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September 19th, 2011

SAKO Introduces TRG M10 — New Modular Tactical Rifle

Last week, at the DSEi trade show in London, UK, Sako unveiled an all-new tactical rifle, designed from the ground up as a modular system, which can be user-configured in the field to shoot multiple calibers. By changing bolts and barrels, Sako’s new TRG M10 can be switched from a 7.62×51 NATO round to the .300 Win Mag, or the even larger .338 Lapua Magnum. With the capability of the TRG M10 to shoot both standard and magnum cartridges, Sako now has a product that can compete with other multi-caliber sniper rifles such as the Barrett MRAD, released last year. CLICK HERE for TRG M10 Spec Sheet.

Sako TRG m10

Sako TRG m10Sako Breaks TRG Mold with New M10
The TRG M10 represents quite a departure from Sako’s current TRG models which use a composite shell over a metal chassis which holds the barreled action. There is no outer shell or “skin” on the TRG M10. The action bolts into a rigid, exposed metal chassis to which a rail-equipped metal forearm/handguard is attached. Bipods can mount directly to a bottom Picatinny-style rail or to a metal block clamped to the rail on the underside of the forearm (See Photos).

TRG M10 Previewed in London
CLICK HERE to view more photos of the new TRG M10. These images, taken at DSEi in London, show the rifle both fully assembled as well as pulled apart into its major sections: action/barrel, folding stock, forearm, bolt assemblies, magazines. As the TRG M10 is designed to shoot multiple calibers, it employs two different bolt assemblies to fit both standard and magnum cases (of course this requires a barrel interchange as well).

For Military and Law Enforcement Only — for Now
Currently, the TRG M10 is marketed for “military and law enforcement only.” It will be interesting to see if Sako eventually decides to sell the TRG M10 to American civilian shooters. If Sako changes its mind about the civilian market, we would not be surprised if an announcement to that effect would be made at SHOT Show 2012 (to be held Las Vegas, NV, January 17-20, 2012). The TRG M10 system will next be displayed at the Milipol trade show in Paris, France on October 18-21, 2011.

Sako TRG m10

There is an extensive discussion of the new Sako TRG M10 on the Snipers’ Hide Forum. Overall, the initial reaction of ‘Hide members has been positive. Quite a few of those who commented on the rifle stated they would purchase a TRG M10 if it was offered to civilians. Hopefully Beretta, Sako’s parent company, will recognize that popular demand for the TRG M10 would be sufficient to justify its release to the civilian market. Only time will tell….

Sako TRG m10

Permalink New Product, News 1 Comment »
September 18th, 2011

2011 Spirit of America Results from Raton, NM

September 11-17, the Bald Eagles Rifle Club hosted the 2011 Spirit Of America rifle match, at the NRA Whittington Center in Raton, NM. This match serves as U.S. National Fullbore Championships, but there are also F-Class divisions. The match consists of conventional sling (TR) class, as well as F-Open and F-TR, and the event is shot at distances of 300, 500, 600, 800, 900 and 1000 yards. Approximately 80 shooters, including about 20 F-classer attended the event.

Bryan Litz won the Fullbore TR (sling) competition with a 1782-105X overall score, with runner-up Andrew Wilde (1780-101X), just two points behind. Sean Morris finished third with 1776-85X, and Jim O’Connell shot 1772-81X to claim the High Senior title.

F-Class SOA Bryan Litz Fullbore
Photo by Randy Pike

In F-Open Class, familiar names topped the leaderboard. Larry Bartholome earned his chair ride as F-Open winner, shooting an impressive 1776-98X. Second in F-Open, five points back at 1771-96X, was past F-Class National Champion Danny Biggs. In the F-TR division, Michael Smith topped the field with a 1738-69X, followed by John Killen, who shot a 1720-52X. NOTE: F-Open and F-TR competitors shoot a target with smaller-diameter scoring rings than the Fullbore Target.

F-Class SOA larry Bartholome michael smith

Conditions Were Mild… Then Wild
Bryan Litz tells us the conditions weren’t so bad … until the final day: “We dodged some rain throughout the week, but wind conditions were easy to moderate for the most part. That is until the last 1000-yard string of the last day when Raton finally showed its evil side! The most wind I had used all week was just over 3 MOA. That last relay on Saturday, it was running between 7 and 12 MOA with very quick changes. There were many misses, and just keeping all shots in the black was an accomplishment.” Rick Hunt concurred that the conditions were arduous on the final 1K stage: “At 1000 yards, there was a 9:00 o’clock wind running between 9 1/2 and 13 1/2 MOA. As seen by the scores, two shooters really nailed it. Other than that, it was pretty disastrous for most shooters with the really fast velocity changes.”

