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September 9th, 2011

Sartorius GD503 Analytical Scale Offers Amazing Precision

Sartorius GD503 force restoration magnetic scaleSuccessful long-range shooting demands very uniform ammo. Weighing charges carefully can make shot velocities more uniform within a shot string. Uniformity of velocities is good, because lower ES translates to less vertical dispersion of the shots at long range. Many competitive shooters today try to load charges that are consistent within one-tenth of a grain. Some exacting reloaders, in the relentless pursuit of perfection, go even further — they try to maintain charge weight uniformity down to the equivalent of just one or two kernels of powder.

To weigh charges with this kind of precision, you need a very high-quality scale. Even the $400.00-grade balances (such as the Acculab VIC-123), struggle to maintain single-kernel precision with their conventional strain-gauge load cell technology. But there is a new class of electronic lab scales which employ magnetic force restoration technology. These force restoration balances can reliably (and repeatably) weigh a single grain of powder. In normal use, lab-grade force restoration scales also deliver a stable reading more quickly than strain-gauge type scales. This is a boon for reloaders who like to trickle the final few kernels of a load. But the enhanced speed and precision of force restoration (magnetic) scales come with a stiff price — these technological marvels cost $900.00 and up. That could buy a custom action, or three new barrels.

Trickling Kernel by Kernel with GD503 and Omega Trickler
Do the advanced force restoration scales perform as advertised? Can they reliably recognize a single kernel of powder quickly enough to make trickling practical? Well, thanks to Forum member A.J. (aka AJ), we have a video that answers those questions. Using a Sartorius GD503 Class II force restoration balance with an Omega two-speed powder trickler, A.J. demonstrates how he can weigh charges that are consistent within a single kernel’s weight, i.e. 20-25 thousandths of a grain.

When you watch the video, note how (at 3:45 time mark) the RCBS electronic scale reads 41.7 grains, when in fact the correct charge weight was 41.830 grains, as measured by the GB503. That’s a one-tenth grain (four kernel) error right there. You will also see that the Omega Trickler from Dandy Products really can drop one kernel at a time. It takes some careful adjusting of the drop tube to achieve this sensitivity, but the Omega really is up to the task.

A.J. recently acquired his Sartorius GD503 digital scale from Balances.com. Retail price is $899.99. A.J. reports: “I have to say the [GD503] is one awesome unit. I was loading my 260 with 42 grains of H4350. The GD503 is accurate to .005 (5 thousandths) of a grain. My Acculab was supposed to be accurate to .020 of a grain but couldn’t do that on a good day. This new scale can actually weigh an individual kernel of H4350, it weighs right at .025 per kernel. I weighed a small screw about 20 times throughout one day and every time I got the same exact reading. My load for my 260 now has a SD in the single digits and an ES of 10 fps is not uncommon for 5-shot groups.”

Having seen an actual reduction in his velocity ES and SD, A.J. is sold on his $900.00 GD503: “This thing is amazingly accurate. It repeats every time. The weight does not keep changing or growing like my Acculab VIC 123 or my RCBS Chargemaster. My loads have never been so accurate. Now I don’t have to wait for a Prometheus as I have something better for a fraction of the cost.”

If you’re interested in the Sartorius GD503, below is a video from Balances.com that explains the features of the GD503 and shows how to set up and operate the unit to achieve the best results.

Strain-Gauge Scale vs. Force Restoration Scale — Responsiveness Test
This final video also shows the difference in performance between a strain gauge scale and magnetic force restoration scale (GD503). In the video, both scales are tasked with measuring tiny grains of salt, which are much smaller than extruded powder kernels. You can see that the GD503 responds more quickly when a few grains of salt are added.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product, Reloading 10 Comments »
September 9th, 2011

Results from IBS 1000-Yard Nationals at White Horse Range, WV

IBS NationalsThe 2011 IBS Nationals were held at the White Horse Center Range near Peeltree, West Virginia. This was a 3-target Aggregate match for both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) with six (6) targets total. The big winner was Shooters’ Forum member Tod Soeby (aka 4Xforfun). Tod, who hails from North Dakota, drove a long way to the match, but his journey was well worth it, as he topped a large, highly-competitive field of 117 shooters. Soeby won BOTH the 2-Gun Overall as well as the Light Gun Group+Score Overall (In Light Gun, Tod was #1 for Group and #6 for Score, shooting a 6mm Dasher). Soeby’s Light Gun Group Agg was a remarkable 3.884″, nearly an inch smaller than the next best Light Gun Group Agg, a 4.724″, turned in by Salley Bauer. Gordy Gritters finished second in 2-Gun Overall, while David Powell secured third place in 2-Gun Overall.

White Horse IBS 2011 1000 yard nationals

Tod’s three, 5-shot Light Gun groups were: 4.489″, 3.760″, and 3.283″. That yielded an average of 3.884″ at 1000 yards. Think about that — Tod’s average is barely over one-third MOA, which is 3.49″ at 1000 yards — seriously small. Yes, those Dashers can shoot!

