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November 21st, 2012

Leupold Mark-4 FFP 12-40x60mm Spotting Scopes on Sale

Webyshops.com just let us know about a very special deal — FFP Mildot Spotting Scopes priced way below the original U.S. Army contract price. This is an excellent deal for guys looking for a spotter with mildot ranging ability. Webyshops’ buyer tells us: “We picked up a limited number of Leupold spotting scopes (it was originally a military order and they decided not to take all or did not get the budget approved for all). It has a First Focal Plane Duplex Mil Dot Reticle. Normal retail price is $2800.00. We have them available on a first come, first serve basis for $999.” CLICK HERE for more info.

Leupold Mark 4 Mark IV spotting scope

The rugged, waterproof Leupold Mark 4 Tactical spotting scope is currently in service with several branches of the U.S. military. The LEUPOLD Mark-4 12-40×60 Tactical Spotting Scope, Duplex Mil-Dot Reticle (67180) utilizes a front focal Duplex Mil-Dot Reticle. With the reticle located in the front focal plane, the reticle magnifies with the image, so you can calculate range at any power setting.

LEUPOLD Mark-4 12-40×60 Tactical Spotting Scope
Duplex Mil-Dot Reticle
  • Xtended Twilight lens system provides high definition and superior luminance.
  • Lightweight (37 ounces).
  • Very compact design (12.4″ long).
  • Ranging capability at ALL power settings.
  • Universal 1/4-20 thread tripod attachment mount
  • Includes soft-side protective case which remains on the scope during use.
Permalink Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
November 21st, 2012

Gary Anderson Receives IOC’s Olympic Order

Gary AndersonUSA Shooting President and two-time Olympic gold medalist Gary Anderson was awarded the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Olympic Order on Thursday. ISSF President Olegario Vazquez Raña presented the Olympic Order to Anderson in Acapulco, Mexico at an ISSF meeting.

The Olympic Order (for distinguished contributions to the Olympic Movement), is the IOC’s highest individual award. Worn around the neck like a garland, the IOC Olympic Order features the five Olympic rings framed by olive branches.

“Gary Anderson has devoted his life to sport, both as an athlete and as a sports administrator in the USA and at the International Shooting Sport Federation,” said Raña. “He has placed his knowledge and experience as an elite athlete at the service of sports administration.” Anderson was a member of the USA Shooting Team for 10 years (1959-1969) and earned two Olympic gold medals in Tokyo (1964) and Mexico City (1968). He also claimed seven World Championship medals, two Pan American Games titles, 16 National Championship titles, and six individual World Records in his career.

Anderson served as the Director of the Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) from 1999 to 2009. Anderson’s influence on shooting sports extends well beyond the United States. He has traveled extensively throughout his career in shooting, serving as a genuine ambassador for shooting sports, attending 12 Olympic Games, three as a competitor and nine as technical delegate or a jury member.

Anderson has served USA Shooting as President since 2009. At the international level, he joined the international shooting family in 1978 as member of the ISSF Administrative Council, and is now serving the international federation as Vice President.

Permalink News No Comments »
November 20th, 2012

FREE Turkey (and Varmint) Targets for Holiday Fun Shoots

Free Turkey TargetThanksgiving is coming up soon. After partaking in the traditional Turkey Day feast, we know many of our readers will find time during the holiday to head to the range. A Thanksgiving Day shoot is a fun excursion, and a great way for young and old family members to share time together. For all you T-Day marksmen, we offer a special turkey target. This was created by our friend and Forum member Pascal (aka “DesertFrog”).

We’ve packaged the turkey target along with five (5) other varmint/animal-themed targets for your shooting pleasure. These are all offered in .pdf (Adobe Acrobat) format for easy printing.

CLICK HERE to download all 6 targets in .Zip archive.

Program Promotes Family Hunting Opportunities
Speaking of turkeys and families going shooting together, we’d like to give a plug for the “Families Afield” program. A joint effort of the Nat’l Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance (USSA), and National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), the “Families Afield” program works to expand the opportunities for young hunters with adult mentors. The goal of the program is to increase the number of young people getting involved in hunting. For every 100 adult hunters today, only 69 youth hunters are coming up to take their place. “Families Afield” works to reverse that trend. Several states that were restrictive to youth hunting have signed into law “Families Afield” legislation. These new laws make it possible for young hunters and their families to enjoy hunting traditions together. CLICK HERE to learn more.

