On “Black Friday”, the day after Thanksgiving, stores nationwide offer big discounts on merchandise. There are some amazing deals to be had in retail outlets — if you’re willing to fight hordes of crazed consumers.
Thankfully, many smart merchants now offer Black Friday deals online, so you can avoid the mobs. Traditionally, electronics, video games, clothing, toys, and home furnishings are discounted deeply on Black Friday. But there are also many money-saving opportunities on guns, shooting accessories, hunting gear, and reloading supplies.
To aid your Black Friday deal hunting, SlickGuns.com has assembled a list of gun- and shooting-related Black Friday bargains and special promotions. On the SlickGuns’ Black Friday 2012 Deal Page you’ll find a long list of Black Friday sale items including air guns, handguns, ammunition, reloading gear, gun safes, hunting gear and much more. SlickGuns.com also has scans of the Black Friday print flyers so you can see deals that may not be listed on websites.
Outdoor gear vendors offering Black Friday Sales/Promotions include Bass Pro Shops, Brownells, Cabela’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Gander Mountain, MidwayUSA, Sports Authority, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Walmart (and more). On the SlickGuns.com website, you can access all Black Friday Specials with one click, and then narrow your search by vendor, product category, or price.
When it comes to long-range optics, some folks can’t have too much magnification (as Tim Allen used to say: “More Power!”). At 500 yards and beyond, when the air’s misty or the mirage is thick, you can’t always use extreme magnification. But, when the conditions are excellent, it’s nice to have 50X magnification (or more) on tap. You can always “crank it back down”. Higher magnification (when conditions are good), can help you see your bullet holes at long range, and that makes it easier to judge your hold-offs and keep your group centered. In addition, there’s no doubt that high magnification lets you aim more precisely, no matter what the distance. Even at 100 and 200 yards, short-range benchresters are using 40X, 50X, and even 60X power scopes. This allows you to position your cross-hairs with extreme precision — something you need when you’re trying to put multiple shots through the same hole.
Raising the Optics Bar
How much power is usable? A few years back, folks said you can’t use more than 45X or so at long range. Well, as modern optics have evolved, now guys are buying scopes with even more magni-fication — way more. There are practical limits of course — with a 56 to 60mm front objective, the exit pupil of a 60X or higher-power scope will be very tiny, making head orientation ultra-critical. Any many scopes get darker as you bump up the magnification.
Despite the exit pupil and brightness issues, shooters are demanding “more power” these days and the scope manufacturers are providing new products with ever-greater magnification levels. Right now, the most powerful conventional riflescope you can buy is the March X-Series 8-80x56mm scope. Featuring a 34mm main tube and 56mm objective lens, this offers a true 10-times zoom ratio and up to 80X magnification. This scope has minimal distortion thanks to high-quality ED lenses designed in-house by Deon Optical, which also machines the main tube from one solid piece of billet aluminum.
To demonstrate the capabilities of high-magnification March scopes, Aussie Stuart Elliot has created a cool through-the-lens video with the March 8-80x56mm scope set at 80-power (See 0:30 timeline). Along with being one of Australia’s top benchrest shooters, Stuart runs BRT Shooters Supply, dealer for March Scopes in Australia. In the video below you can see the March 8-80X focused on a target at 1000 yards (910m). For best resolution, watch this video in fullscreen, 720p mode.
Look through the Lens of 80-power March Scope at Target 1000 Yards Away
Through-the-Lens Views at 40X and 80X at 1100 Yards
To reveal the difference between 40X and 80X magnification, here are two through-the-lens still images taken with March scopes sighting to 1100 yards. The top photo is at 80X magnification, looking through the March 8-80x56mm. The lower photo is at 40X magnification viewed through a 5-50x56mm March X-Series scope. You can see there is a big difference in perceived target size! Click on the “Larger Image” button to see full-screen version at 80X.
Here is another view through a March high-magnification scope, this time at 1000 yards. We’re not exactly sure of the power setting, but we think this is at least 40X. Note the good contrast, and the absence of color fringing or chromatic distortion. When you’re shooting at 1000 yards and beyond, having high-quality glass like this can provide a competitive advantage.
Video Find by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
We were recently asked: “What size neck bushing is best for Lapua 6mmBR brass in a ‘no-turn’ chamber?” The questioner planned to purchase a Redding Type ‘S’ full-length sizing die with neck bushings. The quick answer is that one should probably get 0.265, 0.266, and 0.267 bushings and see what works best.
Using current “Blue Box” Lapua brass, a loaded 6BR round with an unturned neck will typically run about 0.2680-0.2685 (depending on the bullet). A 0.266 neck bushing, after springback, will give about 0.0015 tension which can work well in a bolt gun. NOTE: With the older “Brown Box” Lapua Brass, the neckwalls are slightly thicker, so you may want to start with a .267 bushing. Remember, however, that with either older or newer Lapua brass you may want to experiment. Some bullets prefer more tension than others. And, you may find that it is useful to tweak neck tension slightly if you make major changes in seating depth during load development. In a gas gun, such as an AR15, you probably want .003 or more tension.
Alternative to Bushings — Honed Full-Length dies
Conventional, non-bushing full-length sizing dies can create ultra-accurate ammo with very low run-out. For some applications, we prefer a non-bushing FL die over a bushing die — so long as the neck tension is correct. But many FL dies have an undersized neck diameter so you end up with excess neck tension, and you work the brass excessively. Forster offers a simple, inexpensive solution — honing the neck diameter to whatever size you want.
If you purchase a Forster non-bushing, full-length sizing die, Forster will hone the neck dimension to your specs for $12.00 extra (plus shipping). This way you can have a FL die that provides the right amount of tension for your particular load. (The max amount of diameter change Forster can do is about .008″) Forster dies are relatively inexpensive so you can afford to have a couple of FL dies with necks honed to different diameters — such as 0.266″ and 0.267″ for a no-turn 6mmBR. The die itself is fairly inexpensive — currently Sinclair Int’l charges $33.99 for a Forster 6mmBR full-length sizing die (Forster Part # 018121).
Forster FL dies, necks honed to .265″, .266″, and .267″.
Steve Rasmussen of IowaHighPower.com gave this a try. In fact, he had three dies made — each with a different neck dimension. Here’s his report: “My original Forster 6BR FL die sized the necks down a lot [to about 0.260"]. I sent my die in and asked if they could supply two more FL dies (for three total) to have the necks honed to 0.265″, 0.266″, and 0.267″.” In addition to the purchase cost of two more FL-sizing dies, Steve paid $36 ($12 per die) for the three dies to be honed, plus about $12 for return shipping.
The table below shows the neck diameter range of 10 sized cases using each die. [NOTE: This is with older "Brown Box" Lapua brass!] Brass springback after sizing is running 1 to 1.3 thousandths. My loaded rounds are running 0.2697-0.2699 using Lapua I bought last year. So far the dies are working well. I sized 80 cases with the 0.266″ necked die. The shoulder is running 0.4582″ and 0.300″ up from the base is 0.4684". I spun 20 of ‘em and 16 had a runout of one thousandth (0.001) and the other 4 at 1.5 thousandths (0.0015).”