January 27th, 2012

Accuracy Int’l Updated AX PSRII Rifle — Tooley Reports

Noted gunsmith Dave Tooley saw our coverage of Accuracy International (AI) “Skins” in the Daily Bulletin, and he wanted to inform our readers about updates to AI’s AX line of rifles.

Updated 2012 AI AX Rifle for PSRII
Dave wrote: “As you know I do AI’s smithing in this country. Attached is a picture of the latest version of the AX rifle. This is what was submitted to SOCOM for PSRII the first of January. AI has incorporated a right-hand hinge to make the rifle more compact when folded. There are some other major improvements. First, the way the rails lock up on the tube now completely eliminates any chance of movement (that’s important for lasers and other things). The buttstock is now considerably lighter than the older version, and it now uses simple knobs on the cheekpiece, the LOP adjustment, and the adjustable recoil pad. I think the knobs are more user-friendly than push-buttons.”

CLICK for FULL-SCREEN Photo
Accuracy International PSRII 2012

New Barrel Swap Kit
The most significant improvement to the AX, according to Tooley, is the ability for the operator to change barrels with minimal tools. Tooley explains: “The complete barrel change tool-kit is one 4mm Allen wrench stored in the cheek piece. If you look at the picture you will see a screw about midway under the receiver. Loosen two captured screws under the forearm and the tube comes off. Then loosen the screw under the receiver and unscrew the barrel. This is dead simple and it works. I’ve tested six rifles with a total of 10 barrels and there were no issues. This is a great precision sniper rifle.”

Accuracy International PSRII 2012

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January 27th, 2012

Hyskore’s New “Bench Beast” Linked Front/Rear Rifle Rest

Editor’s NOTE: Though the product has some shortcomings, we wanted to show you guys the Hyskore Bench Beast Coaxial Competition Rest because it has some interesting engineering features (such as the scissors-jack primary elevator). The front bag holder won’t accept very wide fore-ends, and the high sides of the rear rest compromise your ability to get in close to the gun and work the rear controls while aiming. Still, there are few integrated front/rear rests on the market, so we thought you’d want to see this new offering from Hyskore.

At SHOT Show 2012, Hyskore unveiled an combined front/rear mechanical rest system appropriately named the Bench Beast. The front rest has a coaxial-type control activated by a long, angled joystick. Hyskore claims the joystick control provides 110 MOA adjustment for both windage and elevation.

For gross elevation changes, this contraption uses a scissors-jack type lift in the front that is definitely industrial in origin. In fact, the Bench Beast looks like something made in a Latvian tractor factory. But this may be useful for someone who wants a linked front and rear mechanical rest that can support a very heavy rifle (50 lbs. or more). It looks like the max width in the front is limited to 3″ so this would not work with a super-wide stock without modification. Too bad. Moreover, the front bag supplied with the Bench Beast is designed for narrow, hunter-style fore-ends. Even to run a 3″-wide gun, you’ll need to purchase an aftermarket bag. While Hyskore calls this a “competition rest”, the Bench Beast is not really set up for competition rifles.

About $500.00 for Combined Front and Rear Rests
The front and rear units can be purchased separately. Exact pricing is not yet set, but the front section should cost about $300, with the rear priced about $200.00. People should note, however, that, if you have full windage and elevation adjustment in the rear, you really only need gross height control in the front (to get on target). With a good rear rest, all the fine windage and elevation adjustment can be done from the rear, and, because of the geometry, a little bit goes a long way. It would be interesting to combine the Bench Beast’s rear unit with a simple (non-joystick) front pedestal rest.

Design Concerns
We’re intrigued with the Bench Beast’s rear unit, since there are few mass-produced, mechanical rear rests on the market. However, we have some concerns about the footprint, height, and overall size of the rear unit (SEE video 1:00-1:10). Ideally, a rear mechanical rest should allow the shooter to tuck in comfortably beside the gun. The Bench Beast has fat control knobs and tall support shafts placed far out from the centerline, on the extreme edges of the rear base.

While the wide rear base provides a solid platform, the outboard support columns and control knobs, we believe, make it difficult for the shooter to position his upper body close to the gun.

The main rear rest control knobs are also not conveniently placed. Look at the video carefully. Better rear rests have the controls further forward and closer to the centerline where they can be easily reached by the shooter’s non-trigger-pulling hand, in a comfortable shooting position. That way a right-handed shooter can easily use his left hand to work the controls while viewing the target through the scope, and holding the rifle grip with his right hand. We like the idea of an affordable rear mechanical rest, but we think the rear section of the Bench Beast would benefit from a major redesign.

Permalink Competition, New Product 2 Comments »
January 27th, 2012

MidwayUSA’s 35th Master Catalog Digital Edition Now Available

MidwayUSA’s Master Catalog has been the “magnum opus” of gun gear catalogs. Over 1,000 pages long, the Master Catalog includes more than 100,000 products. This year, the 35th Annual MidwayUSA Master Catalog is available is a convenient PDF Digital Edition. There are over 1,040 pages in this new digital edition, complete with color photographs, firearm schematics, reference charts, detailed product information, and an extensive index to help you find exactly what you need. You can even download these files to your tablet, laptop, or smartphone.

Download the 200mb digital edition by visiting MidwayUSA’s Catalog Center. Scroll down the page until you see Click to Download the Entire Catalog in the lower left. We’ve tried out the 35th Annual Master Catalog loaded on an iPad and it’s very handy. It’s nice to have it on the iPad drive, so you can access the complete inventory of gear and reloading components even without an active web connection.

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