June 10th, 2012

Remington-Bushmaster 2012 Long Range Regional Championship

The Remington-Bushmaster 2012 Long Range Regional Championship was held at Reade Range in Fallen Timbers, Pennsylvania on June 1, 2, and 3. We had a great turn out of over 60 shooters. Half of these shooters showed up on Friday to participate in the practice and team match. The weather had other plans for the shooters though and the second half of the team match was rained out.

Reade Remington Long Range RegionalSaturday started off sunny, but cool and windy, with 62 shooters registering in Sling (43), F-TR (7) and F-Open (12). Pit service was provided by the Boy Scouts, and had a rocky start. With the help of some shooter volunteers, pit operations smoothed out throughout the day and the first three 1000-yard Matches ran without incident. The wind pretty much held a steady 2 MOA left throughout the day, and some high scores were fired.

After the Saturday matches were finished and daily scores posted, Bryan Litz conducted a wind clinic, and then the Reade Range Staff provided a wonderful meal of ca-bobs, salads, fresh fruit and beverages. Then came the prize raffle. Over 50 prizes were raffled off, including a Vortex Spotting Scope, gift certificates, and other merchandise items worth over $6000.

Sunday morning started off overcast and the same wind as the day before. Conditions remained constant and the pits ran smoother than ever with more volunteers helping the scout troops. Rain was forecasted to start at 3:00 pm so the shooters were eager to move through the matches and beat the rain. Mission accomplished, as a cease fire was called just before 3:00 pm, ending the last match. Scores were quickly figured and awards were promptly given. Bryan Litz, of Applied Ballistics LLC, announced the winners of each individual match, Tom Ferraro announced the aggregate match winners, and finally Ken Roxburgh presented the winners with guns on behalf of Remington-Bushmaster. The rain showed up as the final name was announced.

Bryan Litz remarked: “We would like to thank everyone who participated in this match and all of those who helped make it a great weekend. We are looking forward to seeing everyone again next year!”

Reade Remington Long Range Regional

Final Scores:
Sling Class F-TR F-Open
1st: Bryan Litz 1194-70 1st: James Crofts 1141-27 1st: Don Nagel 1172-41
2nd: Trevor Hengehold 1190-65 2nd: Brad Sauve 1134-25 2nd: Bob Woodward 1169-49
3rd: Jon Howell 1188-60 3rd: William Litz 1122-19 3rd: Jim Murphy 1159-38
Gun Winners by Gun Class:

High Palma: Bill Bowers 1180-43
Any/Iron: Bryan Litz 598-36
Any/Any: Jon Howell (pictured) 597-35
Jr. Any/Iron: Tommy Ferraro 557-12
Jr. Any/Any: Joe Hendricks Jr. 571-14

High Grand Senior: David Brantner 1164-42
High Senior: Gerry Sanders 1179-47
High F-TR: James Crofts 1141-27
High F-Open: Don Nagel 1172-41

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
June 10th, 2012

USA Olympic Shooters to Train in Denmark Before London Games

Copenhagen Shooting Society Team USAAmerican Olympic Shooters will be able to train together as a team in Europe prior to the 2012 London Olympic Games, thanks to a contribution from Dallas Safari Club (DSC). With DSC funding, the USA Shooting Team has secured exclusive use of a shooting range in Denmark for a pre-Olympic Games Training Camp. Prior to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, the USA Shooting Team conducted a similar camp in Korea. That move was considered a key factor behind the team’s successful showing with six medals, 12 top-5 finishes and two Olympic records. Hopefully, the Training Camp in Denmark can likewise help our shooters in their Olympic quest.

Copenhagen Shooting Society Team USAImmediately before the London Games, which begin July 27, the range in Copenhagen, Denmark, will be specifically dedicated for use by the USA Shooting Team for training around the clock in a distraction-free environment. In addition, the camp will be used to enhance team unity and commodore as well as solidify the athlete support structure.

The partnership between DSC and USA Shooting has been building for several years. DSC has provided pivotal funding to help underwrite the cost of sending emerging elite junior athletes to the World Shooting Championships and the World Clay Target Championships. With this support, USA junior team members won 10 individual medals and 10 team medals.

“We’re especially grateful for the support that Dallas Safari Club continues to provide the USA Shooting Team,” said Buddy DuVall, executive director of the USA Shooting Team Foundation. “With [the] boost they’re providing for our London-bound athletes, DSC has been a valuable team member and is raising our competitive abilities.”

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
June 10th, 2012

Keep Your Ammo Cool in Insulated Multi-Purpose Carry Pack

It’s vitally important to keep your ammo at “normal” temps during the hot summer months. Even if you use “temp-insensitive” powders, studies suggest that pressures can still rise dramatically when the entire cartridge gets hot, possibly because of primer heating. It’s smart to keep your loaded ammo in an insulated storage unit, possibly with a Blue Ice Cool Pak if you expect it to get quite hot. Don’t leave your ammo in the car or truck — temps can exceed 140° in a vehicle parked in the sun.

NorChill Cooler bagInsulated Case Does Double-Duty
Standard plastic coolers work fine, but if you don’t want to borrow the family’s food carriers, consider this Norchill insulated Cooler Bag. When not used to keep your ammo cool, the 7″ wide x 12″ high x 14″ long small Norchill Bag doubles as a gear carrier. Norchill bags feature dual-temp insulation and a waterproof inner liner. With side-zip compartments, Norchill Cooler Bags are more versatile than typical plastic coolers. These Norchill cooler bags are soft, collapsible and can be rolled up to fit into your carry on luggage. When not in use for ammo, they can be used to as a suitcase, or carry bag for cameras, optics, and electronic gear.

Norchill Bags come in three sizes and a variety of colors. Price starts at $39.99 for the small bag (12-can capacity) is $39.99. The 10″x12″x18″ medium bag has double the capacity (24 cans) and costs $49.99. There is also a jumbo 48-can capacity bag, 13″x13″x21″. But this is probably more capacity than you’d ever need.

Ammo cool storage

Bosch Insulated tool caseTo learn more about how ambient temperature (and primer choice) affect pressures (and hence velocities) you should read the article Pressure Factors: How Temperature, Powder, and Primer Affect Pressure by Denton Bramwell. In that article, the author uses a pressure trace instrument to analyze how temperature affects ammo performance. Bramwell’s tests yielded some fascinating results.