Raton New Mexico

When the smoke had cleared, the standings were all jumbled up compared to what they were the rest of the week. Litz added: “An experience like that really drives home the importance of wind shooting skills. To be honest, I had no particular strategy going in other than to stay calm and positive no matter what. A big part of shooting in adverse conditions is managing yourself mentally. I dropped 10 points that last relay, more than I’d lost in the entire tournament up to that point. But given the conditions, I felt good about it, knowing I’d done my best.”

Berger 155gr Hybrids Work Well in Fullbore Competition
Bryan Litz credits his 155gr Berger .308-cal Hybrids for his strong performance: “I was shooting the new Berger 155 grain Hybrid bullets which played a part in saving some points in that nasty wind (on the last day). Due to their length, these bullets require a 1:12″ twist to stabilize and have a higher BC than any other .30 caliber 155 grain bullet. The hybrid ogive makes them length tolerant (insensitive to seating depth) and as the results of this tournament show, they are very effective”.

Complete Final Scores On SOA Blog
You’ll find complete interim and final SOA Match Scores linked from the Bald Eagles Match Blog.

Saturday and Final TR (Fullbore Sling) Class (PDF).

Saturday and Final F-Open and F-TR Class Results (PDF).

At the match the USA Young Eagles unveiled the new uniforms the American team will wear at the World Fullbore Championships in Australia next month. On opposite sleeves, the uniforms feature logos from both major bullet sponsors — Berger and Sierra. Bryan Litz observerd: “Historically teams have been sponsored by ‘one or the other’, but there’s no reason a team can’t enjoy sponsorship by multiple brands, and this is a very positive step in that direction.”

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
September 18th, 2011

NBRSA Approves Quick-Loading Tray for Benchrest Competition

Get ready for a major new technology that could change the benchrest game. Carlos (Carlito) Gonzales, a benchrest shooter (and Professor of Engineering) from Argentina, has perfected a horizontal, external “floating” cartridge loader that can reliably feed PPC cartridges as fast as you can work the bolt.

We have received a report that Gonzales’s fast-feeding device has been approved by the NBRSA for use in benchrest matches. Pascal Fischbach told us: “I had an email September 17th from Gene Bukys, [stating] that the board of directors of the NBRSA approved the use of the ‘[Gonzales] manual cartridge feeder’ for use in NBRSA competitions.” [Editor’s note: We don’t yet know if the device is approved for all NBRSA benchrest matches, or just short-range matches.] Pascal added: “The device was presented at the delegates meeting of the WBC11 in France and approved for use during the World Championships. The next step for Carlito will be to market it. He is also willing to license the concept, plans, and methods to a machinist capable of manufacturing it in the USA.” See Discussion Thread.

External Horizontal Cartridge-Feeder
The Gonzales loading device is an open-ended, covered metal tray situated on the left side of the action (but it does not touch the gun — it is supported by an arm attached to the front rest). This feeds into the left-side loading port. The cases are gravity-fed, but the shooter has positive control over feeding. A cable with a push-button control runs from the magazine down to the rear foot of the pedestal rest. You just push the button to drop one cartridge from the magazine. We don’t know exactly how the cartridge is released in the magazine itself, but in the video below you can see how the push-button works.

You push the button as soon as a spent cartridge ejects (watch Carlito’s left hand in the video above). It is a clever set-up that works very, very fast. The video shows Carlos running five cartridges through his action in just 9 seconds (time marker 00:31 – 00:40). That’s fast! On a repeat viewing focus on Carlito’s left hand to see how he works the push-button cartridge dispensing control.

Credit to Pascale Fischbach for sourcing this story and video link.
Permalink New Product, News 1 Comment »
September 17th, 2011

Cabela’s Gives $25.00 Gift Card to New/Renewing NRA Members

Here’s a great way to be rewarded for joining the NRA, or renewing your existing NRA membership. If you go to a Cabela’s store during Cabela’s 50th Anniversary event this weekend, September 17 & 18, 2011, you can get your annual NRA membership for just $25.00 — that’s $10.00 off the regular fee.

Cabelas 50th Anniversary sale

But it gets even better. Cabela’s has sweetened the pot by giving a $25.00 gift card to everyone who joins or renews their NRA membership this weekend. This Cabela’s gift card can be used to purchase in-store merchandise, and other items sold online through Cabelas.com. You can’t go wrong with this promotion. Spend $25 on an NRA membership, and get every penny back in Cabela’s merchandise credit. Nice.

Already an NRA Life Member? You can take part in the celebration as well. The first 50 NRA Life Members to walk through the doors of each Cabela’s store will receive a free Cabela’s 50th Anniversary pistol case with the NRA logo on the handle.

Permalink Hot Deals, News 1 Comment »
September 17th, 2011

Wheeled Robotic “Smart Targets” for Live-Fire Training

The gyro-stabilized two-wheeled Segway was supposed to revolutionize personal transportation. That may never happen (mall cops excepted), but remote-controlled Segways just might revolutionize the way military and police personnel train for urban engagements.