Families Afield program NSSF

Permalink News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
November 20th, 2012

Barrel Depreciation and the True Cost of Shooting

reloading shot cost barrelHow much does it cost you to send a round downrange? Ask most shooters this question and they’ll start adding up the cost of components: bullets, powder, and primers. Then they’ll figure in the cost of brass, divided by the number of times the cases are reloaded.

For a 6BR shooting match bullets, match-grade primers, and 30 grains of powder, in brass reloaded ten times, this basic calculation gives us a cost per shot of $0.51 (fifty-one cents):

Bullet $0.33 (Berger 105 VLD) Grafs.com
Primer $0.02 (Tula/Wolf SmR magnum) PVI
Powder $0.08 (Reloder 15 @ $19.15/lb) PVI
Brass $0.08 (Lapua @ $82.30/100, 10 reloads)

Total = $0.51 per round

NOTE: If you shoot a larger caliber that burns more powder, and uses more expensive bullets and/or brass, your total cost per round will be higher than $0.51.

$1.00 Per Shot True Cost? Yikes!
OK, we’ve seen that it costs about $0.51 per round to shoot a 6BR. Right?

Wrong! — What if we told you that your ACTUAL cost per round might be closer to double that number? How can that be? Well… you haven’t accounted for the cost of your barrel. Every round you fire down that tube expends some of the barrel’s finite life. If, like some short-range PPC shooters, you replace barrels every 700 or 800 rounds, you need to add $0.60 to $0.70 per round for “barrel cost.” That can effectively double your cost per round, taking it well past the dollar per shot mark.

Calculating Barrel Cost Per Shot
In the table below, we calculate your barrel cost per shot, based on various expected barrel lifespans.

As noted above, a PPC barrel is typically replaced at 700-800 rounds. A 6.5-284 barrel can last 1200+ rounds, but it might need replacement after 1000 rounds or less. A 6BR barrel should give 2000-2600 rounds of accurate life, and a .308 Win barrel could remain competitive for 4,000 rounds or more.

The table below shows your barrel cost per shot, based on various “useful lives.” We assume that a custom barrel costs $540.00 total to replace. This includes $300.00 for the barrel itself, $200.00 for chambering/fitting (conservative number), and $40.00 in 2-way shipping costs. These are typical costs shooters will encounter when ordering a rebarreling job.

The numbers are interesting. If you get 2000 rounds on your barrel instead of 1000, you save $0.27 per shot. However, extending barrel life from 2000 to 3000 rounds only saves you $0.09 per round. The longer you keep your barrel the more you save, but the savings per shot decreases as the round count increases.

How to Reduce Your TRUE Cost per Round
What does this tell us? First, in figuring your annual shooting budget, you need to consider the true cost per round, including barrel cost. Second, if you want to keep your true costs under control, you need to extend your barrel life. This can be accomplished in many ways. First, you may find that switching to a different powder reduces throat erosion. Second, if you’re able to slow down your shooting pace, this can reduce barrel heat, which can extend barrel life. (A varminter in the field is well-advised to switch rifles, or switch barrels, when the barrel gets very hot from extended shot strings.) Third, modifying your cleaning methods can also extend the life of your barrel. Use solvents that reduce the need for aggressive brushing, and try to minimize the use of abrasives. Also, always use a properly fitting bore guide. Many barrels have been prematurely worn out from improper cleaning techniques.

Permalink - Articles, Reloading, Tech Tip 12 Comments »
November 20th, 2012

Origins of Pyrodex Black Powder Substitute

Pyrodex certainly sounds cool, but does anyone know where the name came from? In 1972, chemist Dan Pawlak developed a mixture that performed like black powder but was much safer to handle. This black powder substitute was able to win a Flammable Solid designation from the Department of Transportation, which meant it could be shipped like regular smokeless powder.

Dan called this mixture a pyrotechnic deflagrating explosive…or Pyrodex for short.

Pyrodex Logo

Pyrodex Product Photo
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Reloading 1 Comment »
November 19th, 2012

Precision Shooting Magazine Shuts Down after 56 Years

Precision Shooting Magazine is folding. Editor Dave Brennan announced that the respected print magazine will go out of business after 56 years of publication. This is a sad day. Precision Shooting was a serious journal that advanced our understanding of firearms technology and excellence in the shooting sports. Among the writers for the magazine were many talented shooters, gunsmiths, machinists, and engineers. Over the years, Precision Shooting articles (and bound books) have spotlighted major advances in barrel-making, stock design, bullet design, optics, and much more.