For example, barrel temperature was a key factor: “Both barrel temperature and powder temperature are important variables, and they are not the same variable. If you fail to take barrel temperature into account while doing pressure testing, your test results will be very significantly affected. The effect of barrel temperature is around 204 PSI per F° for the Varget load. If you’re not controlling barrel temperature, you about as well might not bother controlling powder temperature, either. In the cases investigated, barrel temperature is a much stronger variable than powder temperature.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 2 Comments »
June 9th, 2012

6BR Shines at 500 Yards with PacNor Barrel

You don’t hear much about PacNor barrels in long-range competition, but FORUM member Wes J (aka P1ZombieKiller), proved that they can shoot “lights-out” in a rig assembled by a talented gunsmith. Wes tells us: “Since I restocked my 6BR more than a year ago, I have not had a chance to shoot it much since I have been playing the 100-200 game. Well, last week I decided to take it out and do some playing at 500 yards. I have to give some serious props to my buddy (and fellow FORUM member) ‘PREACHER’ who did the chambering and barrel work for me. He can certainly make a gun shoot good. The barrel is a PacNor 1:8″ twist. My load was 105gr Berger VLDs pushed by 29.6 grains of Varget.” The five-round, 500-yard group shot by Wes J with his 6BR, measured just 1.240″, as measured by OnTarget software. Now that’s one accurate rig!

6BR PacNor

6BR PacNor

This Editor knows something about the potential of a PacNor barrel. I have a 3-groove stainless PacNor SuperMatch on my trusty Savage-actioned 6BR. This barrel shoots quarter-MOA or better in calm conditions, and it cleans up super-easy. The interior finish is so good, I’ve never had to brush the bore or use abrasives, and after 750 rounds it shoots as well as ever. I attribute the easy cleaning to the fact the lands in a PacNor 3-groove are wide and flat, so they are gentle on bullet jackets. I think accuracy is helped by the fact that PacNors run on the tight side (0.236 land dimension) with a good amount of choke. That works well with the 105gr Lapua Scenars and 103gr Spencers I like to shoot. You can read more about my rifle, nick-named the “Poor Man’s Hammer”, in this Feature Article from our archives. In its last outing the Poor Mans’ Hammer put 3 shots in under 0.200″ (measured center to center) at TWO Hundred yards. If you get a good one, PacNor three-grooves can definitely shoot.

OnTarget SoftwareTarget Measurement with OnTarget Software
We used OnTarget software to measure the 5-shot group in the target above. This easy to use software is very repeatable, once you get a feel for plotting the shots. The basic version 1.10 of OnTarget is FREE, while there’s a modest $11.99 registration fee for version 2.10. In addition to group size (in inches), OnTarget plots distance to aiming point, and the software automatically calculates the group’s vertical height, horizontal dispersion, average to center (ATC), and group size in MOA.

You can run a measurement on a scanned target or a photo of a target. You’ll need some known reference to set the scale correctly. The target above had a one-inch grid so it was easy to set the scale. Once you’ve set the scale and selected bullet diameter and target distance, you simply position the small circles over each bullet hole and the OnTarget software calculates everything automatically, displaying the data in a data box superimposed over the target image. To learn more about OnTarget Software, read AccurateShooter.com’s OnTarget Product Review. This article covers all the basics as well as some advanced “power user” tips.

Permalink Gunsmithing 6 Comments »
June 9th, 2012

‘My First Gun’ Website Debuts June 11, 2012

My First Gun websiteWe all have friends or acquaintances who are just getting started in the shooting sports. These newcomers are often overwhelmed with questions: “What gun do I buy… What gear do I need… How should I begin my training?”. With the upcoming launch of the MyFirstGun.net, new shooters can soon access a dedicated website that can provide answers to all these questions.

Ranks of New Shooters Are Growing
Since the year 2008 the numbers of first-time gun buyers, particularly in the handgun market, have risen dramatically. Thousands upon thousands of men and women are purchasing or considering purchasing their first gun.

Set to launch on Monday, June 11, 2012, MyFirstGun.net is an online resource specifically designed to assist the recent gun buyer or someone who is about to make that decision. The new website will feature numerous instructional articles, plus many training videos hosted by professional firearms instructor Paul Markel. Topics will include foundational material such as choosing the correct gun for the task, understanding handgun actions, ammunition choices, seeking professional training and practice. My First Gun can be accessed at www.myfirstgun.net or www.firstimegunbuyer.net.

NOTE: You can bookmark MyFirstGun.net in advance. However, the website is still two days from launch — so the links in this article may not be active before June 11, 2012. Just be patient. MyFirstGun.net will “open its doors” on Monday the 11th.

Smith Wesson model 617 4 inchFirst Handgun Choice — This Editor believes that a very good choice for a first handgun is a Smith & Wesson .22 LR revolver, such as the S&W model 617. The model 617 is extremely accurate, with a very crisp trigger (in single-action mode), and good sights.

You can learn all the fundamentals with this ultra-reliable handgun, shooting inexpensive .22LR ammo. The model 617 is rugged, durable, and can give you a lifetime of shooting fun. Once you have mastered the basics of shooting with a .22 LR, you can move on to larger caliber handguns suitable for self-defense. Below is a slide-show illustrating a S&W model 617 ten-shot, with 6″ barrel. S&W also makes a 4″-barrel version of this revolver. (See: Shooting Demo Video with 4″ model 617.)

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June 8th, 2012

High-Tech Benchrest Stocks from Roy Hunter and Terry Leonard

James Mock spotted some impressive new benchrest stocks at the recent Super Shoot. James told us: “Your readers may be interested in pictures of some striking stocks I saw at the Super Shoot. The purple one on the left belongs to Greg King. It is an HV with BAT action that has been coated and features a maple/carbon fiber laminated stock by Terry Leonard. Terry stained it purple (under the epoxy) at the request of Greg. The tuner was made by Sid Goodling.”

Terry Leonard can be reached at (423) 323-9327. Terry told us that a stock like this (tinted or natural wood colors) would typically run $1250.00 to $1300.00.