Marathon Smart Targets

Robotic Segway “Smart Targets” for Live-Fire Training
An Australian company, Marathon Robotics, has created wheeled robot targets — remote-controlled Segways fitted with target silhouettes. The Segway Robots can move and respond like humans, ducking into doorways, or dispersing at the sound of gunfire. This provides challenging, ultra-realistic training for military and police sharp-shooters. This is not just science fiction. Australian Special Forces units already train in a mock urban center populated with Marathon’s rolling robots. And the U.S. Marine Corps has hired Marathon to create a similar robot-equipped, live-fire training venue.

Marathon Smart TargetsMarathon combined computer gaming technology with armored, remote-controlled Segways to create the ultimate 21st century moving target. The lower halves of the Segways are armor-plated, so the expensive electronic innards don’t get damaged by an errant shot. On top is mounted a replica human torso. The torso section can be clothed to distinguish “civilians” from military targets, or to distinguish terrorists from hostages.

Marathon’s sophisticated software can control multiple Segway Robots at the same time. A group of Segways can be programmed to mimic a squad on patrol, or a group of terrorists holding hostages. The control software allows autonomous or “intelligent” behavior by the Segway Robots. For example, the Segways can disperse automatically at the sound of a gunshot, and the Segways can be trained to seek cover in hallways or behind objects. Importantly, the Segway Robots are capable of human-like movement — they can stop quickly, turn 360° and retreat slowly, or accelerate to a human running pace. Marathon’s Segway Robots are equipped with laser range finders so they can avoid running into obstacles, including people on the move. The “Segbots” lean forward slightly as they walk forward, like people do.

To really understand how the Robotic Smart Targets work, watch this amazing video:

YouTube Preview Image

RESOURCES: Marathon Targets Webpage | Smart Targets Product Info (PDF) | Photo Gallery

Marathon Smart Targets

Permalink - Videos, New Product, Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
September 17th, 2011

Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC RangeFinder Binoculars

Bushnell 1600 ARCBushnell recently released its new Fusion 1600 ARC range-finding binoculars. With a “low street price” under $799.00, Bushnell’s 1600 ARC binoculars are less than one third the price of Leica Geovids (10×42, $2399.00) or Zeiss Victory RF Binoculars (10×45, $2,799.00).

That huge price advantage makes the Fusion very tempting — but can Bushnell’s 1600 ARC binos perform as advertised?

Forum Member Reviews Fusion 1600 ARC
Forum Member Stan (aka BigBamBoom) acquired the Fusion 1600 ARC RF binoculars and has posted a video review. Stan was favorably impressed with the quality of the glass and the exterior ruggedness of the unit. He was able to range very large objects (water-tower, trees) beyond 1200 yards. He also praised the speed of the unit, saying it ranged faster than his Leica CRF 1200. Consider however, that the very small CRF1200 is harder to aim precisely, simply because it is so small and light and held in a vertical orientation. Most people can aim the larger, heavier LRFs with more steadiness using a normal two-handed horizontal grip. In the real world, if you can hold the LRF more steady, you can get a true range on a small object more quickly.

YouTube Preview Image

Don’t Expect to Range a WhiteTail at 1600 yards
We also caution that, in our Laser rangefinder comparison tests, we learned that there is BIG difference between ranging a water tower, and ranging a deer-sized animal. We found that some units that could range a water tower at 1300+ yards could NOT reliably range an actual deer (stuffed by taxidermist) at 700 yards. Note that Bushnell lists three different effective ranging distances for the Fusion 1600, and Bushnell claims only 500-yard effectiveness on deer-sized objects. This is fairly consistent with our LRF comparison tests:

Bushnell Fusion 1600 ARC Ranging Ability (Factory Specs)

  • Reflective Ranging Performance: 1600 yards
  • Tree Ranging Performance: 1000 yards
  • Deer Ranging Performance: 500 yards

It can be fun to range buildings at a mile, but for the hunter, that may not have much practical utility. You want to be able to range deer-sized game at all practical distances. For the tactical shooter, you need a narrowly focused beam (with minimal beam divergence) that can range a gong or metallic silhouette reliably at 1000 yards. If an LRF can’t do that, it may not be all that useful, even if it the sales price is attractive.
Bushnell 1600 ARC
Fusion 1600 ARC Features
The 10×42 roof prism binoculars feature built-in battery life indicator, twist-up eye pieces, and multi-coated optics with RainGuard. The Fusion 1600 is fully waterproof and submersible, meeting IPX7 “waterproof” specification. As Stan observed, the Fusion 1600 has good glass, and the red readouts are easy to see. Bushnell employs Vivid Display Technology™ (with four display brightness settings) to enhance display readability in all lighting conditions.