Precision Shooting Magazine

We are sad to see Precision Shooting close its doors after more than half a century. Editor Dave Brennan, his employees, and his ranks of writers are to be commended for giving us so many years of interesting and thought-provoking reading.

Here is Precision Shooting’s official Notice to Subscribers, dated November 16th:

Precision Shooting Magazine

Permalink News 64 Comments »
November 19th, 2012

Registration Opens for 2013 F-Class World Championship

Register Now for the 2013 F-Class Worlds

Entry registration for the 2013 F-Class World Championships in Raton, New Mexico is now open on the Bald Eagles Rifle Club website. Beverly Bartholome notes: “Before registering for the 2013 FCWC please go to the F-Class World championships web site http://fcwc-usa.org/. Under ‘Entries’ read both the entire Program and the Information Packet.” You’ll find info on matches, awards and entry requirements. Plus links within the program take you to the FCWC and FCN entry forms.

CLICK BELOW for 2013 FCWC Program:
Program 2013 F-Class World Championship

CLICK BELOW for 2013 FCWC Info Packet:
Information Packet 2013 F-Class World Championship

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »
November 19th, 2012

Save Up to 25% on Berger Bullets at Precision Reloading

Berger Bullets clearance sale Precision reloadingPrecision Reloading is now running a Clearance Sale on select Berger Bullets, with prices reduced up to 25%.

These are all normal-quality bullets, not “blems”. However, some of these bullet designs are being “phased out” by Berger (as we reported last week). If you have tried these bullets and they shoot well in your gun(s) you might want to pick up a supply before they are sold out. For example, one of our friends has had great luck shooting the BG30403 .308 125-grainers in his 30BR, winning local matches with them.

Berger Bullets clearance sale Precision reloading

17 Cal (.172) 20 Gr Match Varmint (200 ct)
Code: BG17304 – Price: $56.79 $46.69

17 Cal (.172) 30 Gr Match Varmint (200 ct)
Code: BG17310 – Price: $53.39 $39.06

17 Cal (.172) 25 Gr Match Target (200 ct)
Code: BG17407 – Price: $48.19 $39.51

20 Cal (.204) 30 Gr Match Varmint (100 ct)
Code: BG20302 – Price: $28.39 $20.17

20 Cal (.204) 50 Gr Match Varmint BT (100 ct)
Code: BG20305 – Price: $29.79 $20.02

22 Cal (.224) 30 Gr Match Varmint (100 ct)
Code: BG22301 – Price: $24.39 $19.88

6mm (.243) 60 Gr Match Varmint (100 ct)
Code: BG24301 – Price: $31.99 $25.20

6mm (.243) 65 Gr Match Target (100 ct)
Code: BG24405 – Price: $27.09 $21.29

6mm (.243) 100 Gr Match BT Bullets (100 ct)
Code: BG24432 – Price: $35.69 $29.42

25 Cal (.257) 87 Gr Match Target (100 ct)
Code: BG25407 – Price: $46.99 $37.20

25 Cal. (.257) 115 Gr Match Target VLD (100 ct)
Code: BG25413 – Price: $40.29 $31.66

6.5mm (.264) 100 Gr Match Target BT (100 ct)
Code: BG26408 – Price: $47.59 $38.73

7mm (.284) 180 Gr Match Target BT (100 ct)
Code: BG28404 – Price: $47.99 $40.35

7mm (.284) 175 Gr Match Target XLD (100 ct)
Code: BG28408 – Price: $47.49 $38.87

30 Cal (.308) 110 Gr Match Target FB (100 ct)
Code: BG30401 – Price: $40.89 $33.40

30 Cal (.308) 125 Gr Match Target FB (100 ct)
Code: BG30403 – Price: $43.79 $34.28

30 Cal (.308) 135 Gr Match Target FB (100)
Code: BG30405 – Price: $47.59 $37.53

30 Cal (.308) 168 Gr Match Target BT (100 ct)
Code: BG30411 – Price: $45.99 $35.12

30 Cal (.308) 190 Gr Match Target VLD (100 ct)
Code: BG30414 – Price: $47.99 $38.69

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals No Comments »
November 18th, 2012