Wesley Springman was the top Heavy Gun Shooter, placing second in Group and third in Score, to finish first Overall in Heavy Gun class. Don Rabun was second in HG overall, with Eric Springman taking third in HG, edging Don Nagel on a tie-breaker (both Eric and Don racked up 14 Agg Rank Points). As noted above, Tod Sobey won the Light Gun Overall, with Donald Whitlock second in LG, and David Powley third. Notable other performances were Jeffrey Morten’s first place finish in LG Score, and Eric Springman’s outstanding Group shooting in Heavy Gun. Eric finished #1 in HG Group, with an impressively small 5.925″ Agg (that’s for ten-shot groups). And Sharon Ruben nailed the small group for the match, a mind-blowing 2.686″ on her second Light Gun (5-shot) target. For reference, one-quarter MOA at 1000 yards is 2.617″. Amazing.

Winning Rifles: 6mm Dasher Light Gun, 300 WSM Heavy Gun
Tod Soeby provided this equipment rundown for his Nationals-winning rifles.

Light Gun (6mm Dasher): Smithed by Greg Wahlstrom, Straightline Customs, in Ogilvie, MN. Greg also did the stock work and bedding. Action is a BAT “M” multi-flat, 8.5″-long, R-L-R dual port. Stock is a Shehane ST-1000. Barrel is 30″ Krieger 1:8″ twist, chambered as 6mm Dasher with 0.267″ neck. Optics are: Nightforce NSX 12-42X in BAT +20 MOA aluminum ring/bases.

Heavy Gun (300 WSM): Smithed by Clay Spencer. Action is BAT “L”, 10″-long, 2″-round, dual port. Stock is a Bruce Baer 5″-wide thumbhole, with custom rails by Greg Wahlstrom of Straightline Customs. The barrel is a Hart 1:10″ twist chambered in 300 WSM. Optics are: Nightforce 12-42X Benchrest model. Tod is not sure about the source of Picatinny rail and rings.

CLICK HERE for Full 2011 IBS 1K Nationals Results

117 Shooters Competed at 2011 IBS Nationals
Overall, shooters commented that West Virginia’s White Horse facility was a nice range, and many folks hoped that other major events might be hosted there in the future. Despite the predicted hot, humid weather, there was a great turn-out for the event, with 117 registered shooters in Light Gun and 115 Heavy Gun Registrants. The match organizers at White Horse did a good job with such a large field of shooters. The excellent turn-out proves there is a growing interest in long-range benchrest.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
September 8th, 2011

15-Year-Old Gal Wins Her First-Ever F-Class Match

Here’s a positive success story about a family that shoots together. Shooters’ Forum member Troy (aka ‘TTFreestyle’) is a competitive shooter whose 15-year-old daughter Michele is following in his footsteps. It looks like Michele is a born shooter, with exceptional natural talent — she won her first-ever F-Open match, shooting a 450-22x without dropping a point. Marksmanship definitely runs in the family. (Interestingly, Michele has a twin sister who also shoots, but according to Troy, “Michele’s twin doesn’t crave shooting the way Michele does.”)

Youth F-class

Troy reports: “My daughter Michele shot her first F-Open match today at Chattanooga rifle club. It was a three-relay, mid-range match with 15 shots at 300 yards and two more 15-shot relays at 500 yards. Michele shot 450-22x out of 450 with her Savage 6BR.” Troy revealed: “I was worried that I had not done enough load development for her, but I but guess it was good enough!” Troy added: “I helped Michele get set up with the rest and rear bag. I told her to have fun and follow-through. She did the rest. We were fortunate that the conditions were favorable for her relays — not too breezy and with little mirage. The wind really kicked up later while we were in the pits.”

Michele’s Rifle Specs — a Hot-Rodded Savage 110
Michele’s winning rifle, which Troy just completed two weeks ago, has some key upgrades. The barrel is a 28″ 6mmBR pre-fit Criterion from Northland Shooters Supply. Troy noted: “My wife’s gun also has a Criterion pre-fit barrel. Both Criterions shoot great — 2.5″ at 600 yards with minimal load development.” The Savage 110 action on Michele’s rifle now sits in a a href=”http://www.sharpshootersupply.com/LRBR_Stock.html” target=”new”>Sharpshooter Supply Long Range Benchrest stock, pillar- and skim-bedded by Troy. One of the new Sightron tactical 8-32x56mm scopes rides on top on an EGW +20 MOA rail. The gun has the old three-screw Savage trigger with some tweaks done by Troy, who says “I prefer the old trigger (with some mods) to the new Accutrigger.”

Troy tells us: “Michele and I are both just starting in the mid/long range game. We have so much to learn and have met some very helpful friends. At Oakridge, I met Danny Biggs who gave us some advice I’ll never forget: ‘Matches are won in the reloading room’.” The load Troy developed for Michele was 30.2 grains Varget and 107 SMK into the lands running about 2850 fps.

Youth F-class

Father, Mother, and Daughter All Love to Shoot
Troy is quick to credit Michele’s trigger-pulling skills: “Michele is solid — 45 shots in a row and she kept going. I don’t think I can out-shoot her.” Troy added, “My wife Tammy also shoots. In fact, at Chattanooga, Tammy also cleaned the 300-yard match with 150-9X but dropped a few points at 500. After seeing how well Michele and Tammy did, maybe I just need to put the guns together and watch.”

Congrats to Michele, Tammy, and Troy! A family that shoots together is a great inspiration.

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
September 8th, 2011

Williamsport 1K Match Cancelled Due to Flooding

The Original Pennsylvania 1000-Yard Benchrest Club (Williamsport) has cancelled its two-day match this weekend, September 10-11, due to severe flooding in the immediate area. The National Weather Service has advised that the Susquehanna River will crest at 25′ on Friday.