The built-in laser rangefinder features ARC (Angle Range Compensating) technology, which calculates the angle to the target (-90 to +90 degrees). ARC also and gives the hold-over range for the rifle shooter, and true horizontal distance for bow hunters. We like the fact that you can choose between Inches and MOA for holdover. There is a brush mode for measuring distances in heavy cover and a bullseye mode for ranging in open areas. The brush mode can filter out false returns from closer objects. This IS a useful feature that actually does work.

The Fusion 1600 ARC laser rangefinder binoculars come with battery, neck-strap, and carrying case. MSRP is $899.00. It pays to shop around as we’ve seen advertised prices from $789.00 to $899.00. For more info, visit www.bushnell.com or call 800-423-3537 for consumer inquiries.

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, New Product 1 Comment »
September 16th, 2011

Gone in Six Seconds — The Shocking Truth of Barrel Life

Here’s a little known fact that may startle most readers, even experienced gunsmiths: your barrel wears out in a matter of seconds. The useful life of a typical match barrel, in terms of actual bullet-in-barrel time, is only a few seconds. How can that be, you ask? Well you need to look at the actual time that bullets spend traveling through the bore during the barrel’s useful life. (Hint: it’s not very long).

Bullet-Time-in-Barrel Calculations
If a bullet flies at 3000 fps, it will pass through a 24″ (two-foot) barrel in 1/1500th of a second. If you have a useful barrel life of 3000 rounds, that would translate to just two seconds of actual bullet-in-barrel operating time.

Ah, but it’s not that simple. Your bullet starts at zero velocity and then accelerates as it passes through the bore, so the projectile’s average velocity is not the same as the 3000 fps muzzle velocity. So how long does a centerfire bullet (with 3000 fps MV) typically stay in the bore? The answer is about .002 seconds. This number was calculated by Varmint Al, who is a really smart engineer dude who worked at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory, a government think tank that develops neutron bombs, fusion reactors and other simple stuff.

Stopwatch barrel life

On his Barrel Tuner page, Varmint Al figured out that the amount of time a bullet spends in a barrel during firing is under .002 seconds. Al writes: “The approximate time that it takes a 3300 fps muzzle velocity bullet to exit the barrel, assuming a constant acceleration, is 0.0011 seconds. Actual exit times would be longer since the bullet is not under constant acceleration.”

We’ll use the .002 number for our calculations here, knowing that the exact number depends on barrel length and muzzle velocity. But .002 is a good average that errs, if anything, on the side of more barrel operating life rather than less.

So, if a bullet spends .002 seconds in the barrel during each shot, and you get 3000 rounds of accurate barrel life, how much actual firing time does the barrel deliver before it loses accuracy? That’s simple math: 3000 x .002 seconds = 6 seconds.

Stopwatch barrel lifeGone in Six Seconds. Want to Cry Now?
Six seconds. That’s how long your barrel actually functions (in terms of bullet-in-barrel shot time) before it “goes south.” Yes, we know some barrels last longer than 3000 rounds. On the other hand, plenty of .243 Win and 6.5-284 barrels lose accuracy in 1500 rounds or less. If your barrel loses accuracy at the 1500-round mark, then it only worked for three seconds! Of course, if you are shooting a “long-lived” .308 Win that goes 5000 rounds before losing accuracy, then you get a whopping TEN seconds of barrel life. Anyway you look at it, a rifle barrel has very little longevity, when you consider actual firing time.

People already lament the high cost of replacing barrels. Now that you know how short-lived barrels really are, you can complain even louder. Of course our analysis does give you even more of an excuse to buy a nice new Bartlein, Krieger, Shilen etc. barrel for that fine rifle of yours.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 12 Comments »
September 15th, 2011

“Pride & Joy” Palma Rifle in Turkish Walnut

Turkish Walnut Palma RifleIn our Shooters’ Forum, there’s a long-running thread entitled Pride & Joy Rifles. There you’ll find dozens of fine firearms — from hunting handguns to long-range benchrest rigs. A while back, Forum member John L. (GunDog64) posted this handsome Palma rifle, built by Chad Dixon.

John reports: “Here is my new ‘Pride and Joy’ Palma rifle. The action is a chrome-moly Barnard supplied by MT Guns. The gun is set up for switch-barrel use with two Medium Palma-contour Bartlein barrels, one chambered in 6CM, the other in .308 Winchester. Both barrels feature 5R rifling. Up front is a Riles 30mm front sight, while the rear sight is a Warner. The stock was crafted from a superb Turkish walnut blank supplied by Luxus Gunstocks in Mt. Orab, Ohio.

Gunsmithing by Chad Dixon — Stock Finish by Owner
All gunsmithing and assembly work was performed by Chad Dixon at Long Rifles Inc., Sturgis, South Dakota. Chad designed the trigger guard, handstop rail, recoil lug, and cheek-piece adjuster. John, the rifle’s proud new owner, completed the finish work on the stock. John reveals: “This project was a year in the making but well worth the wait”.