Terry Leonard stock Roy Hunter Stock

James Mock also spotted a handsome Walnut composite stock made by Roy Hunter. James writes: “The rifle on the right belongs to Sid Goodling (that’s Sid holding it), and it also features a BAT action. The rifle is a Light Varmint with a composite stock made from Balsa, English Walnut, and Carbon Fiber. The creator of this beautiful stock is Roy Hunter. Sid told me that a custom stock like this from Roy would cost about $1150.00. This is in line with other wooden composite stocks.” NOTE: The barrel on Sid’s gun is 21.5″. It may appear short because Roy Hunter builds his stocks “about 2″ longer than standard” according to Goodling. For more information on this rifle, contact Sid Goodling at www.GoodlingRifles.com.

Terry Leonard stock Roy Hunter Stock

Stock-Maker Roy Hunter Learned to Work Wood as a Master Furniture Craftsman
Although Terry Leonard is well-known to the BR community, Roy Hunter is a newcomer to the stock-making trade. But make no mistake — Roy is a highly-skilled craftsman who knows how to create both functional and beautiful stocks. This man knows his wood — Roy is an experienced furniture-maker who specializes in classic furniture of the 1700s and 1800s. Roy Hunter can be reached by phone at: (410) 259-7944.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
June 8th, 2012

Hi-Lux Externally-Adjusting 8X Scope for Vintage Military Rifles

Last fall we announced that Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics would be adding an 8X Unertl-type scope to its William Malcolm Series of externally-adjusting riflescopes. Well, the wait is finally over folks. The Hi-Lux Malcolm 8X USMC-Sniper Scope is now in stock and on sale at Creedmoor Sports for $549.00. This should prove quite popular with Vintage Sniper Rifle Match competitors. The new USMC repro scope duplicates the original windage and elevation controls on the 50s/60s-era USMC scope — but the new Hi-Lux offers modern multi-coated lenses.

Hi-Lux Malcom USMC - Sniper Unertl 8x scope

Scopes of this design, with micrometer click external adjustment, were once favored by long range shooters. The Marine Corps utilized this style of externally-adjusting scope on sniper rifles during WWII, Korea, and the early stages of the Vietnam conflict. Today, a mint-condition, original USMC-marked scope can sell for as much as $5,000. And with the current interest in vintage sniper rifles, just a working standard model Unertl scope in good condition can still bring $2,000 or more.

With its $549.00 price at Creedmoor Sports, the Hi-Lux USMC-Sniper repro scope is far more affordable than a serviceable original. Like all Leatherwood/Hi-Lux Optics, the Wm. Malcolm USMC-Sniper model comes backed with a limited lifetime warranty. Each 8X USMC-Sniper repro scopes will be serial numbered — as were the original USMC models. Leatherwood/Hi-Lux also sells a variety of long-tube, external-adjusting scopes that are quite popular with BPCR shooters and vintage rifle fans.

Permalink New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
June 8th, 2012

Monthly Gun Sales 20.6% Higher than Same Month Last Year

Based on data from the National Instant-Check System (NICS), gun sales continue to rise. Halfway through this election year, the number of guns sold continues to climb, and the trend is expected to continue throughout 2012. The May 2012 NSSF-adjusted National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) figure of 840,412 represents an increase of 20.6% over the NSSF-adjusted NICS figure of 696,947 in May 2011*. For comparison, the unadjusted May 2012 NICS figure of 1,305,392 reflects a 7% increase from the unadjusted NICS figure of 1,219,872 in May 2011. This marks the 24th straight month that NSSF-adjusted NICS figures have increased compared to the same period the previous year.

NSSF May Month NICs gun sales

With President Obama’s campaign looking strong at this time, Americans are stocking up on guns and ammo in anticipation of new gun-control legislation that could be enacted during the next 4-year Presidential term. In addition, there is the possibility that the next President could nominate one or more Supreme Court Justices to replace aging members of the High Court. That creates uncertainty about future rulings on Second Amendment issues.

*Though not a direct correlation to firearms sales, the NSSF-adjusted NICS data provide a more accurate picture of current market conditions. In addition to other purposes, NICS is used to check transactions of firearms sales and transfers on new and used handguns and long guns.
Permalink News No Comments »
June 6th, 2012

New Product: High-Quality PT&G Bolt Heads for Savage Bolts

Pacific Tool & Gauge, has an outstanding new product, a precision-machined replacement bolt head for Savages. This product, available in a variety of bolt face sizes for $49.99 per unit, can benefit nearly everyone who shoots Savage bolt guns.

Pacific Tool PTG Savage Bolt Head

CLICK HERE for Full Product Review of PT&G Savage Bolt Head

When visiting German Salazar’s excellent Rifleman’s Journal website, we were pleased to see a recent, in-depth review of the PT&G Replacement Bolt Head for Savage Bolts. Written by Norm Darnell, this detailed review explains the benefits of the PT&G replacements, compared to the standard Savage bolt heads. After polishing, the factory bolt head can become slightly dished. According to Darnell: “The area around the firing pin hole sometimes has an indentation deep enough to allow the primer to flow into this void. This makes an unsightly blemish on a fired primer and can lead to hard extraction or worse. One [Savage] rifle I inspected had a continuing problem with pierced primers despite reasonably mild loads[.]” Even after machining the factory bolt face to make it flat, Darnell encountered problems: “The firing pin hole seemed to wear excessively which was of some concern. Material strength of the investment-cast bolt head* appears to be the source of these recurring problems.”

Pacific Tool PTG Savage Bolt Head

After testing out PT&G replacement bolt heads, Darnell found that his problems were solved. With the PT&G replacement bolt head, “the cartridge case heads and primers indicated no case-head rounding or primer damage”. Darnell was convinced, so he proceeded to fit PT&B bolt heads “on all three of my 308 bolts and one 223 with one spare bolt of each.” It appears that PT&G has a winner here — a smart, affordable new product that remedies a commonly-observed problem with factory Savage bolt heads.

* In the article, author Darnell writes that Savage factory bolt heads are investment cast. Fred Moreo of Sharp Shooter Supply says this is not correct: “Savage bolt heads were NEVER investment cast. From the get-go they were machined from solid stock. In 1988 they went to special profiled 41L40 bar stock to save machining operations and heat treated to 35-42 RC.”

