive performance with a .223 Rem now has many people reconsidering the Mouse Gun cartridge’s utility in British long-range F-TR competition.

Permalink Competition, News 15 Comments »
May 23rd, 2011

6mm BRX Redding Dies Have Arrived — Order from Whitley

On May 4th we noted that Robert Whitley has commissioned a special run of 6mm BRX dies. We’ve just learned that the dies have arrived — and, according to Whitley, they work great.

Robert offers a Redding Type ‘S’ full-length sizing die that will size the whole case, with bushing control over the neck. Redding 6mm BRX micrometer-top Comp Seaters will also be available. The Type ‘S’ FL Sizer costs $89.95, while a package with Comp Seater costs $199.95. This is a very limited run of 6BRX dies, and Redding is not currently selling them through other sources. If you want a Redding 6BRX Type ‘S’ FL sizer or Comp Seater die, order soon:

AR-X Enterprises, LLC (Attn: Robert Whitley)
Phone: (215) 348-8789
Email: rcw3 [at] erols.com

Permalink New Product, Reloading 3 Comments »
May 21st, 2011

Reduced-Distance F-Class Targets for Practice at 300 Yards

One of our Forum members is new to the F-Class game, and he wanted some “reduced-distance” targets he could use at 300 yards for practice. There is an official reduced-distanced standard for 300-yard F-Class matches. This utilizes the NRA No. MR-63FC – F-Class Target Center which is pasted over the MR-63 target. It provides a 1.42″ X-Ring, 2.85″ 10-Ring, and 5.85″ Nine-Ring. (The dimensions of F-Class targets are found in the NRA High Power Rules, Sec. 22, part 4.)

CLICK HERE to Download F-Class 300-yard Target Centers (.Zip archive with three targets)

To duplicate the 300-yard target, Forum member SleepyGator has prepared a printable version of the MR-63FC Target Center, along with a pair of training targets with two bulls and five bulls. The two-bull and five-bull targets mirror the scoring rings on the MR-63FC, but they display only the innermost three rings and two rings respectively. All three targets are Adobe Acrobat files that can be easily printed. You may need to adjust the scale (sizing) on your printer to get the dimensions exactly correct. As noted above, when printed, the 10-Ring on all three targets should measure 2.85″. This should provide some handy practice targets you can use between matches. Thanks to SleepyGator for providing these targets. You can download all three as a .Zip archive. After downloading the .Zip file, just click on the .Zip archive to extract the individual targets.

F-Class Reduced Target Centers

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
May 20th, 2011

Modern Rifle Suppressors — What You Need to Know

In our recent story on the 2010 Steel Safari in New Mexico we included photos of tactical rifles fitted with suppressors (sound moderators). Whenever we show photos of suppressor-equipped rifles, some readers ask: “Why did you show silencers in that article — aren’t they illegal?”


J. Holdsworth ranges a target at the 2010 Steel Safari. Holdsworth finished 3rd overall in the main match.

In fact, sound moderators, also known as “suppressors”, “silencers”, or “cans”, are legal to own in most of the fifty U.S. States. You have to pay a special tax, fill out some official paperwork, and submit fingerprints. And the suppressor must be transferred through a Class III SOT Federal Firearms License-holder (FFL). In this article, tactical shooter Zak Smith explains the basic regulations concerning suppressors. Zak, whose company Thunder Beast Arms Corp., makes a line of advanced sound moderators, also explains the many benefits of modern suppressors.

What You Need to Know about Suppressors
by Zak Smith
Despite common perceptions, silencers are not illegal in the United States. That is, unless you live in CA, DE, HI, MA, MI, MN, MO*, NJ, NY, RI, or VT. If you live in one of those states you’re out of luck. Sorry! Try to elect better politicians.

For the rest of us in the Free United States, sound suppressors — also called silencers — can be owned legally by private citizens provided a little extra paperwork is filled out and approved by the ATF. Silencers (and other NFA items) are transferred to individuals on an ATF Form 4, which requires a $200 stamp tax, a chief law enforcement sign-off, and a set of fingerprints to be submitted to the ATF. In some cases a “corporate” transfer can be done that bypasses the requirements for fingerprints and the local chief law-enforcement sign-off. It usually takes between 3 and 6 months for a Form 4 to be approved by the ATF. At that point you can take possession of your shiny new suppressor. The suppressor itself is the NFA item; you can place it on any firearm (that is otherwise legal to own in your jurisdiction).

Silencers, along with other National Firearms Act (NFA) items, must be transferred only by Class 3 SOT (Special Occupation Tax) license holders, which is an additional license on top of a regular FFL. To buy a suppressor, you can choose one your local Class 3 dealer has in stock, or you can have him order it for you from the manufacturer. A manufacturer-to-dealer transfer is done on an ATF Form 3, and typically takes 10 days to 3 weeks.