Permalink Gunsmithing 4 Comments »
September 14th, 2011

Discounts Offered by Sinclair Int’l on Triggers and Bullets

Sinclair Int’l is offering some good deals right now. First, Sinclair has the new Rock River Arms 2-Stage AR15 match trigger marked down to $99.00 from $120.00. If you’re building a black rifle, here’s a chance to save twenty bucks. Click the image below to get the discount.

rock river trigger Sale Sinclair

Sinclair is also running a sale now on Hornady BTHP Match Bullets. We’ve heard positive reports on the new match bullets with the Advance Manufacturing Process (AMP) jackets. Our friend John Adams has tested some of Hornady’s new 6mm 105-grainers with AMP Jackets. John says they shoot very accurately and are extremely uniform. John tells us: “I’m impressed by the new Hornady 105s. They are some of the most uniform bullets I’ve ever sampled. I absolutely stopped sorting them because the base to ogive measurements were so consistent.”

Hornady Bullet Sale Sinclair

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
September 14th, 2011

BulletFlight Ballistics App Now Offered for Android Devices

The popular BulletFlight Ballistics Program, is now available for Android OS smart phones and mobile devices. BulletFlight (from Knights Armament) has emerged over the past couple of years as one of the very best balllistics programs for iPhones and iPods. And now Android device users can enjoy the same functionality and features.

BulletFlight Balllistics Software App android

BulletFlight Android OS software comes in three different versions, all available through the Android Market. BulletFlight L1 (Level 1, $3.99) is a fast-running ballistics App with a host of features, including: user-selectable BC models (G1, G7, G8 etc.); output in inches, cm, MOA, Mils, and scope clicks; 360° wind drift calculation. BulletFlight includes a large database of bullet types (with weights, BCs etc.)

BulletFlight L2 (Level-2, $11.99) adds a full calculation screen where you may enter exact range and atmospheric details. The Level-2 version can also generate range-cards, perform cosine-angle calculations, handle mil-dot range estimations, and calculate impact energy, velocity, and flight time. What’s more, Level-2 offers GPS functionality so you can geo-locate your position, and/or download local weather information. The $11.99 L2 software package is what we recommend for most users.

BulletFlight L2 Screen Shots
BulletFlight Balllistics Software App android

Level M is Ideal for Ultra-Long-Range Shooting
Priced at $29.99, BulletFlight Level-M (Military) version further adds the ability to calculate an actual BC based on bullet drop, two velocities, or flight time. This can be useful if you make your own bullets, do extensive experimental work, or shoot at extreme long range. If you do regularly shoot beyond 1000 yards, BulletFlight Level-M is probably the best choice. The Level-M software factors bullet spin drift and Coriolis effect into the ballistics solution — making this a super-sophisticated tool. In addition, the Level-M software can calculate bullet stability based on MV, barrel twist rate, and bullet specs.

With all versions of BulletFlight, you can also create your own custom ammo profiles (with velocity, BC, bullet type), allowing you to easily output ballistic plots for multiple firearms, without having to enter the rifle/bullet profile each session.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 3 Comments »
September 14th, 2011

Discounts And Close-Out Specials at Pyramyd Air

For the next week (through September 20, 2011), Pyramyd Air is offering 10% off nearly its entire inventory of airguns and shooting accessories. To get your 10% savings simply enter code “AirgunsSep14-2011″ (without the quotes), during check-out. NOTE: This offer cannot be combined with free shipping offers.

Big Discounts on Close-Out Air Rifles
In addition, Pyramyd Air has deeply discounted some “close-out” air rifles, with prices up to 40% off. Here are some of the best deals:

Air Arms S400 MPR

Air Arms S400 MPR Left-Hand 10m Rifle: Now $795.95, reduced from $1050.00
This gun delivers 7 joules (5.16 ft-lbs) to meet international 10m match rules. The match trigger adjusts for first-stage length and second-stage pull weight, and the trigger shoe can be moved up or down and forward or back. The gun has an adjustable cheekpiece and spacers can be added to increase LOP. The gun comes complete with front and rear match sights.

Hammerli Pneuma

Hammerli Pneuma PCP Air Rifle: Now $299.95, reduced from $556.30
Very powerful .177 hunting rifle with unique thumbhole stock & removable air tank with built-in pressure gauge. Integrated rail accepts Weaver or 11mm mounts.

Evanix Blizzard

Evanix Blizzard S10 Long: Now $599.99, reduced from $850.00
Powerful air rifle for hunting with 320cc air reservoir (2,900 psi). Right-hand or Left-hand stocks available (for same price). Built-in air pressure gauge (manometer). Two-stage trigger adjusts for LOP and position (3 positions). (Scope not included).