Our friend Jason Baney tells us: “The situation is as bad as I’ve ever seen it, but we expect the waters to recede in a few days. This weekend’s match, the 9th of the season, will be re-scheduled for a double match later in the month.” The re-scheduled Match 9 will be held concurrently with Match 10, on September 24-25, 2011.

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
September 6th, 2011

Berger’s New 6mm 105gr Hybrid Bullet — Ballistics Revealed

Eric Stecker of Berger Bullets just revealed some details on Berger’s new 6mm 105gr Hybrid bullet. This projectile is now in the final stage of testing. Here are comparative ballistics for the new 6mm Hybrid vs. Berger’s popular 105gr VLD bullet:

6mm 105 gr Hybrid Target Original 6mm 105 gr VLD (Now is Berger’s hunting version)
Averaged G1 BC = 0.547
G7 BC = 0.278
Averaged G1 BC = 0.532
G7 BC = 0.272

Longer Bullet Requires 1:8″ Twist
The new 105gr Hybrid Target is slightly longer than the original 105-grainer so a true 1:8″ is strongly recommended. The new bullet is made with the thicker Target jacket to withstand match shooting conditions. The Hybrid ogive is designed to be less sensitive to seating depth and has been working well in other calibers and sizes. This bullet can take all the 6mm cases can dish out and it has a BC equal to our own 6mm 115 gr VLD.

Eric Stecker tells us: “The moment we knew that we had to modify the 6mm 105gr VLD Target with a larger meplat, the need for this bullet was born. We’ve been working on it ever since. Bryan Litz has done an exceptional job with this design. I am very eager to see how they do in many rifles since I regard the 105gr class of bullets as key in Berger’s line. Between the 68gr, the 80gr and the 105gr (among other weights) we have been especially blessed with our 6mm offerings.” Eric is quite right — all those bullets shoot exceptionally well and the 105gr VLD holds many records. If the new 105gr Hybrid can come close to the accuracy of the 105gr VLD, it should be very successful.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
September 6th, 2011

Swarovski Introduces New ‘EL Range’ Laser-Equipped Binoculars

Swarovski EL RangeSwarovski has released a new binocular product with built-in laser rangefinder, and angle compensation. Designed on the popular “open-bridge” EL binocular body, the EL Range comes in two configurations: 8x42mm and 10x42mm. Weighing just 910grams (32 ounces), both versions are lighter than other premium rangefinding binocs. The shape and size (6.5″L x 4.6″W) of the EL Range are basically the same as the non-laser EL Binocular — all the additional electronics are housed in two small belly extensions, one on each side (see photo). These curved extensions fit comfortably into your palms, so the the EL’s good ergonomics have been maintained.

Swarovski EL Range

Max Range is 1375 meters (1504 yards)
The EL Range is rated to 1375m or 1504 yards — that’s comparable with the latest Leica LRFs. Swarovski claims that its ranging laser can measure with an accuracy of +/- 1m over the entire measurement range (30–1375m). Ranging options (reticle brightness, angle compensation etc.) are controlled by a small button under the bridge. This can easily be accessed by your thumb while glassing. You don’t have to remove the EL away from you head to find or operate the digital controls. The EL Range is comfortable in the hand, and it is noticeably easier to hold the EL Range steady on a small target than the ultra-compact, pocket-sized rangefinders.

With the Swaro EL Range, you get great glass along with a very accurate laser. The transmission in both binocular halves is 91%. They are equipped with a 61° wide-angle eyepiece which supports a field of view of 137m (8×42) or 110m (10×42). The large eye relief offers four positions, to which the eyecup can be adjusted individually. This means that even spectacle wearers can enjoy the full benefit, with a crystal-clear vision and great comfort. Diopter compensation is an ample -7/+5. Interpupillary distance is 2.2 – 2.9 inches (that’s enough to fit all adults). The exit pupil on the 8X version is 5.3mm, while on the 10X version it is 4.2mm, still plenty big.

Swaro-Aim Angle Compensation Aids Hunters
The newest “SWARO-AIM” technology features an integrated gradometer to show the precise and correct shooting distance and angle. Designed with electronic readout of yards and meters, brightness levels and angle compensation, the display offers 5 individually adjustable brightness levels on an easy-to-read LCD screen with a simple and intuitive menu operation.

Swarovski EL Range

VIEW EL Range Techical Data | DOWNLOAD EL Range Specifications

Release Date and Price: MSRP on the EL Range laser-equipped binoculars is $3077.00 for the 8×42, and $3188.00 for the 10×42. We expect “street price” to settle around $2770.00 for the 8X and $2870.00 for the 10X. That’s quite a bit more than the 8×42 Leica Geovid Rangefinder binocular, which retails for $2349.00 (street price). On the other hand, Swarovski’s standard (no laser) EL 8.5×42 Swarovision binocular costs about $2350.00 (street price), so that means you’ll pay about $420.00 more for the ranging capability. For someone who can afford the standard (non-laser) EL binoculars, it probably makes sense to spend a few hundred more for the EL Range. Vendors expect to receive the Swarovski EL Range in late October, but Swarovski tells us that “quantities will be very limited before the end of the year”.

Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »
September 6th, 2011

New Berger .30-Cal Hybrids Released — 6mm Hybrid in Testing

Having completed successful field testing, Berger is releasing two new .30-caliber Hybrid bullets, the 185gr Hybrid (part #30424) and the new 200gr Hybrid (part # 30427). The Hybrid design, developed by Bryan Litz, combines both secant-ogive and tangent-ogive shapes. This keeps drag low while making the bullet easier to tune than typical VLD style bullets. Both these new Hybrid bullets have demonstrated excellent accuracy along with outstanding long-range ballistics. The BC on the 200-grainer is extremely high, with a G1 value of 0.624 and a G7 value of 0.320. The new 185gr and 200gr Hybrids should be arriving on store shelves very soon.

Berger 185gr and 200gr .308 Hybrid Specifications
Berger Hybrid Bullet Specifications .30 caliber

Consumer Field Testing of new 6mm 105gr Hybrid, and Heavy 30s
Berger has commenced testing of its new 30 cal 215 and 230 gr Hybrid bullets, and Bergers new 6mm 105gr Hybrid. Berger tells us that: “If the tests results are positive, these bullets should be available to order in the middle of October, 2011.”

Berger is soliciting qualified AccurateShooter.com Forum members to help with the testing of the latest hybrids — the jumbo 30s and the new 6mm 105-grainer. You must have an appropriate rifle and be willing to report your results in a timely, coherent manner. In return, if selected, you’ll get a free bullets for testing — one 100-ct box per test. If you wish to participate in the testing process, click the links below to read Berger’s testing announcements in our Forum.

Berger .30-cal 215gr and 230gr Hybrid Bullet Test | Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrid Bullet Test

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 4 Comments »
September 5th, 2011

Savage LRPV Saga — When A Barrel Upgrade Is The Only Solution

Savage Criterion BarrelIn our Shooters’ Forum, you’ll find a lengthy thread about accuracy problems with a Savage LRPV, chambered in 6mmBR. The gun would repeatedly split groups at 100 yards, and at 300 yards, the “flyers” would open up the groups to 1.5 MOA or larger. Interestingly, the factory test target (at right) showed a split group — not a good sign.

The gun’s owner, forum member LR_Shooter, tried a variety of tweaks: “I did this, done that… [changed] torque, tang floated, bedded action, recut chamber, and [adjusted firing pin]”. But nothing really helped. Frustrated, LR_Shooter asked his fellow Forum members for help. Much advice was proffered, including the novel idea of removing the middle action screw in the Savage 3-screw target action. Some of the advice proved helpful, but none of the suggested remedies produced a major improvement. This rifle, out of the box, tossed flyers and no amount of tweaking (or changes in shooting technique) really cured the basic problem. That is, until, the factory barrel got replaced…

Savage Criterion Barrel

New Criterion Pre-Fit Barrel Works Wonders
LR_Shooter acquired a Criterion pre-fit barrel from Jim Briggs at Northland Shooters Supply (NSS). These pre-fits are designed for easy installation with the standard Savage barrel nut. Wouldn’t you know it, with a new 30″ heavy-contour barrel on the LRPV, the gun started shooting way better. No more crazy fliers, no more split groups, no more excessive vertical. And the improvement came without any other major modifications. LR_Shooter reports: “I got a replacement barrel from Jim at NSS. It is a 30″ bull Criterion barrel. So far, without playing with torque screws and having my old setup… I’m very satisfied with the barrel I got. Now I have no problem getting [groups] under 0.25 MOA. Finally this thing can shoot!” The targets below, shot with the new Criterion barrel, speak for themselves. The left target was shot at 100 yards, while the target on the right was shot at 300 yards (very impressive).

Targets Shot with Savage LRPV Fitted with Criterion Barrel
Savage Criterion Barrel

Read Thread on Savage Accuracy Issues Fixed By Criterion Barrel

Moral of the Story — Sometimes A New Barrel Really Is the Right Solution
All of us have struggled at times with a rifle that won’t live up to expectations. This Editor personally struggled for over a year with a .260 Rem Savage with a factory tube. The gun tended to split groups and the POI walked as the barrel heated. I tried one powder/primer combination after another, working through a variety of seating depths over many months. I was persistent. Out of stubbornness, I just believed that sooner or later I’d find the magic load.

Well folks, sometimes there’s really nothing you can do about a sub-par barrel. It is what it is. To really improve a gun’s accuracy (particularly a gun with a factory tube), you may need to open your wallet and get a quality aftermarket barrel. Spending months trying one recipe after another may simply be an overwhelming waste of powder, bullets, and your precious time.

Albert Einstein supposedly said: “Insanity is defined as doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” Well that sort of describes my efforts with my .260 Rem. Once I had enough evidence that my barrel split groups no matter what load combo (and seating depth) I tried, it was time to pony up for a new barrel. When I did finally screw on a nice PacNor 3-groove Supermatch, that Savage suddenly became a true tack-driver. As re-chambered in 6mmBR with the Pac-Nor, in calm conditions, my Savage will now consistently shoot in the twos with heavy bullets, and it can sometimes dip down into the ones with Berger 80gr flat-base bullets. The moral of the story here is simple — don’t waste weeks or months chasing your tail with a barrel that just won’t deliver (after a reasonable amount of testing). Save up for a custom barrel, get it chambered properly, and stop your cycle of frustration.