Feature Story on Varmint and Hold-Over Reticles

In our articles collection, you’ll find a story of interest to varminters and game hunters. Choosing And Using Modern Reticles, by author John Barsness, reviews the many “hold-over” reticle options currently available for hunting scopes. The latest “hunting hold-over” reticles, such as Leupold’s Varmint Hunter Reticle, offer both vertical marks (for hold-over) and horizontal bars or dots (for wind compensation). The idea is to allow the shooter to move quickly from one target distance to another, without having to dial elevation changes with his scope turrets. Likewise, the horizontal wind-hold markings give the shooter reference points for winds of specific velocities. That makes the process of “holding-off” for wind much more predictable.

In the Barsness article, which originally appeared in Varmint Hunter Magazine, the author traces the history of ranging/hold-over reticles starting with the Mildot reticle. Barsness explains how to use the mildot reticle, noting how it is best used with a First Focal Plane scope design.

First Focal Plane vs. Second Focal Plane Designs
If nothing else, you’ll want to read this article just to improve your understanding of First Focal Plane (FFP) vs. Second Focal Plane (SFP) optics operation. If you want to use the markings on a reticle to range at various magnification levels, then you want the FFP design, preferred by the military. If, on the other hand, you prefer the viewed appearance of your reticle to stay constant at all power levels, then you’ll probably prefer the SFP design.

Barsness explains how the modern “Christmas Tree” design reticles, such as the Zeiss Rapid Z, evolved, and he explains how to use these reticles to adjust your point of aim for different target distances. These hold-over reticles can be very handy, but you must remember that the yardages which correspond to the stepped vertical markings are determined by the ballistics of your cartridge. Thus, if you change your cartridge, or even change your load significantly, your hold-over yardage values will change. You will then need to field-test to find the actual value of the reticle’s hold-over points.

Even if you are not a hunter, you can benefit from reading the Barsness article. For anyone shopping for a varmint scope, the article is a “must-read”. And Barness clears up some common misconceptions about FFP vs. SFP optics. Barsness also offers good, common-sense advice. We agree with Barsness when he says that some reticle designs have become too complicated. Barsness writes:

These days there are reticles with everything from a few extra dots along the vertical cross hair to reticles that cover the bottom third of the scope’s field of view, providing an aiming point for every blade of grass in North Dakota. Here we run into the basic fact that simpler reticles are easier to use, if not quite so versatile.

Personally, I particularly like simple reticles in shorter-range varmint rifles, whether rimfires or small centerfires such as the 22 Hornet. These aren’t likely to be used at extended ranges, or in any significant amount of wind. Hence, something like the Burris Ballistic Plex reticle provides about all the information we can realistically use — the reason there are Burris Ballistic Plex scopes on most of my rimfire or small centerfire varmint rifles.

CLICK HERE to Read ‘Choosing and Using Modern Reticles’, by John Barsness.

Permalink - Articles, Optics 3 Comments »
November 17th, 2012

2300-Yard Target Cam System — Components and Set-Up

Last week we featured a cool video put together by Forum Member Mark Dalzell (aka “MDSlammer”). The video shows Mark and a couple of his shooting buddies engaging a steel target at 2300 yards (1.3 miles). In order to see both hits and misses at that extreme range, Mark assembled a target-cam system that broadcasts multiple video cam feeds wirelessly to a receiver on the firing line. Down-range, Mark positioned a high-gain antenna. This was key — without the antenna the system’s useful range was less than 1000 yards. But with the hi-gain antenna Mark gets very clear signals from 2300 yards.

Mark’s video was very popular with our readers. Quite a few guys asked for technical details so they could start assembling a similar system. To explain the components and set-up of his 2300-yard target cam system, Mark has made a 10-minute video that shows the equipment and explains how all the gear is hooked up. Mark system uses a KW7305 2.4 Ghz, 8-channel A/V transmitter/receiver kit ($269.00), powered by Li-Ion batteries ($125.00 with charger) that offer about 3 hours of run-time. The video camera was a Panasonic HDC SD-60 with 35X zoom ($350.00). The antenna is a 2.4 Ghz 24 DBI Grid unit (model # HG2424EG-NG), that cost just $45.00 plus another $29.00 for cabling. To see how this all functions at long range, watch the video below.