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
September 13th, 2011

Cartridge Brass Alloys Revealed by X-Ray Spectrometers

X-Ray cartridge Brass testingAre there significant metallurgical differences in the alloys used in various brands of cartridge brass? The answer is yes, and we have proof. Using a state-of-the-art X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometer, some tech-savy Wisconsin shooters recently analyzed the alloys in seven different types of cartridge brass.

The test results revealed significant differences in the percentages of copper and zinc in the different brands. Copper content ranged from a low of 72% by mass (Winchester, S&B) to a high of 80% by mass (Remington). Zinc, which adds hardness to the alloy, ranged from a low of 20% by mass (Federal) to a high of 36% (‘brown box’ Lapua). Interestingly, the tests, as reported by Forum Member Fred Bohl, revealed that the alloy in the new ‘blue box’ 6mmBR Lapua brass is different than the alloy in Lapua’s older ‘brown box’ 6mmBR brass. Specifically, the ‘blue box’ 6mmBR brass has more copper and less tin (by mass). Here’s a summary of the X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometry tests:

X-Ray cartridge Brass testing

This testing was done at major science laboratory, using high-grade X-Ray Spectrometry Analyzing equipment. Fred reports that: “The data was run by one of the club members with the permission of the test lab supervisor who is also a club member and shooter. The data in original output reports was far more detailed about trace elements at lower orders of magnitude primarily from surface contaminants (some were rerun after establishing a repeatable cleaning procedure)”. The testing process is discussed in this Shooters’ Forum thread.

We do NOT have the metallurgical expertise to infer that any particular alloy shown above is “better” than another. The alloy “blend” is merely one of many variables that can have an impact on the performance and quality of the finished product. Annealing times/methods differ and some cartridge brass is extruded while other cartridge brass is made with the traditional drawing process. Readers should not presume, on reading the above chart, that they can identify the “best shooting” brass simply based on the constituent metals in the various alloys.

X-Ray cartridge Brass testing

General Observations about Cartridge Brass Alloys
With the cartridge brass X-Ray Spectrometry results in hand, Fred Bohl hoped to find out what “real world” conclusions (if any) we could draw from the raw data. Fred sent the test results to some knowledgeable metallurgists, soliciting their comments. Fred explains: “When I first posted this information [in the Shooters’ Forum], I had hoped to elicit replies from expert metallurgists and to initiate a useful discussion. From [their replies] I distilled the following ‘consensus’ comments”:

1. The range of Copper/Zinc ratios suitable for use in cartridge making by typical processes is 85/15 to 65/35 (% by weight or mass).

2. The range of Copper/Zinc ratios suitable for use in cartridges intended for reloading is 80/20 to 70/30. Above 80% copper, the resulting case would tend to be too soft and difficult to attain the distribution of hardness desired (harder at the base and softer at the neck). Below 70% copper the resulting case would tend to be too hard, would work harden too quickly and require frequent annealing. [Editor: That said, the ‘brown box’ 6mmBR Lapua brass, with 62% copper/36% zinc content, enjoys an unrivaled reputation for both accuracy and its ability to perform well after a dozen or more reloading cycles. We know 30BR shooters who have shot the same old-style Lapua brass (6mmBR parent case) more than 50 times. So maybe the “expert” view needs re-thinking.]

3. As the percentage of zinc increases, the tensile strength, yield strength and hardness tend to increase. However, above 35% zinc, while tensile strength will continue to tend to increase, both yield strength and hardness will tend to begin to decrease.

4. The trace additives of iron and/or silicon are used to control the processing characteristics of the alloy. Trace additions of chromium will improve corrosion resistance and give a shinier surface (both largely cosmetic).

5. Selection of the alloy and additives is a trade off among: end use desired properties; processing time and yield; and cost of materials. For example, the classic 70/30 cartridge brass was considered an optimum combination of corrosion resistance and hardness for single use by the military with good process yield at acceptable material cost.

6. All of my responding experts were surprised by the brown box Lapua alloy except for the oldest. He remembered using an almost identical alloy late in WWII when copper was in very short supply for military small arms ammunition.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 5 Comments »
September 13th, 2011

Nightforce News: CH-Reticle Benchrest Scopes Availability

Nightforce scopes CH Reticles

Distribution of CH-Reticle Benchrest Scopes Will Be Limited
If you’re looking for a Nightforce 12-42×56 Benchrest model scope with a CH-series reticle, you may want to act soon. Nightforce is reducing production of these models and the limited runs will be strictly earmarked for Nightforce’s most active dealers. (NF Benchrest scopes with other reticle choices will continue to be widely available). Nightforce’s CH (i.e. cross-hair) reticles, are offered in three versions: CH-1 (fine cross-hair), CH-2 (fine cross-hair with 0.2 MOA inscribed dot), and CH-3 (fine cross-hair with 0.2 MOA “floating” dot). The CH reticles have always been popular with benchresters, as they provide an unobstructed view of mirage and windflags. The CH-2 reticle has been used by the USAMU for long-range and High Power competition. The CH-3 includes an open area around the 0.2 MOA dot, which makes the dot easier to see on dark backgrounds. On the CH-3, only the dot can be illuminated.