Contact Information for Northland Shooters Supply:
E-mail: briggs.j-b@q.com (that is Q.com not G.com)
Phone: (763) 682-4296
Fax: (763) 682-6098
Mailing address:
P.O. Box 333
Buffalo, MN 55313

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 7 Comments »
September 5th, 2011

AccurateShooter Forum Registers 15,000th Forum Member

Our Shooters’ Forum is one of the most popular features of the AccurateShooter.com website. On September 4th, our Forum registered our 15,000th Forum member — a significant milestone. Since its debut in 2004, our Shooters’ Forum has grown to become one of the most active precision shooting message boards on the internet. The Forum offers a wealth of information, and we provide FREE classified ads for registered members.

Serious shooters from around the world rely on our Shooters’ Forum for answers to questions about precision shooting, reloading, and varmint hunting. You’ll get the “straight scoop” on shooting gear from Forum members who post their real-world experiences with reloading components, barrels, optics and other hardware. Many champion shooters participate in our Forum, and you’ll also find helpful advice on rifle projects in the Forum’s gunsmithing section. If you’re looking for great deals on rifles, barrels, stocks, optics, and shooting accessories, check out our Reader Classifieds. The latest Classifieds are also posted on the AccurateShooter.com home page.

AccurateShooter.com Shooters' Forum

Permalink News No Comments »
September 4th, 2011

Fort Benning Hosts International Sniper Competition

The 2011 International Sniper Competition and Symposium will be held September 26-30, 2011 at Fort Benning, Georgia. Two-man teams from all over the world will compete in 10 to 15 sniper-related events. The events will test competitors’ physical fitness and sniper skills including: target detection, target discrimination, stalking, land navigation, and marksmanship. The teams represent active-duty Army units, the Army National Guard, U.S. Army Reserve, U.S. Air Force, Pentagon Defense Police, the San Diego Police Department and the countries of Canada, Germany and Ireland.

Sniper Competition

The focus of the competition is to bring teams together to share battlefield lessons learned, provide training initiatives and ideas and to compete tactically and technically. The competition is preceded by a training symposium.

Public May View Sniper Competition
The competition will take place on firing ranges on Fort Benning and events will be conducted continuously over a 72-hour period. Many of the competition’s events are spectator-friendly. The event is open to the public (for viewing). There is no admission fee and parking is free.

Permalink Competition 1 Comment »
September 4th, 2011

AGI Offers Gunsmithing DVDs for Ruger 10/22s

AGI video 10/22The Ruger 10/22 rimfire rifle is one of the most popular rifles ever made. Over five million 10/22s have been produced by Ruger. The first thing many 10/22 owners do with their new rifles is customize them — swapping stocks, barrels, triggers and other components. While some 10/22 upgrades are simple drop-in operations, it is wise to have some professional guidance when doing more advanced modifications.

To assist Ruger 10/22 customizers, the American Gunsmithing Institute (AGI) now offers a 4-DVD bundle for 10/22 owners. This includes four DVDs demonstrating how to build tricked-out custom 10/22 rifles (and do your own trigger job). Hundreds of different options and accessories are shown. Also included is a complete tutorial on how to convert the rifle from a .22 LR to .17 Mach 2. The four DVD titles in this $149.00 bundle are:

  • Ruger 10/22 Trigger Job (Product ID#3324)
  • Ruger 10/22 Rifles (Product ID#1094)
  • Disassembly/Reassembly of the Ruger 10/22 Rifle (Product ID#7074)
  • Building the Custom Ruger 10/22 Rifle (Product ID#3454)

This 10/22 DVD package from AGI provides over nine hours of video instruction by master gunsmiths. The AGI Custom Ruger 10/22 (Package #5) is available at www.americangunsmith.com for $149.00. Gun Club of America members pay just $119.20.

Permalink Gunsmithing No Comments »
September 3rd, 2011

Surgeon Rifles Sold to Strategic Armory Corps

Surgeon RiflesSurgeon Rifles, the successful action and rifle manufacturer based in Prague, Oklahoma, has been sold to Strategic Armory Corps. The transaction closed on August 19, 2011.

“Both entities worked hard to construct a deal that would be beneficial to both parties and maintain the sterling reputation of Surgeon Rifles,” said Terry Mackin of Generational Equity, a mergers and acquisitions company that brokered the sale. “Surgeon Rifles was an excellent acquisition for Strategic Armory Corps,” added Generational Equity President Ryan Binkley. “Being able to capitalize on Surgeon’s reputation and services truly presents Strategic Armory with a competitive edge in the arms manufacturing industry.”

Preston Pritchett founded Surgeon Rifles near Prague, Oklahoma. Based on input from fellow shooters and friends, Surgeon Rifles manufactures a variety of the highest quality rifles, actions and other accessories for custom hunting and tactical rifle enthusiasts. All Surgeon Rifles and actions are built using the latest and most innovative equipment to ensure quality control and maintain specifications. Pritchett will remain with the Company and assist Strategic Armory in the expansion of its other products and services.

Surgeon Rifles: A Success Story Based on Commitment to Quality

Surgeon RiflesThe story of Surgeon is one of hard work, dedication, and commitment to quality. Surgeon was one of the very first sponsors of this website. This Editor recalls when, some six years ago, Surgeon founder Preston Pritchett called us on the phone and said: “I’ve been building some high quality new actions, and I need to get the word out… can you help?” Well over the next few years, Preston built his company into one of the elite manufacturers of custom actions and tactical rifles. Not willing to just build copies of factory actions, Preston “improved the breed” by including integral recoil lugs and Picatinny scope rails along with other innovative features.