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 9 Comments »
June 6th, 2012

State Dept. Policy Shift May Allow Return of So. Korean Garands

In 2009, to raise money for its defense budget, the Korean Defense Ministry announced plans to sell 87,000 M1 Garands to American collectors. Initially, it looked like there was a “green light” for the return of these historic arms, which were originally provided to South Korea by the American government. The rifles’ return was widely anticipated by American military rifle match shooters and gun collectors.

However, in March of 2010, the State Department blocked importation of the South Korean M1 Garands based on the expressed fear that the rifles would fall into the wrong hands. According to FoxNews.com, a State Department spokesman said that: “The transfer of such a large number of weapons … could potentially be exploited by individuals seeking firearms for illicit purposes.”

State Department Apparently Will No Longer Block Return of South Korean Garands
It looks like the State Department may have reversed itself. In response to pressure from Senator Jon Tester of Montana, the State Department now says that it will allow South Korea to return the rifles, once a qualified importer is selected. Sen. Tester’s office asserts that “the rifles will be sold in the U.S. through the Civilian Marksmanship Program” (CMP), which has sold many thousands of other surplus M1 Garands.

Sen. Tester declared: “From World War II to Korea and Vietnam, M1 Garand rifles played a crucial role in history. These American-made firearms will always be valued as collector’s items, and law-abiding Americans have the right to keep them under our Constitution’s Second Amendment. I’m glad the State Department listened to my concerns and those of America’s gun collectors.”

South Korean M1 Garand CMP

CMP States It Will NOT Sell Commercially Imported Garands
Senator Tester’s office has said the CMP will sell the Korean Garands. However, if the South Korean Garands are imported commercially, and NOT simply returned to the U.S. Army, it appears that these rifles would not be able to be sold or distributed by the CMP. Orest Michaels, CMP Chief Operating Officer, explained that the CMP would not re-sell commercially imported rifles:

“The CMP is not a firearms importer and we would not have any involvement of any kind in anything that may happen with these Korean rifles and carbines if they were ‘sold’ to an importer. The only way any rifle or carbine from any country can find its way to the CMP is if the country returns ‘loaned’ rifles back to the U.S. Army — at no cost to the U.S.[.] When that happens, the CMP ‘may’ possibly receive some of those rifles. Korea does not plan on returning (repatriating) any rifles to the U.S. Army, but plans to ‘sell’ these rifles to an importer. According to the recent news and rumors, the U.S. State Dept. has agreed to allow Korea to sell the rifles, even though the U.S. Army claimed the rifles and carbines should be returned to the U.S. Army at no cost. CMP will not have any involvement in this.” Michaels added: “There is no need to wait for the Korean Garands to make a purchase. CMP has plenty of M1 Garands for sale now.”

We commend the State Department for reversing its misguided policy blocking return of these historic arms. We wonder if this reversal can be attributed in large part to Tester’s efforts in Washington. After the State Department blocked the rifle’s sale in 2010, Tester drafted legislation blocking Executive-branch interference with importation of American-made guns that were originally provided to a foreign government. Tester, Chairman of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, also led efforts in the U.S. Senate to block U.S. funding to promote the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty.

Permalink New Product, News 3 Comments »
June 5th, 2012

ORNL Builds Reticle-Compensating Sight with Laser Barrel Sensor

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have developed a system that uses lasers and fiber optics to measure very small changes (deflections) in a rifle barrel. These deflections are recorded with laser sensors, and then algorithms are used to compute the resultant changes in bullet trajectory. Using computer-calculated trajectories, the digital sighting system’s “virtual” reticle automatically adjusts to compensate for barrel deflection, as well as changing environmental conditions. The microprocessor-controlled digital reticle can adjust to 1/1000th of a Minute of Angle (MOA). That makes it far more precise than any conventional riflescope reticle.

ORNL Barrel Sensor with Compensating Reticle
Shown below is a laboratory prototype of Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor. This system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically makes the necessary corrections. The system was developed by a team led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Slobodan Rajic, shown in the photo.

Oak Ridge Barrel sensorThe Reticle Compensating Rifle Barrel Reference Sensor takes the guesswork out of shooting by shifting the burden of knowing the relative position between the barrel and the weapon sight axes from the shooter to an electronic sensor. The system precisely measures the deflection of the barrel relative to the sight and then electronically realigns the moving reticle, or crosshairs, with the true position of the barrel, or bore axis.

“When a weapon is sighted in, the aim point and bullet point of impact coincide,” Rajic said. “However, in the field, anything that comes into contact with the barrel can cause perturbation of the barrel and induce errors.”

With modern high-caliber rifles boasting ranges of up to two miles, even very small barrel disruptions can cause a shooter to miss by a wide margin. That makes this technology indispensable from a marksman’s perspective, Rajic said.

From a technological standpoint, the approach is straightforward. ORNL starts with fluted barrels (the flutes play a key role). With the ORNL technology, glass optical fibers are placed into the flutes. The sensor system contains a laser diode that sends a signal beam into the optical fibers parallel to the bore axis of the barrel.

“The optical fibers are designed to split the laser beam twice, sending one beam along the top of the rifle barrel and another light beam along the side of the barrel,” Rajic said. “Thus, we can measure both the vertical and horizontal barrel deflection.”

Through a combination of algorithms, optics and additional sensor inputs, the system can take into account distance and other factors affecting the bullet trajectory. Ultimately, the whole optical/laser/digital system provides the shooter with crosshairs that automatically adjust for conditions in real time.

A Compensating Reticle with 1/1000 MOA Precision
Skeptics of electronic sighting systems have complained that the resolution of a digital rifle-sight is too crude to allow precise aiming. There simply aren’t enough pixels on a viewscreen to allow ultra-precise aiming at long-range targets, shooters have said. In fairness, the existing commercially-available digital rifle sighting systems HAVE been crude — with a lo-rez screens like you might find in a portable GPS.

Well you can forget all that. ORCL has achieved a break-through in digital sighting. The bar has been raised — by an order of magnitude. The resolution of ORNL’s digital, sensor-informed Compensating Reticle is 125 times better than that of traditional target reticles, which can normally be adjusted by one-eighth Minute of Angle (MOA) (at best). Now get this — the ORNL sensor can sense angular displacement and shift the reticle by 1/1,000th of a minute of angle. While this system is expensive, and designed (at this point) for the military, this technology could eventually benefit sport shooters. A decade from now, we would not be surprised if long-range civilian shooters commonly use electronically-enhanced optics, with digital reticles that automatically compensate for bullet drop (and maybe even windage).