Watch This 10-Minute Video to See Components of 2300-yard Target-Cam System

While Mark positioned his hi-gain antenna downrange near the target, you can, alternatively, set the hi-gain antenna at the firing line and point it downrange at the transmitter. Mark says that either configuration will work, as long as the hi-gain antenna is aimed carefully. You also need to elevate both Transmitter and Receiver antennas. Mark mounted his receiver on top of a 10-foot-tall Century C-Stand near the shooting station. From there he could watch bullet impacts on his 7″ Marshall color monitor placed on a portable bench.

Mark Dalzell Long Range video target camera

Mark Dalzell Long Range video target camera

Mark Dalzell Long Range video target camera

Mark tells us the whole system was affordable (under $1100.00 for everything including monitor and antenna), and it was easy to set up. Mark encourages readers who’ve been thinking about building a similar system for their long range shooting sessions: “The hardware is not difficult to configure… if I can do it, anyone certainly can.”

Permalink - Videos, New Product 1 Comment »
November 17th, 2012

Custom Gun Stocks from Ireland’s Enda Walsh

ireland shieldThere are few master craftsmen who can create a truly “bespoke” wood stock customized for the owner. Ireland’s Enda Walsh is one such talent. Through Gun Stocks Ireland, Enda creates high-quality stocks for hunters, prone shooters, and F-class competitors. Enda first started building stocks in 2001 for himself and friends, and grew the business over a decade. Enda explains: “Demand gradually increased until in 2009 the decision was taken to make it my full-time occupation. In 2010 I obtained my RFD licence and haven’t looked back. My goal with Guns Stocks Ireland is to manufacture precise custom rifle stocks to the highest standard, tailored in every detail to best serve the shooters requirements.” Enda adds: “I started Gun Stocks Ireland to produce custom, individually-tailored gunstocks. I build from hand casts so your gun is genuinely an extension of your arm.”


Walsh offers many stock designs, including a wide variety of thumb-hole and vertical grip stocks. Many of these feature hand-relieved grip areas customized for each guns’ owner. The hand-grip section literally fits the shooter “like a glove”. How does Enda create an ergonomically perfect grip for each customer? He actually makes a casting of the customer’s hand: “I send customers a hand cast kit so the shooter can make a plaster cast with his hand in shooting position. Done correctly there will be no tension in the shooter’s hand no matter how tight a hold is employed.” Enda’s stocks aren’t cheap, but they are a good value considering the amount of expert labor involved. Typical price for a fitted, bedded, and finished fully-adjustable F-Class stock is 1500 Euros.


Enda’s stocks, as you can see from the photos, are labors of love. Each stock may require up to 80 hours of work from start to finish. That includes fitting of special features, such as adjustable buttplate, adjustable cheek-piece, and a unique bag-rider that adjusts up and down for elevation control and rifle balance. We think the adjustable bag-rider is a great idea that American stock-makers should emulate.

Vertically Adjustable Bag Rider Permits Easy Elevation Adjustment
“For F-Open shooters the benefit of the [adjustable] bag runner is it allows precise elevation adjustments shot to shot without having to reach forward to adjust the front rest, taking the shooter out of his natural position. For ‘bag squeezers’ it eliminates the variable settlement during a shot causing vertical variances. The adjustable bag runner allows elevation changes to be dialed in easily and precisely with one hand.” — Enda Walsh


This is a .308 Win Savage in a fully adjustable F-TR stock. This rifle always performs well at the LRRAI shoots in Castlemaine Rifle & Pistol Range.

Enda Walsh Shoots What He Builds
Enda Walsh is a very talented shooter as well as a master stock-maker. He recently won a Silver Medal at 1000 yards at the 2012 European F-Class Championships at Bisley. He also shared a team Gold Medal at 1000 yards, shooting with an Irish F-TR team, and making wind calls as well.

Enda says: “I was very happy to take a silver at Bisley this year. This was my first trip to Bisley and first Euro Championships. The experience gave me some ideas on how to improve things for next year….”

Gun Stocks Ireland
Contact: Enda Walsh
Currabaha – Dungarvan
County Waterford
Ireland

E-mail: info [at] gunstocksireland.com
Phone in Ireland: 011-353-[0]87-661-1993

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product 3 Comments »
November 17th, 2012

Blaser USA Hiring General Gunsmith in Texas

Blaser Gunsmith job hireHow would you like to be a salaried gunsmith for a major gun-maker’s USA operation? Here’s your opportunity. Blaser USA is looking to hire a gunsmith for its San Antonio, Texas sales and service center.