Nightforce scopes CH Reticles

Where to Find Nightforce BR Models with CH Reticles
The CH-series reticles are no longer offered in the lower-power 8-32×56 BR model at all. If you want a CH reticle in a NF Benchrest scope, you’ll need to order the 12-42×56 scope. AND, you’ll now need to order from a major stocking dealer. EuroOptic.com currently has one of the largest inventories of 12-42×56 BR Nightforce scopes with CH Reticles — it has about 50 of these CH reticle Benchrest scopes in stock. To order, call (570) 220-3159, ask for Jason Baney and mention that you heard about these CH reticle scopes through the Daily Bulletin. Jason will make sure you get the right CH reticle version at the best possible price. Another large stocking dealer of Nightforce scopes is D&B Supply, found on the web at ScopeUsOut.com.

Permalink News, Optics 3 Comments »
September 13th, 2011

Glock Donates $75K to Marine Corps Service Organizations

Glock 25 YearsLater this month, GLOCK, Inc. will donate a total of $75,000 to two organizations, the Young Marines and the Marine Corps League. On Wednesday, Sept. 28th, Glock V.P. Josh Dorsey (a former Marine) will present $50,000 to the Young Marines and $25,000 to the Marine Corps League during a presentation held at the Iwo Jima Memorial, Quantico, Virginia.

$50,000 to Young Marines
This will be the sixth consecutive year that Glock has made this contribution to the Young Marines totaling $300,000. The Young Marines is a nonprofit youth organization whose mission is to provides programs for youth that promote mental, moral and physical health through teamwork, self-discipline and a drug-free lifestyle. The program strives to instill core values of “Honor, Courage and Commitment” adopted by each member of the Marine Corps.

$25,000 to Marine Corps League
This is the second year that Glock has made a contribution to this organization. The Marine Corps League is comprised of retired Marines volunteers who render assistance to all Marines and former Marines and to the families of fallen Marines. The group actively supports injured Marines, and assists youth programs. The League takes an active role in Veterans benefits issues and helps with the National Marine Corps Museum.

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September 12th, 2011

SkeetLee’s Shoot House, Load Room, and 200-Yard Range

Shooting House Concrete Bench shoot roomForum member Lee G. (aka ‘SkeetLee’) has built a fully enclosed, 4-season shoot house with loading area. The new shoot house, located on his parents’ farm, will make most readers envious. The quality of the slab and the framing is a far sight better than what you’ll find in many tract houses. SkeetLee has experience in concrete work and construction and he did a beautiful job on his new facility, which combines a large reloading area with two concrete benches facing out to a 200-yard range. The insulated shoot house will be heated in winter, allowing year-round shooting.

Construction Planning and Progress
SkeetLee tells us: “We added 16′ to the back of the machine shop on one of our farms so I could have a place to practice my shooting. Everything worked out real well because exactly 200 yards out from the new addition is a low spot in the field that doesn’t produce any crop anyway, so we thought this would be a good spot for a berm. I started building the berm this spring before the crop got planted and it is about 60% complete. I am very lucky to have such a place to do all this, and I will be forever indebted to my folks for letting me build this range and loading/shoot room. This range is a gift to me from my folks, and I am very grateful.”

SkeetLee will be using the new shoot house very soon: “I finally have the room at least 95% done. It took the better part of the year to complete and there is still some work to do to the berm once the corn [comes] down next week, but the shoot house is darn near ready for some banging.”

Shooting House Concrete Bench shoot room

Below are the two benches in progress. SkeetLee set the block in mortar then formed the tops in place with some “T” supports to hold the forms up. He used an 8″ sona tube for the rear leg, then added Re-Bar for reinforcement. It worked out really really well as you can see in the bottom photo.

Shooting House Concrete Bench shoot room

Shooting House Concrete Bench shoot room

Shoot House Permits Year-Round Shooting
SkeetLee notes: “This winter when the snow is flying we can stay warm and shoot until our finger(s) get sore. I also look forward to entertaining some guests.” To give our readers a better view of the interior of his shoot house, SkeetLee recorded a two-part video. Part Two is embedded below, and you can CLICK HERE for Part One.

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September 12th, 2011

MGM Will Build Nation’s Largest Indoor Range in Virginia

MGM Tactical Colonial Shooting RangeMGM Tactical has been selected as the bullet trap, target and range equipment supplier for the largest indoor shooting range in the country, the planned Colonial Shooting Academy (CSA) in Richmond, Virginia. Construction is scheduled to be completed in February 2012. The Colonial Shooting Academy choose MGM Tactical because MGM offers state-of-the-art bullet containment systems with unique capabilities. These include:

  • “Impact” system rifle-grade Shoot House
  • “Deep V” bullet traps with .50-caliber capability
  • “Shoot Close” granulated rubber bullet trap for the tactical range.