ORNL scientists are also working on technology that could yield much more precise and accurate plots of bullet trajectories. We will no longer have to rely on “guesstimated” data inputs, and certain assumptions about bullet drag factors. Rajic and colleagues are developing a laser-based, bullet tracking system that would record plot the bullet’s actual flight path while the bullet is in the air. In other words, this tracking system would be able to plot the bullet’s true trajectory from muzzle to target. That is much differerent than current ballistic “solvers” which merely draw a predicted arc based on muzzle velocity, wind and temp inputs, and a reference BC value.

Oak Ridge National Laboratory is a multi-program science and technology laboratory managed for the U.S. Department of Energy by UT-Battelle, LLC. Over 3000 scientists and engineers at ORNL conduct basic and applied research and development to create scientific knowledge and new technology in key areas of science, energy, the environment, and national security.

Permalink - Articles, New Product, Optics 7 Comments »
June 4th, 2012

Coming Up: Father’s Day and Take Your Daughter to Range Day

Every year, the third Sunday in June is Fathers’ Day. In 2012 this is June 17, so mark your calendars. If your father enjoys the shooting sports, we suggest planning a day at the range with him. And if you’re looking for a gift that will surely be appreciated, consider a Sinclair Int’l Gift Card. These are available in a variety of money values, and Sinclair can mail them directly to your father’s residence. If you’re running short on time, you can get an “eGift Card” sent directly to you father via email. Click the link below to learn more about Sinclair Gift Cards.

Sinclair Int'l Gift Card

Take Your Daughter to the Range Day
This month, along with Father’s Day, there’s another special day to mark on your calendar. June 9th, 2012 is National Take Your Daughter to the Range Day. This is a great way to spend “quality time” with your daughter, and teach her the basics of firearms safety.

Daughters Range Day Shooting

The organizers of this event explain: “Boys learn to shoot in Scouts, or with their Dads. Often the girls are left behind, because shooting isn’t ‘girly.’ Well, young ladies can, and do, shoot, and they often do it very well indeed. Learning to shoot gives young women confidence, helps to build self-esteem, and introduces them to a sport they can participate in their whole lives. This event will promote firearms safety and education, as well as family bonding through participation in an exciting and fun sport.”

Permalink News, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
June 3rd, 2012

Crimson Trace Offers Free Batteries for Life on Laser Sights

Crimson Trace Free BatteriesCrimson Trace (CTC) is extending its popular FREE Batteries for Life promotion. CTC customers will receive free replacement batteries for the lifetime of their laser sights, in exchange for registering their Crimson Trace products with the company’s customer service department.

“There are very few things in life that are truly free,” said Nate Hoke, Director of Customer service for Crimson Trace. “This is one of them. Just register online or via our 800 number and every year, we’ll send a fresh set of batteries for your Lasergrips® or Laserguard® product for as long as you own it.”

Hoke reported that many customers were still using the original batteries in their sights after six or seven years. “While Crimson Trace products have the longest run times in the industry, laser sights are safety devices and as such, should have regular battery changes.”

Crimson Trace Free Batteries

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
June 3rd, 2012

New Elesio H1 Rimfire Tubegun Kit from Competition Machine

Gary Elesio of Competition Machine has come up with a new product for smallbore shooters. Gary has a new H1 Tubegun Chassis for the Hall custom rimfire action, a very high-quality, single-shot action that can be fitted with a Jewell trigger. The new H1 Chassis, like other Elesio tubegun kits, features a fully-adjustable skeleton-style stock, and a tubular forearm. The forearm can be rotated so a sling-shooter can “dial in” the best angle for his hand-stop. We think this new H1 action should be popular with rimfire prone and position shooters who are looking for an affordable, all-American alternative to expensive European match rifles. Below is a “sneak peek” at Elesio’s new H1. This shows the H1 receiver housing fitted with a Picatinny-style rail. MSRP for the H1 has yet to be announced.

Elesio H1 rimfire chassis

About the Hall Action
The $1075.00 Hall action is a high-quality, custom-crafted design built to benchrest standards. The action is 1 3/8″ diameter by 7 ” long and is made of 416 stainless steel, with heat-treated, tool steel locking lugs. The action features an Anschutz-type feed ramp, and it comes with a trigger housing which uses 40X Remington-type triggers (Jewell Remington triggers will work). The Hall action is currently available with either right or left port, but only right bolt.

Hall rimfire Action

Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product 8 Comments »
June 3rd, 2012

FREE Shooting Bench Plans — Eleven Do-It-Yourself Designs

Building your own portable shooting bench is a great winter do-it-yourself project. You can build a sturdy bench for well under $100 in materials. Compare that to some deluxe factory-built benches which may cost $450.00 or more.

A wide assortment of home-built shooting bench designs have been featured on the internet. Renovation Headquarters has put together a web page with plans for eleven (11) different shooting benches. Each bench is illustrated with a photo and link to FREE Plans and building instructions. You’ll find all-wood designs as well as benches that combine a wood top with a metal sub-frame or legs.

CLICK HERE for Shooting Bench FREE Plans Webpage

Among Renovation HQ’s eleven featured shooting benches, here are four designs we liked:

Larry Willis Shooting Bench

Sandwiched Plywood top, 1.5″ Galvanized Pipe Legs

Missouri Hillbilly’s
All-Wood Bench

3/4″ ACX Plywood with 4×6 Beams and Legs

Manuel Ferran’s
Steel Shooting Bench

Steel (welded) legs and frame, painted plywood top. Folds flat.

Bill Clarke’s
Basic Shooting Bench

Restaurant table Cast Metal Pedestal Base, plywood top.