Using state-of-the-art CNC manufacturing technologies, Surgeon actions are built to exacting tolerances, yet they are rugged and “dead nuts” reliable in adverse conditions. We are proud of what Preston and Surgeon Rifles has accomplished in such a short time. Surgeon actions have earned an enviable reputation for outstanding reliability, accuracy, and long-term durability. With Preston continuing as part of the Strategic Armory team, we’re confident that Surgeon Rifles will continue to produce outstanding products.

Surgeon 1581 actions

The 1581 XL Action, at 1.450” wide X 9.5” long, is the largest of the Surgeon line of actions. It features a full-length 30 MOA integral 1913 Picatinny rail, a huge .450″ integral recoil lug, and a large 1-1/8” X 16 tenon thread, which requires the use of a 1.350” diameter barrel.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News No Comments »
September 3rd, 2011

Bruno’s Offers Free Hazmat on 10K Orders of Federal Primers

Free Haz-Mat — that’s right, for a limited time, Bruno Shooters Supply is offering Free Haz-Mat if you purchase at least 10,000 primers (that’s ten 1,000-ct boxes). Bruno’s website states: “We will pay the Hazardous-Materials fee of $25.00 on orders of any 10,000 primers from the below list up to 50 pounds. You may mix and match. Each 1,000 primers weighs approximately one pound. You may also include powder at the regular price to reach your 50-pound weight limit. Shipping charges are additional. Haz-Mat orders ship via FedEx ground and a signature will be required. Offer applies to in-stock items only. No backorders. One offer per order. Please call (623) 587-7641 if you have any questions or concerns before placing your order.”

Bruno Shooters Supply Primer Sale

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hot Deals 2 Comments »
September 3rd, 2011

MidwayUSA Launches Facebook Page and Enhanced Twitter Feed

MidwayUSA facebookMidwayUSA has launched its new Facebook Page and an enhanced Twitter Feed. These online offerings will provide exclusive discounts and special promotions. At the top of MidwayUSA’s Facebook page, you’ll see a “Like” Button. If you click the “Like” button, you get access to exclusive Promo Codes that provide: $10 off a $50 order, $15 off a $100 order, $25 off a $200 order, or $35 off a $300 order.

MidwayUSA’s Larry Potterfield explains: “MidwayUSA has been on YouTube for several years now. I’m excited about our launch into Facebook and Twitter. When we started the business, we’d communicate with our customers through face-to-face conversations or over the phone, but with these new social media channels, we’ll be able to communicate, nearly instantly, [with] more and better information.”

Latest Sales and Promos Listed on Twitter
MidwayUSA will provide “tweets” on current sales and the latest MidwayUSA video releases. Simply log on to http://www.twitter.com/midwayusa to get the latest info. For example, right now MidwayUSA’s Twitter Feed links to a Labor Day Special which runs through September 5 (sale ends at 11:59 pm Central Time). The following Labor Day Special codes provide discounts on regular, in-stock products.

  • $10 off $100 or more – Use Promo Code 191177
  • $25 off $250 or more – Use Promo Code 291177
  • $50 off $500 or more – Use Promo Code 591177
Permalink Hot Deals, News No Comments »
September 2nd, 2011

Seven Money-Saving Tips for Shooters

Let’s face it — economic times are still tough, so it’s important to save money whenever possible. Prices are going up, but wages aren’t following (for most of us). Here are seven ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.

1. Share a Ride to Matches. With gas costing close to $4.00 per gallon in many areas of the country, fuel has become a significant part of an active shooter’s hobby budget. Yet over 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 100 miles roundtrip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’re going to burn nearly $20.00 worth of gas total out and back. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you can cut your fuel expenditures in half.

2. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we regularly highlight important sales, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. By using discount codes when shopping online, you can typically save 10-15% on your purchases. For example, right now Sinclair Int’l is running a Labor Day Promo with discount codes. To find recent discount codes, just type in “Coupon Code” or “Discount” in the search box at the top of this page. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor here, visit RetailMeNot.com and/or SlickGuns.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.

3. Gang Powder and Primer Purchases. Every time you order powder and primers you’ll need to pay a hazardous materials (hazmat) transport fee, which costs $25.00 – $30.00. If you do a joint buy with other shooters, you can ship more powder and primers on a single hazmat fee, effectively reducing your components cost. For example, if you buy 3 pounds of powder at $20/lb with a $25.00 hazmat fee your actual cost (before shipping) is $28.33 per pound. If instead if you buy 30 pounds of powder at $20.00/lb, the actual cost with hazmat is just $20.83 per pound. Moreover, when you buy in bulk, you can usually save significantly on the powder itself. At Powder Valley, one pound of Varget costs $19.75, while an 8-lb jug of Varget costs $139.50 ($17.44/lb).

4. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.

5. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear, approaches $1.00 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast .22LR Wolf Match Extra costs just $0.17 per round and other good rimfire ammo can be purchased for even less. Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 7,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.

6. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are listed on our home page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:

  • Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
  • Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
  • Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
  • Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors

You can find some great deals on complete rifles, optics, and reloading gear in our classifieds. Before purchasing, however, read our Advice to Online Classifieds Shoppers.

7. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. There are some amazing rebates available right now from quality manufacturers such as Bushnell, Leupold, RCBS, Sightron, and Zeiss. You have to be a bit wary because rebates are typically used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates, such as the current RCBS $50.00 rebate, apply to very wide range of merchandise, so it’s hard to go wrong. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging. To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.