“But I don’t plan to be a sniper so why would I want a silencer anyway?” If you hear a shooter say that, you can bet your beer money that they haven’t shot a modern suppressor. Modern suppressors allow the use of full-power ammunition, do not reduce the muzzle velocity, do not contact the bullet during flight, and often aid accuracy. On high-power rifles, a suppressor acts like a muzzle brake and reduces recoil, and of course, the “ka-BOOM” report of the shot is reduced 25-30 dB, yielding a sound not unlike high-pressure gas escaping from an air hose being disconnected.

I have been shooting high-power, bolt-action rifles at long range in competition since 2004. The same year, I had the opportunity to try a modern suppressor on a long-range rifle and there was no going back. Since 2005, my long-range shooting is done almost exclusively suppressed — the only exceptions being F-class (which prohibits their use) and for comparative testing with brakes or bare muzzles.

If you take an accurate bolt-action rifle in .260 Remington or .308 Winchester and fit a suppressor, the recoil will be noticeably reduced and the report will be more similar to a .22 WMR. Most premium .30 caliber suppressors will reduce the report by 25-30 dB — a very substantial sound attenuation. While I do recommend wearing ear protection when using suppressors because hearing damage is subtle but cumulative, the entire experience is more pleasant with a suppressed rifle.

Modern Suppressors Are Superior to Older Designs — And May IMPROVE Your Accuracy
Historically, suppressors had rubber baffles that slowed down the bullets and ruined accuracy. Modern suppressors don’t have any of these drawbacks. While you’ll find competing viewpoints as to whether a suppressor-equipped rifle is more inherently accurate than a rifle with a bare muzzle (or muzzle brake), in practice many shooters shoot better with a suppressed rifle due to psychological and physiological factors — call it “shootability”. With less noise, less barrel hop, and less felt recoil — thanks to the suppressor — many shooters can achieve greater accuracy, shot after shot.

In the last few years, the use of suppressors by competitors has gone from an oddity to being commonplace. At recent matches such as the 2010 Steel Safari, as many as half of the top ten competitors used suppressors.

Suppressors from Thunder Beast Arms Corp.
Several years ago two fellow long-range shooters and I had the opportunity to start a suppressor manufacturing company. We all shared a passion for long-range shooting, had a history of competition, and were convinced that shooting suppressed was the way to go. Thunder Beast Arms Corp., based in Cheyenne, Wyoming, was formed to produce the best suppressors for practical long-range rifle shooting. Our “cans”, as they are sometimes called informally, are designed for accuracy, durability, and light weight, while maintaining best-in-class sound suppression levels. Many of our suppressors are made from Titanium for ultra-light weight and superior corrosion resistance.

Although I am proud of our products, there are many good brands of suppressors on the market right now. A suppressor buyer can dial in the performance, application, and amount he wants to pay very precisely — there will almost certainly be a suppressor on the market that meets his requirements. If you have a chance, see if you can get a suppressor demo lined up — I guarantee you’ll be impressed.

*In Missouri, suppressors may be legally acquired, but only by the military, by law enforcement personnel (acting officially), and by certain Federal Firearms License Holders (including C&R). See: http://www.moga.mo.gov/statutes/C500-599/5710000020.HTM .

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review 16 Comments »
May 19th, 2011

German Technology in Giant High-Tech Shooting Facility

Ulm Germany Shooting RangeAt most American shooting facilities, you’re lucky to have running water and an electrical hook-up. Those Germans, with their penchant for advanced engineering, have created an amazingly high-tech (and even luxurious) indoor shooting facility that is truly state-of-the art. The NRA is proud of its modern indoor range in Fairfax, Virginia, but the NRA range can’t hold a candle to the advanced Müller Schiess Zentrum facility in Ulm, Germany. This vast complex features an indoor benchrest range with video monitors, a full-sized trap/skeet hall, pistol ranges, and a “running game” hunting simulator that actually displays (in 3D view) the placement of your bullet strike in the moving animal prey. On top of this, the Müller Schiess Zentrum Ulm (MSZU) has a cafe, a restaurant, and a large shopping/retail facility.

Ulm Germany Shooting Range

We still prefer shooting outdoors, but for a country like Germany, where long, cold winters limit the opportunities for outdoor shooting, a deluxe indoor facility like this makes sense. German reader JPeelen adds: “The problem in Germany is not [just] the weather but density of population. Noise problems led to the closure of many outdoor ranges. Ulm is unique because it offers a 300 meter indoor range, not just 100 meters[.]” Overall, you have to hand it to the Germans for “raising the bar” to a whole new level. View the Müller Schiess Zentrum’s amazing facilities in the video below. The editor of The Firearm Blog wrote: “I have seen the future… and it is in Germany. If you don’t do anything else today, just make sure you watch this video.”

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Permalink - Videos, Competition, News 6 Comments »