Candidates must have completed a recognized gunsmithing course, have “excellent communication skills”, be able to work in a “fast-paced” team-oriented business environment, and be able to work (on location) at regional and national shooting events. Duties include general gunsmithing, customer service work, and the following specific tasks:

  • Finish assembly of rifles and shotguns.
  • Inspects first piece samples from vendors.
  • Assembles firearms in accordance with customer specifications.
  • Repairs firearms for customers, sponsored shooters, and journalists.
  • Minor stock repair and wood-working.
  • Aligns sights/scopes and conducts test firings.
  • Documents problems on customer returns as required.
  • Inspects and sets out parts for repairs or product updates.
Blaser Gunsmith job hire

How to Apply
If you are interested in this position,
forward your résumé to:

Blaser USA Inc.
Laura Aldana
403 East Ramsey Ste. 301
San Antonio, TX 78216
email: info [at] blaser-usa.com

Story Tip by Edlongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink News No Comments »
November 17th, 2012

6.5 Creedmoor for High Power and Tactical Shooters

While the 6.5 Creedmoor cartridge was devised primarily for High Power and Across the Course shooters, it has also found favor with tactical shooters looking for a highly accurate round that feeds well from a magazine, but offers significantly less recoil than a .308 Winchester. In fact, the 6.5 Creedmoor has become so popular that some vendors we checked were sold out of both brass and loaded ammo. (Don’t worry though — Creedmoor Sports has both 6.5 Creedmoor brass and loaded ammo in stock.)

6.5 Creedmoor Hornady
CLICK HERE for 6.5 Creedmoor Video and Specifications

6.5 Creedmoor brass cartridge6.5 Creedmoor vs. 6.5×47 Lapua — Cost Factor
The 6.5×47 Lapua and 6.5 Creedmoor offer very similar ballistics with 120gr and 140gr bullets. However, 6.5 Creedmoor brass AND loaded ammo are cheaper. That’s a big plus in the tactical game. At tactical competitions, there are “move and shoot” stages where you need to shoot quickly and then move to another position. It’s very difficult to recover all your brass. Losing a piece of 6.5×47 brass (at $1 dollar a pop) is painful. The Hornady brass is $34.49 per 50 (69 cents each) at Sinclair Int’l or $34.95 per 50 (70 cents each) at Creedmoor Sports.

Hornady’s 6.5 Creedmoor loaded ammunition is also much less expensive than the loaded 6.5×47 Lapua rounds. For shooters that don’t have the time (or skills) to reload, the 6.5 Creedmoor (at $25.95 per 20-rd box) makes more financial sense. Grafs.com currently sells loaded 123gr 6.5×47 Lapua ammo for $52.79 per 20 rounds.

On the other hand, the Lapua brass is tougher. Forum member Mudcat observes: “[As to] the Hornady brass, while it’s good, it ain’t no Lapua, so don’t try to run hot loads cause all you are going to do is blow out the primer pockets. Keep your loads reasonable and you will get over 20 loads out of em. I have some I have loaded well over 20 times during testing…they grow like a mother though, as they are a lot softer than Win or Lapua, which is why the pockets will go. However the necks haven’t been splitting.”

Barrel Life Looks Promising
Barrel life appears to be pretty good with the 6.5 Creedmoor. Barrels will last significantly longer than with a typical .243 Win or 6.5-284. Forum Member Mudcat reports: “Based on my throat wear at 600 rounds on my 6.5 Creedmoor barrel, I bet we are looking at 2500 rounds EASY of great accuracy and then probably to at least 3000 where you ain’t going to notice it shooting Cross the Course — you might see something at 600, but nothing worse than a few less Xs. At 600 rounds, I have not had to move my VLD seating depth yet.” Forum member Rob1, who shoots tactical comps with Team Blaster, notes that Hornady puts its load and velocity on every box (see photo below), so it’s easy for reloaders to duplicate the factory ammo. That way you can start with a few boxes of factory fodder, and then load your own.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 12 Comments »
November 16th, 2012

New Hot Tub™ Ultra-Sonic Cleaning Machine from Hornady

Hornady has announced new products for 2013. These include a number of new bullets, along with new loaded rifle, pistol, and shotgun ammunition. Perhaps most interesting for precision reloaders is Hornady’s new jumbo Ultrasonic Cleaning machine (MSRP $658.33). Featuring a 9-liter capacity, the new Hornady Hot Tub™ is long enough to accommodate and clean a 16-inch AR-15 upper. Along with its large capacity, the Hot Tub has many advanced features.