The facility will have multiple ranges, a shoot house, retail selling area, offices, café, classrooms and member lounge. The facility will have five separate ranges: one 11-lane tactical range; two 25-yard mezzanine-level ranges (one with 11 lanes and one with 14 lanes); and, two additional private 7-lane ranges. All ranges will have acoustical tiles for sound deadening. The building’s basement will house a high-tech, 1590-square-foot, multi-room shoot house with multiple entries and breach doors.

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September 11th, 2011

New Federal Gold Medal Match Primers for ARs

Federal Ammunition has released a new type of small rifle match primer optimized for AR15s and similar semi-automatic rifles. The new Gold Medal® AR Match Primers, designated GM205MAR, have harder primer cups than the popular Federal 205M match primers. The harder cup is designed to perform better in semi-automatic actions that use free-floating firing pins. A Federal spokesman said that Federal’s “normal” 205M primers were not ideal for use in firearms, such as ARs, with free floating firing pins. Hence Federal designed the new GM205MAR primers. These are available now from major vendors such as Midsouth Shooters Supply, which offers the new GM205MAR primers for $35.22 per thousand.

Federal AR Match Primers GM205MAR

Other AR-Friendly Primers
For quite some time, CCI has offered its #41 milspec small rifle primer for use in ARs. A CCI #41 primer is a ‘magnum’ strength primer, equivalent to the CCI 450 Small Magnum rifle primer. However, the #41 primer is made with a bigger gap between the tip of the anvil and the bottom of the cup, creating a slightly less sensitive primer. The #41 primer also has a thicker bottom on the cup than the CCI 400 primer.

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September 11th, 2011

New Illustrated History of Firearms from NRA Museum

The folks at the NRA Museum have created a new 304-page, photo-illustrated history of firearms. With over 1500 photographs, this new book covers all types of firearms, from small handguns to large rifles. Illustrated are deringers, flintlocks, revolvers, semi-autos, machine guns, muzzle loaders, long rifles — and much more. Researched by the NRA’s historians, The Illustrated History of Firearms is a worthy addition to any gun aficionado’s library. You can pre-order the book now from Amazon.com for just $19.79 (list price is $29.99.) The NRA Museum will be releasing two companion volumes, also available through Amazon: Guns of the Wild West, and Guns of World War II.

Illustrated History Firearms book

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September 10th, 2011

Free Nikon Digital Camera with Purchase of Buckmasters Scope

Buckmaster Nikon coolpix l24 saleHere’s a sweet deal — buy a scope and get a Nikon digital camera worth one hundred bucks. Now until October 23, 2011, if you purchase any eligible Nikon Buckmasters® Riflescope, Nikon will include a free COOLPIX® L24 Digital Camera. This is no junky, disposable camera. The COOLPIX L25 is a quality 14.0 Megapixel camera with 3.6X optical zoom. It can even capture digital video. Check for yourself — the COOLPIX L24 retails by itself for $85.00 – $100.00. For example Sears sells the L24 for $99.99.

Nikon Buckmasters Scopes are Affordably Priced
A wide range of lifetime-guaranteed Buckmasters scopes qualify for this promotion, including 3-9X, 4.5-14X, and 6-18X zoom scopes starting at $209.95. CLICK HERE for Buckmaster Scope Lineup.

To qualify for the free camera, you must purchase a Buckmasters scope before October 23, 2011, and then submit an application form along with Proof of Purchase. Visit Sinclair Int’l or watch the promotional video below for more details:

Coolpix L24 Nikon Buckmaster Scope promotion

Disclosure: AccurateShooter.com receives a small percentage of referred Sinclair Int’l sales.
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September 10th, 2011

New Timney Trigger for Savage Axis/Edge Rifles

Timney Triggers has introduced a new drop-in trigger for the Savage Axis/Edge line of rifles. The new Timney Axis/Edge trigger (Model 633) is CNC machined from solid steel and then case-hardened. The Model 633 Axis/Edge trigger fully adjustable for pull weight, sear engagement (creep) and over-travel. The trigger’s pull weight can be adjusted from 1.5 to 4 pounds, an ideal range for a hunting rifle. Midsouth Shooters Supply has the Model 633 trigger in stock now.

Timney trigger Savage Axis Edge

The Timney Axis/Edge trigger retails for $104.95 for the standard blued version and is also available nickel-plated for $114.95. Each trigger is hand-assembled, calibrated, and tested before shipping. Timney offers a lifetime warranty on all of their products. Triggers are Made in the USA.

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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