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June 2nd, 2012

Profile of Team USA Olympic Rifle Shooter Sarah Scherer

USA Shooting Olympics Sarah SchererA two-time NCAA Champion from TCU, and member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Shooting Team, Sarah Scherer is profiled in the current USA Shooting News eZine. Her story makes compelling reading because Sarah had to overcome a family tragedy to achieve her goals in the shooting sports. Sarah’s older brother, Stephen, a member of the 2008 Olympic Shooting Team, took his own life in October, 2010. Brother and sister grew up shooting together. Early on, Stephen was her training partner and role model. Losing her brother was very tough, but she has not faltered in her drive to be the best, and honor Stephen’s memory.

Sarah’s coach, two-time World Champion Karen Monez, explains: “[Sarah] has the work ethic to accomplish just about anything she wants to. She doesn’t let adversity and the hardship she’s had define her. It really is more of an inspiration to others if you look at how humble she is with the success she has had, and what’s she’s had to deal with [after her brother’s death].”

USA Shooting Olympics Sarah Scherer

READ Sarah Scherer Profile in USA Shooting News eZine

We will be following Sarah’s peformance in London this July, where she is one of the favorites in air rifle shooting. She has “risen to the challenge” at every stage of her shooting career so far. She has won five National Junior Olympics Shooting Medals and won gold in her first-ever World Cup Match. An All-American in both smallbore rifle and air rifle, Sarah captured the individual smallbore National Championship in 2010, and she was a member of TCU’s NCAA Championship-Winning Team in 2010 and 2012. This past winter, Sarah set a new National Record with a perfect score of 400 in the 10m Air Rifle event. We wish Sarah success, and hope she can continue her winning ways.

USA Shooting Olympics Sarah Scherer

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June 2nd, 2012

Stan Ware’s Radical Short-Necked Wolfpup for Hunter Benchrest

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesStan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles, is one of the finest gunsmiths with whom we’ve worked. He’s also a talented shooter and an innovative wildcatter who’s not afraid to think “outside the box”. Stan competes in both Hunter Benchrest (HBR) and Varmint for Score (VFS) disciplines. In his quest to build the ultimate Hunter Benchrest cartridge, Stan created the radical “Wolfpup” wildcat, based on a 6mmBR parent case. Noting the dominance of 30 BRs in VFS matches, Stan wondered if a stretched 30 BR could work in HBR competition. The challenge was case capacity. Under HBR rules the cartridge must hold at least 45.0 grains of water, equal to the capacity of the classic 30/30 case.

To get the requisite HBR case capacity, Stan figured he needed to boost the volume of a 30 BR case significantly, so he would have to move the shoulder forward — a lot. He did this by running a 30 BR reamer deeper and deeper, test-firing brass along the way. After three reamer passes, he ended up with the capacity he needed (the Wolfpup holds 45.3 grains of water). But then he looked at the finished product — a case with almost no neck, and he wondered “how could this possibly work?”.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware SGR Custom RiflesFrom Trashbin to Winner’s Circle
Ware’s prototype Wolfpup ended up so short-necked, so unlike any “normal” cartridge, that Stan figured it was “dead on arrival”. Stan told us: “I said ‘this ain’t going to work’ and I threw the brass in the trash can. Honest. But later I thought I better shoot it and see what it does.” There was one problem — Stan didn’t have a seating die. He noticed the short neck provided a bit of tension after fire-forming, so he literally seated some bullets, BIB 118s and 125s, with his fingers. For powder he used H4198 and started with 35 grains, one grain more than a 30 BR load. Stan then did a pressure work-up: “I actually went up to 41.0 grains and didn’t have a sticky bolt. I ended up at 37.9 grains of Hodgdon 4198 — that gave 3150 fps, where the sweet spot is.” (Later testing revealed a second accuracy node at about 3020 fps, using 36.4 grains of H4198).

Stan’s radical short-necked Wolfpup shot great from the get-go. Once he found the right velocity node, the gun shot in the ones and zeros with both 7-ogive and 10-ogive bullets, both 118s and 125s. The Wolfpup proved easy to tune — it’s not finicky at all. And it’s a winner. Stan began shooting the Wolfpup in 2006 in both VFS and HBR matches and the ‘Pup’ started winning matches right away. In 2007, Stan won the Wisconsin State VFS Championship shooting the Wolfpup. Most recently, in June 2010 at a Webster City, Iowa VFS match, Stan won the Grand Agg and posted high X-Count for the match, while placing first at 100 yards and second at 200 yards. How’s that for a cartridge that almost ended up in the trash bin?

Does Stan deserve an award for “most innovative benchrest cartridge design”? Stan chuckles at that notion: “I’m not a hero, not a genius. I really didn’t do anything. The fun part is thinking outside the box — for me anyway. Shooting is an age-old process of experimentation. You never learn it all.”

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom Rifles

Stan Ware Wolfpup HBR SGR Custom RiflesWhy Does It Work?
How can such a radical case design perform so well? “That’s a good question,” Stan admitted. He then explained: “The 30 BR is inherently accurate, so I figured something based on the 30 BR should be accurate too. My personal belief is that the short neck doesn’t hurt you. Plus if the throat in the barrel is straight, the bullet can self-align. If the chamber is good, the bullet will self-center in the throat. In a regular case there’s not much room to do that, so a bullet can start off-center, and you don’t get the same results every time. A bullet in a conventional case is stopped from self-centering by the stiffer neck, particularly in a tight-clearance BR gun.”

Reloading the .30 Wolfpup
Stan’s Wolfpup chamber has a neck dimension of 0.330″. He turns his necks for a 0.327″ loaded round. Bullets are jammed .020″ forward of first contact with the lands. When he closes the bolt it pushes the bullet back in the case — almost a soft seat. Stan notes: “To start with I normally bump the shoulder .0005-.001″ so they go in easy. Just by doing that I get a little neck tension. I also use a bushing. Right now I’m running a .322, but it’s not particularly sensitive. I’ve tried one-thousandths increments up to a .325 bushing and couldn’t tell a lot of difference.”

Currently there are no production sizing dies for the Wolfpup. Stan uses two dies to size his fired brass: “I use a 30 BR bushing full-length die after each firing, but that doesn’t size the bottom half of the case. But I can shoot the brass four or five times with no problems.” After four to five firings Stan hits the bottom of the brass with a modified 6mmBR body die. Stan hogged out the top half of the body die so it doesn’t contact the top of the brass. For bullet seating, Stan uses a Wilson 30 BR seater die into which he ran the chamber reamer. This gives perfect case fit during seating operations.