Hornady Hot Tub Cleaner

New Large-Size Ultra-Sonic Cleaning Machine — the Hot Tub™
For 2013, Hornady will be offering a new, jumbo-sized ultra-sonic cleaning machine that can handle big parts and accessories. In addition to having four (4) transducers, there is also a heating element that enhances cleaning action. Hornady says that “the microjet action of the Hornady® Hot Tub™ removes carbon residue and other debris from cartridge cases, gun parts and other metal equipment.” We know that ultra-sonic cleaning works well on cartridge cases, provided you have a good machine, a suitable solution, and run the machine for an appropriate time.

Hornady Hot Tub Cleaner

The new Hot Tub is well-equipped out of the box. One 1.7 quart inner tank comes with the unit and can be used in the main tank for cleaning multiple smaller batches or to use separate solutions at the same time. Additional inner tanks can be purchased separately. Hanging cords have been integrated into the design to allow large objects to take full advantage of the ultrasonic energy. Additionally, the Hot Tub® features integrated drain pans in the lids, a small parts basket, a degas function and five (5) temperature settings from 100-140°F.

Hornady Hot Tub Cleaner

Watch Video to See Hornady Hot Tub Ultra-Sonic Cleaning Machine in Action

Hornady Hot Tub Cleaner

Permalink - Videos, New Product 2 Comments »
November 16th, 2012

Sinclair Christmas Catalog and Cyber-Weekend Promos

Sinclair Cyber Weekend SaleSinclair International has just released its 2012 Christmas Catalog. The 24-page catalog is filled with hundreds of sale items. Among the holiday bargains found inside are special offers on Hornady and Redding presses, Lyman case cleaning equipment, bullets from Berger, Norma, and Sierra, in addition to brass from Lapua and Nosler – just to name a few. The sale prices shown in the catalog are valid through January 14, 2013.

Customers who didn’t receive a print holiday catalog in the mail are encouraged to view the interactive digital version, which is an exact replica of the print edition.

CLICK HERE for Sinclair Digital Xmas Catalog.

Cyber Weekend Deals at Sinclair Int’l and Brownells
In five days, starting at 12:01 am on November 22, 2012 (Thanksgiving Day), Sinclair International kicks off its Cyber Weekend Sales Promotion. Through the holiday weekend, you’ll enjoy special savings on a wide variety of merchandise — bullets, brass, reloading tools, shooting accessories, and more. Along with the deals on the Sinclair Int’l website, Brownells.com will be offering special savings as part of Brownells’ “Black Rifle Friday” sales event, which actually starts on Thursday, November 22nd.

Sinclair Cyber Weekend Sale

Brownells Black Friday Sale

Permalink Hot Deals No Comments »
November 15th, 2012

Find Gun-Related Black Friday Sales on SlickGuns.com

black friday saleOn “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.

CLICK HERE for Gun-Related Black Friday Deals

slickguns.com black friday

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Permalink Hot Deals, News No Comments »
November 15th, 2012

Ultra-High Magnification 8-80x56mm March Riflescope

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.


larger photo

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.
Permalink - Videos, Optics 15 Comments »
November 15th, 2012

Bushing Dies and Honed Full-Length Sizing Dies

Redding Titanium TiNi BushingsWe 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).”

Die Diameter Sized Brass Springback Neck Tension
0.267 Die 0.2683-0.2684 0.0013 0.0014
0.266 Die 0.2672-0.2674 0.0013 0.0025
0.265 Die 0.2659-0.2660 0.0010 0.0039
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 8 Comments »
November 14th, 2012

Sound Suppressors Tested in Shooting Sports USA Article

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

Shooting Sports Suppressor SoundAre sound suppressors useful in competition shooting? In some disciplines, and in venues where sound “moderators” are permitted, the answer is “yes”. In the November edition of Shooting Sports USA eZine, you’ll find an interesting article about the use of sound suppressors (aka “cans”). The article explores the use of suppressors in Europe and in tactical matches in North America. You’ll also find an explanation of the rules and regulations governing suppressor ownership and use in the United States.