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September 2nd, 2011

David Rolls and The Slope Doper

By Dr. Jim Clary

Rolls Slope DoperOne cannot discuss one of the most useful tools for long range shooters, The Slope Doper, without saying something about its inventor, David Rolls. David was a bold man, bigger than life, who dedicated his life to the service of others. Yet, he was full of fun and a little mischief. He had little tolerance of fools (a man after my own heart), but had great respect for those who deserved respect. It was a loss to all when he passed away in August 2008 at the young age of 61. That being said let me tell you of how he lived and what he accomplished with The Slope Doper.

David Rolls’ Background
David worked for years with the Baltimore City Fire Department as a firefighter and paramedic, retiring at 45. Not being content to sit around, he applied for a job with the Sheriff’s Department of Mineral County, West Virginia and graduated from the state police academy. No small feat for a man of any age, let alone one in his forties. David rose to the rank of Sergeant and held that rank until his passing. As a firefighter, paramedic and police officer, he was the kind of man you would want if you were in a tight spot. He never backed down when it came to helping others. Throughout his life he was active in the Boy Scouts and community activities. He was a lifetime member of the NRA holding the status of Golden Eagle and Certified Firearms Instructor.

As a shooter, David was intensely interested in tactical competitions and was a member of the American Sniper Association. Long distance tactical shooters are frequently faced with the problem of making adjustments when shooting uphill or downhill, as well as windage and normal bullet drop. Chucks Hawks provided a superb discussion of the effects of uphill/downhill shooting for the hunter. I strongly urge every reader to look up Chuck’s article to better understand the problem.

Even knowing that we will be shooting over our target (or at best higher than our aiming point), most hunters do not know how to make the required adjustments in the field. Something had to be devised that could be used quickly in the field by the average hunter. Enter David P. Rolls!

Slope Doper Debuts in 1998 at Storm Mountain
After a great deal of thought, David showed up at the Carlos N. Hathcock II Charity Sniper Competition at the Storm Mountain Training Center in 1998 with a prototype of his Slope Doper. It was somewhat crude by comparison to the current day production model, consisting of a laminated paper protractor with a weight and string, but it worked. It allowed a shooter to determine the impact point of his bullet when shooting at any angle. David had succeeded in combining the science of mathematics with the practicality required for field use. It should be noted that military shooters have used protractors for years, but they had to subtract numbers to arrive at the correct angle. Dave’s invention placed the zero degree point at the top of the arc, virtually eliminating the possibility of error. Ever the perfectionist, with an eye to the future, he asked his best friend, Fred Fischer to design a “professional” version with AutoCad, which Fred gladly did. Fred also had contacts with a manufacturer who happened to be a shooter and they were off. Fred still chuckles when he remembers all of the last minute changes that Dave came up with, but at least they had the basic artwork locked into the AutoCad program to go into production. The rest is history.

Rolls Slope Doper

The Quantico marine sniper instructor who was the first military member to see a production version of the Slope Doper (and incidentally a member of the two-man team who won the Carlos Hathcock Sniper Competition) was impressed enough by it to remove his personal protractor from his data book and replace it with the Slope Doper David gave him. The Slope Doper is now standard issue with the Marine Corp sniper weapon system; The Slope Doper is packed with each rifle and its accessories. The pointer is easily replaceable with string and a weight if it is lost and the printing on both sides is actually fire resistant. It is mil spec and made to withstand combat conditions. It is aluminum rather than plastic, so that it will not break in cold conditions.

To understand how the Slope Doper works, it is best for me to let David tell you in his own words:

To begin with, you must understand that when you shoot up or downhill, gravity has a diminished effect on your projectile such that if you do not make any adjustment for angle, you will likely shoot over your target. This applies at long distances (greater than 300 yards) at slight angles and at severe angles (greater than 30 degrees) at lesser distances. With slight angles at short distances the adjustment may not be enough to worry about. The Slope Doper is a photo etched, anodized, aluminum plate that has two scales inscribed along an arc. The first scale tells you the angle in degrees, the inner scale gives you the cosine of the angle (what I call the “Slope Angle Factor”) at 10 degree intervals.

To use the Slope Doper, you must first know the range to your target. Next you have your partner (guide) hold the Slope Doper along side the bore centerline of your rifle while you take aim and read the Slope Angle Factor. If you are alone, you can sight your target along the top edge of the Slope Doper and capture the pointer with your thumb and then read the Slope Angle Factor. If you are not at an exact Slope Angle Factor, it is easy to interpolate. Now take the known distance and multiply that by the Slope Angle Factor. The answer you get is the effective range. You should now shoot as if the actual distance is the lesser distance (at 30 degrees, a Slope Angle Factor of 0.87, 500 yards becomes 435 yards). All other environmental factors, like wind, are still in effect at the actual distance (500 yards of wind is still 500 yards of wind).

To make my life easier, I attached some Velcro to the back of my Slope Doper and on the forend of my rifle. After using my rangefinder for distance, I simply point my rifle at the target, capture the pointer with my thumb, read the Slope Angle Factor, make a quick mental calculation and shoot. If you are an experienced shooter with a scope that has a mil dot reticule, the back of the slope doper has your ranging formulas. The Slope Doper is a must-have for every person who hunts in mountainous country, from the Appalachians to the Rockies. It will help prevent you from missing your quarry. It is a bargain when compared to the $300 – $500 we pay for our rangefinders and binoculars. You can purchase the Slope Doper directly from the Slope Doper Website for $24.95 plus $5.00 shipping (PayPal or mail-order). U.S. Tactical Supply also sells the Slope Doper for $24.95.