If You Want a Wolfpup Rifle
Stan has received a number of requests to chamber Wolfpups for Hunter Benchrest shooters, and he will be building some for next season. Stan charges $300.00 for chambering, crowning, and headspacing a barrel. He also sells Wilson micrometer-top seater dies, customized for the Wolfpup, for about $110.00. If there is sufficient demand, he may start producing “one-pass” full-length sizing dies for the cartridge. Stan can also build complete benchrest, hunting, and long-range rifles in your choice of calibers. Visit SGRCustomRifles.com, or call (507) 274-5649.

Stan Ware Wolfpup SGR Custom Rifles

About the Illustrated Gunstock
You’ll notice Stan’s stock contains scenes from Vietnam and a quotation. Here’s the story. A Vietnam combat veteran, Stan served “in-country” with the Army’s 509th Non-Divisional Combat Unit (out of Fort Riley) from 1965-1966. Shortly before he left Vietnam, Stan went to a shop to have a souvenir lighter engraved. He asked the vendor for an appropriate inscription. The shop’s metal-worker engraved: “War is a tragedy. It takes mans’ best to do mans’ worst.” That message, along with the combat scenes, were hand-painted on Stan’s rifle by his wife Susan, a talented artist. She spent more than 20 hours painting the rifle stock.

Photos courtesy Ryan Ware and Stan Ware, SGR Custom Rifles.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, New Product 4 Comments »
June 1st, 2012

6mm HAGAR Hornady Brass Arrives — Varminters Take Note

6mm Hagar Hornady brass AR-X EnterprisesHere’s good news for AR shooters looking for a 6mm option. 6mm HAGAR brass is now available from Hornady, and it looks like this brass is quite good. Those of you who follow the National Matches at Camp Perry know that Carl Bernosky won multiple National High Power Championships shooting the 6mm HAGAR cartridge from an AR Platform rifle. The 6mm HAGAR was derived from the 30 Remington cartridge, and it has the same case head diameter as the 6.8 SPC, also a 30 Remington derivative.

The 30°-shoulder 6mm HAGAR is just about the longest 6mm cartridge that can be loaded in a two-column AR15 magazine and still feed reliably. The advantage of the 6mm HAGAR is that it offers enough “boiler room” to drive 6mm bullets to impressive velocities, yet it can still fit and function well in AR mags. But note, if you are restrained to a mag-length COAL, you can pretty much rule out using 95-108 grain bullets, because they would have to be seated too deep in the HAGAR case. That actually means that the “advantage” of the 6mm HAGAR’s case capacity is lost to some degree — at least when using long, heavy bullets. On the other hand, when loaded with shorter varmint and hunting bullets, such as Hornady’s 75gr V-Max, you can load to 2.260″ mag length and use nearly all of the HAGAR’s case capacity.

For this reason, we think the 6mm HAGAR may ultimately prove more popular with varminters than with the High Power crowd (at least those who do not want to modify their mags to allow heavy 6mm bullets to be seated longer.) If you’re using shorter bullets, you can fill up the HAGAR case and drive 60-75 grain projectiles at serious velocities.

6mm Hagar Hornady brass ARX Enterprises

6mm Hagar Hornady brass AR-X Enterprises6mm HAGAR Basics
The 6mm HAGAR uses a 6.8 SPC AR-15 bolt and 6.8 SPC magazines and a conventional upper receiver, barrel extension, and bolt carrier assembly. Typically this cartridge has been used for varminting, hunting, and High Power competition. We think the 6mm HAGAR should be a kick-ass cartridge for varminters shooting ARs with shorter varmint bullets.

On the other hand, because the 1.775″-long HAGAR case takes up so much space in an AR magazine, the 100-108gr bullets aren’t well-suited for mag-fed 6mm HAGAR applications (unless the mags are modified). These same 100-108 grainers DO work well in single-load situations provided the chamber is properly throated for such bullets.

NOTE: Some High Power shooters have slotted AR mags to allow loading of long bullets up to 2.340″ max, i.e. beyond normal mag length. See modified magazine at right.

Hornady’s 6mm HAGAR Brass Is Shipping Now
Until recently, 6mm HAGAR brass was hard to obtain. Cases could be formed from 30 Rem brass, but this was a tedious, time-consuming process. Now, however, quality 6mm HAGAR brass is available from Hornady. An initial run of 150,000 pieces of 6mm HAGAR brass was produced. Vendors who got some of the first run of HAGAR brass include AR-X Enterprises LLC (Robert Whitley) and Creedmoor Sports.

Robert Whitley reports: “We’ve received our first shipment of factory 6mm HAGAR brass from Hornady. This Hornady 6mm HAGAR brass is hard at the base but well annealed at the neck. The brass has a small primer pocket and a small flash hole. All of these features enable the brass to hold pressures well and to remain serviceable and usable for multiple re-loadings. Internal H20 capacity of the brass case is right around 37.0 – 37.5 grains of water weight. With its larger case capacity the 6mm HAGAR can accurately push the bigger 105gr to 108gr bullets in the range of 2800 fps (when these bullets are seated long and single-loaded, not mag-fed). However, because of its rather long case length (1.775″) relative to max mag-fed cartridge OAL of 2.260″, the 6mm HAGAR may work best with the smaller and lighter 6mm bullets (75gr and under).” [Editor: Do the math … 2.260″ minus 1.775″ leaves only 0.485″ clearance for a bullet to extend beyond the case mouth.]