Shooting Sports Editor Chip Lohman tests three rifles from the bench and found that sound suppressors did not harm accuracy. In fact, all three test rifles (one each in .223 Rem, .308 Win, and .338 Lapua Magnum), shot slightly better 5-shot groups at 200 yards when a suppressor was fitted to the barrel. However, the suppressors did alter point of impact. Interestingly, velocity standard deviation (SD) values were lower with suppressors in place for all three test rifles. This observation calls for further study.*

CLICK HERE to Read Suppressor Article in Shooting Sports USA.

Shooting Sports Suppressor Sound

So the use of suppressors in competition could be a good thing. However, in the United States, current NRA High Power rules prohibit the use of sound suppressors. NRA Rule 3.16.1 subsection (a) states: “Sound Suppressors are not authorized for use in High Power competition.” In addition, there are some practical problems with suppressors — the heat rising off of a naked suppressor can create mirage problems (that’s why some shooters wrap their cans with a cover).

Despite such issues, we are starting to see moderators on rifles used in non-NRA-sanctioned tactical matches. For example, many competitors in the popular Steel Safari field challenge match use suppressors. The photo below shows our friend Zak Smith competing in the Steel Safari with his suppressed Accuracy International rifle.

Zak Smith Thunder Beast Steel Safari Suppressor

*The article cautions that one should not extrapolate too much from the SD numbers, given the low number of test shots. Chronograph-maker Ken Oehler, when asked to comment on the SD values stated: “[You should] report the observed SDs, but draw no conclusions until… you can do more testing with larger sample sizes.”
Permalink - Articles, Competition No Comments »
November 14th, 2012

Shilen Custom Rem 700 Clone Actions and Complete Rifles with Savage-Style Barrel Nut System

Did you know that Shilen Rifles Inc. offers barreled actions and complete rifles? And that Shilen offers a Savage-style, barrel-nut system for its Rem-clone actions? Starting in 2010, after a hiatus of nearly twenty years, Shilen returned to the rifle manufacturing market. After several years of development, Shilen now offers custom actions ($950.00), barreled custom actions with triggers ($1500.00), and complete rifles ($3200.00 and up).

The new Shilen custom actions are CNC-milled from high-grade stainless steel. Two types are offered — the multi-shot DGR (Repeater) or the single-shot DGV (Varminter) action. Both actions will be offered in most common bolt faces and both right-hand and left-hand actions are immediately available. The DGR and DGV actions have a 1.350″ diameter with 8-40 scope base mounting screw holes, and an 0.300″ pinned recoil lug. The spiral-fluted bolts feature a floating bolt head with an interchangeable bolt handle knob. These actions feature a footprint similar to the Remington Model 700. Both DGR and DGV actions will accept many aftermarket components crafted for Rem-700 style actions, including triggers and bottom metal.

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

Barreled Actions with Barrel-Nut System for Easy Barrel Exchanges
Along with the stand-alone DGR and DGV actions, Shilen is offering barreled action assemblies, chambered and ready to drop into Rem 700-inletted stocks. The actions are fitted with Shilen match-grade barrels and Shilen triggers. The barrels feature a 1-1/16″x20 barrel thread and are attached to the action by a barrel nut. This Savage-style barrel nut system simplifies headspacing, allowing easy swapping from one barrel to another. With the simple barrel-exchange procedure, you can shoot multiple chamberings with a single action/rifle. For example, shooters can change from a .223 Remington to a .204 Ruger or a .22-250 to a 6mm BR in a matter of minutes.

Complete Rifles with McMillan Stocks
With Shilen’s complete rifles, buyers can choose their chambering, and select barrel and stock configuration. Shooters can choose between a sporter weight wood stock or a variety of McMillan fiberglass stocks. With all complete rifles, the entire package is delivered in a quality gun case and Shilen even includes table mat, cleaning rod, bore guide, jag, bore brush, and cleaning patches.

There has been a strong demand for Shilen’s barreled actions and complete rifles. Accordingly, the waiting period is two to four months for complete rifles, a bit less for barreled actions. But some chamberings can be had much more quickly (if Shilen has a pre-chambered barrel in current inventory). If you’re interested, call (972) 875-5318 or email comments@shilen.com for more info.

Shilen Actions Complete rifles

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, New Product 13 Comments »