A final note: I was watching the Outdoor Channel last week and watched a hunter on a ridge shoot over a 6×6 bull elk in the valley below. The elk disappeared, and the show ended with the hunter and guide talking about the thrill of the chase, even though they missed the elk. Good for public relations, but not so good for the freezer. They should have had The Slope Doper!

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September 1st, 2011

Sinclair Labor Day Promotion Starts Today — Save 10%

Sinclair Int’l is running a Labor Day Promotion that starts today, September 1, and runs through September 6, 2011. Use the Promo Codes when shopping online, and you can save up to 10% off your order. There are three codes (but you may use only one per order):

$15 Off $150 — Use Code DHJ | $20 Off $200 — Use Code DHL | $25 Off $250 — Use Code DHN


Labor Day Sinclair Discount Codes

Story Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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September 1st, 2011

Major Handgun Championships Set for September and October

It’s time for pistol shooters to load up plenty of ammo and book their plane tickets. Three major pistol championships are scheduled to take place in the next five weeks. The USPSA, IDPA, and IPSC are all holding big events, starting in mid-September.

STI Grand Master Pistol

First the USPSA National Handgun Championships will be held September 16-24 at the Desert Sportsman’s Rifle & Pistol Club in Las Vegas. We’ve shot at that range, tucked in the foothills on the northwest side of Las Vegas. It is a large, well-equipped facility. But it is also a dry, dusty location that can be hot as Hades in September. Bring plenty of water (along with plenty of ammo). Leading up to the USPSA Nationals, the USPSA has scheduled three of its eight regional championships over the first two weekends of September. This ensures competitors will be primed and ready for the National Championships.

On September 21-24, the IDPA will conduct its first-ever World Championship Match at the Universal Shooting Academy in Frostproof, Florida. Because it does not require (or permit) expensive custom “race-guns”, IDPA competition has become very popular. IDPA matches emphasize the use of cover and other “practical” defensive techniques. The idea behind IDPA was to provide a competitive discipline which allowed shooters to perfect their skills with the actual guns they carry or use for home defense. The IDPA expects a big turn-out in Florida, including shooters from a dozen or more foreign countries.

Unfortunately, the IDPA World Championship will over-lap the last four days of the USPSA Nationals. Some shooters hope to compete in both events. In order to allow this, the USPSA and IDPA have worked out a compromise. The Shooting Wire reports: “The [scheduling conflic] was more a result of a lack-of-communication comedy of errors. Each organization announced their championship dates within a short time of each other — and quickly discovered the problem. But Robert Ray at IDPA and Michael Voigt, president of USPSA, quickly worked out a compromise. Shooters competing in USPSA’s Limited and Production division nationals in Vegas on September 21-24 will be allowed to shoot through the match in order to fly out to Florida and compete in the IDPA World Championship.”

Greece Hosts IPSC World Shoot in October on Rhodes
The IPSC World Shoot XVI in Greece, takes place October 3-8, 2011 at the Kalamonas Shooting Range, on the island of Rhodes. This is a huge event — over 1,000 shooters are expected to attend. There will be five (5) divisions, based on handgun type: Open, Modified, Standard, Revolver and Production. In addition, awards will be handed out to five (5) categories of shooters within each division: Overall, Lady, Junior, Senior and Super Senior. The IPSC World Shoot features some spectacular stages based on Greek history and mythology. These include the Labyrinth Stage and the water-filled Colossus of Rhodes Stage, both shown below.

CLICK HERE for information about the Greek island of Rhodes, with map.

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September 1st, 2011

Firearm Sales Tax Holiday in Louisiana: September 2-4

Louisiana Sales Tax HolidayLousiana has a once-a-year Sales Tax relief program we wish all the other states would emulate. Wouldn’t it be great if California, Pennsylvania, Texas and other major gun markets had a Second Amendment Tax Holiday? For a few days each year, Louisiana waives all the sales tax on firearms, ammunition, reloading components, and hunting gear. The 2011 Second Amendment Weekend Sales Tax Holiday takes place Friday, September 2, through Sunday, September 4, 2011.

During these three days, eligible items (for individual use) are exempt from all state and local sales taxes in Louisiana. In Louisiana, eligible items include:

• Accessories designed to be used for hunting.
• Shotguns, rifles, pistols, revolvers, or other handguns.
• Ammunition intended to be fired from a gun or firearm is eligible.
• Animal feed for consumption by game which can be legally hunted.
• Apparel such as safety gear, camouflage clothing, jackets, hats, gloves, mittens, face masks and thermal underwear for use while hunting;
• Off-road vehicles such as all terrain vehicles designed for hunting. The exemption does not apply to golf carts, bikes, motorcycles, tractors, or motor vehicles which may be legally driven on highways.

So if you live in Louisiana, enjoy your tax break, starting Friday September 2nd! For the full list of eligible items and special provisions of the Louisiana sales tax holiday, visit www.revenue.louisiana.gov/secondamendment. NOTE: Louisiana is not the only state with such a program. South Carolina has held Second Amendment Tax Holidays in the past, and other states are considering the idea.

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