Loading Long Bullets to Mag-Limited 2.260″ COAL Is Neither Practical Nor Wise:*

6mm HAGAR Magazine length

6mm HAGAR Brass, Dies, Mags and Complete Uppers Offered
Along with 6mm HAGAR brass (at $84.00 per hundred), ARX Enterprises has 6mm HAGAR dies, and magazines. ARX Enterprises is also building complete match and varmint AR-platform uppers chambered for the 6mm HAGAR. You can find out about all these products on Robert Whitley’s 6mm HAGAR web page. To order 6mm HAGAR uppers, die sets, brass, magazines and related products contact:

AR-X Enterprises, LLC (Attn: Robert Whitley)
199 North Broad Street
Doylestown, PA 18901
(215) 348-8789
e-mail: rcw3 [at] erols.com

*Left = 75gr Hornady V-Max at 2.260″ OAL (bullet diameter at mouth of case is .243″.)
Left Center = Berger 100gr BT at 2.260″ OAL (bullet diameter at mouth of case is only .225″.)
Right Center = Sierra 107gr MatchKing at 2.260″ OAL (bullet diameter at mouth of case is only .222″.)
Right = Hornady 105gr A-Max at 2.260″ OAL (bullet diameter at mouth of case is only .225″.)
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 8 Comments »
June 1st, 2012

ATF Issues Notice Concerning Binary Exploding Target Products

Binary Exploding Rifle TargetFor those who enjoy reactive targets that explode with a big bang and a cloud of smoke, binary compounds are available from a variety of vendors, including Midsouth Shooters Supply.

These binary compounds, when mixed together, will explode when hit by a projectile of sufficient velocity. When used with proper safety precautions, binary target compounds such as Tannerite and Shockwave can create crowd-pleasing “special effects” at fun shoots. (But be sure to place the target at safe distances and never encase the exploding targets inside boxes, cans or other containers which can create flying shrapnel.) The video below shows the inventor of Tannerite, Daniel J. Tanner, hitting a 1-pound Tannerite target at 500 meters. Projectile was a .308 caliber 180gr Hornady HPS.

Federal Laws Apply Once You Mix the Binary Elements!
While separated binary explosives are currently legal to own and use (with minimal restrictions), there are some important legal considerations involved in the storage, distribution, and use of MIXED binary explosives. Individuals, shooting club directors, and range operators must ensure binary explosives are used in compliance with all local, state, and Federal Regulations. These issues are covered in a recent notice from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF). Anyone who plans to use Binary Exploding target compounds should read this notice carefully:

ATF Notice Re Binary Exploding Target Compounds

ATF has recently received inquiries about the applicability of the Federal explosives law to binary exploding targets.

The components of these binary targets (typically an oxidizer like ammonium nitrate and a fuel such as aluminum or another metal-based powder) are not separately listed on the List of Explosive Materials and do not meet the definition of “Explosives” in 27 CFR 555.11. Therefore, ATF does not regulate the sale and distribution of these component chemicals, even when sold together in binary target “kits.”

However, when the binary components are combined, the resulting mixture is an explosive material subject to all requirements of 18 U.S.C. Chapter 40 and 27 CFR Part 555. Accordingly, all such exploding targets must be stored in an explosives storage magazine as prescribed in the regulations found in 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart K — Storage, unless they are in the process of being used.

Further, mixing the binary components together constitutes manufacturing explosives. Persons manufacturing explosives for their own personal, non-business use only (e.g., personal target practice) are not required to have a Federal explosives license or permit. However, individuals or companies must obtain a Federal explosives manufacturing license if they intend to engage in the business of manufacturing explosives for sale or distribution, or for their own business use. Such business uses include manufacturing binary targets for demonstration or product testing purposes.

Licensed manufacturers of exploding targets are subject to Federal recordkeeping requirements and must comply with regulations concerning records of manufacture or acquisition, distribution, exportation, use, inventory and daily summaries of magazine transactions found in 27 CFR, Part 555, Subpart G—Records and Reports.

In addition, a Federal explosives license or permit is required for the transport of explosive materials. Therefore, a person must obtain a Federal explosives license or permit if they mix binary exploding targets and subsequently transport them to a shooting range or to any other location. For further information, please contact the Explosives Industry Programs Branch at eipb [at] atf.gov or (202) 648-7120.

Tannerite Informational Video — Shooting Demos Start at 6:34 Mark

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June 1st, 2012

Show off your "Pride and Joy" Rifle in our Forum

In our Shooters’ Forum you’ll find a thread in which readers can post photos of their “pride and joy” — their favorite rifle. You’ll find a wide range of guns, from “big boomers” to .17-caliber varminters. Here are some of our favorite entries in the “Pride and Joy” Gallery.

Brad’s 6CM Long-Range Match Rifle

Chad Dixon Surgeon 6CM Paint

Chambered in the 6mm Competition match cartridge, this handsome rig features a Surgeon RSR Action, Bartlein Barrel, and LRB stock. Barrel work was done by Chad Dixon at LongRifles, Inc. and paint by AT Custom Painting. Brad says: “If you need a custom paint job, Adam is your man. His work is amazing and prices can’t be beat.”

The Bear’s Barbed-Wire Barnard

BarryO, aka ‘the Blue-eyed Bear’, posted his beautiful 6mm Dasher, with its unique barbed wire 3D finish. (There’s a story behind that design.) This rifle was smithed by John King in Montana, with stock bedding work by Leo Anderson. The gun features a Barnard ‘P’ action (with trigger), and 28″ Broughton 5C fluted barrel with VAIS muzzle brake. The Barnard sits in a Tom Manners carbon fiber BR stock decorated with amazing graphics by Mad Shadow Custom Paint.

Sebastian’s Radical Swallowtail 6PPC

Sebastian Lambang is the designer and builder of SEB Coaxial Rests. He’s a smart, creative guy, so you knew when he designed a short-range benchrest stock it would be something special. It needed to be lightweight, yet very rigid. Using “out of the box” thinking, Seb employs a truss-style structure to provide great strength with minimal weight. The rear section is equally radical. There are two splayed “keels” in the rear, forming what this Editor calls a “swallowtail” rear design. Others have called it a “catamaran buttstock.” Below is a side-view of the prototype SEB stock before painting.

Flaming PPC from Oz

ChrisT, a diesel fitter from Australia, submitted this image of his stunning flame-painted PPC. Whoever did those flames is a true artist — the gun really looks like it’s on fire. This rifle features a Stiller Viper action, Speedy (Robertson) BRX stock, and Maddco (Australian) 14-twist barrel chambered in 6PPC.

And here are a couple more cool BR rifles posted on the Forum. First, from Walter in Belguim, is the “Lion of Flanders”, an Anschutz BR 250, with Kelbly’s stock and matching SEB front rest. Walter did the paintwork himself:

Anschutz BR rifle

And here is Mark Walker’s amazing Zebra-skin BR rifle. Now that will turn heads on any bench:

Anschutz BR rifle

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