February 8th, 2013

New FLEX F-TR Bipod from Dan Pohlabel

Report by Monte Milanuk
With the proliferation of wide bipods for competitive F-TR shooting, we’ve seen a lot of cool gear hitting the market. Whatever you can imagine, someone is either building now, or working on prototype plans. One new design that seems to have stayed under the radar thus far is the FLEX bipod by Dan Pohlabel.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The FLEX bipod’s designer, Dan Pohlabel, offers these instructions:

The bipod feet are shipped loose. Note there is a left foot and a right foot. Mount them as shown in the diagram above. Determine the balance point of your rifle and mount the bipod approximately two inches forward of that point. You may want to move it further forward after shooting. Experiment with its placement to minimize movement of the bipod. When setting up, first grab each foot and ‘dig’ them in to the shooting surface, dirt, gravel, grass, carpet — it doesn’t matter. After making sure each foot has a hold, raise or lower the bipod to your target and use the cant adjustment to level your rifle. Loading the bipod with your shoulder is the preferred method of position. Contact me with any FLEX bipod questions you may have: danielp123 [at] earthlink.net.

The FLEX bipod is a very simple design — no Mariner’s wheel for vertical adjustment, no joystick head, no changing width as it goes up and down. And the FLEX bipod is very light (as are most, these days), but also very durable. I haven’t actively tried to destructively test it, but so far it’s held up to being tossed in the back of the truck, hauled around to the range and everywhere else in between. It definitely has not been ‘babied’ in any way, and it’s not noticeably any worse for wear. An added bonus is that it breaks down very flat for airline travel. Once I take the feet off, remove the ratchet lever (with screw), the whole bipod nestles very nicely in the bottom layer of foam in my gun case (with cuts for the head etc. in the foam). I’m definitely not worried about it in there. If someone bashes the case hard enough to damage what is essentially a plate of spring steel, then I’ve got bigger worries.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

This view (below) shows a bit of the adjustment controls. Each leg has independent control for height, and there is a ratcheting locking lever that controls the cant. Instead of being directly centered like most other designs I’ve seen, this one is off-set a little, allowing a fair amount of movement without allowing it to completely ‘flop’ over to one side. (By contrast, using other bipod designs, I’ve had guns literally flip over as they tipped over too far.) Also having the tilt control relatively close/tight to the bore of the gun helps with the stability as well.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

Inventor Dan Pohlebel developed the FLEX bipod for use in his native Ohio, where apparently grassy firing lines are the norm. Here in the Pacific Northwest, I seem to encounter concrete or gravel more often, which is why I usually place a mat under the bipod to keep it from sinking in too far. On Dan’s newest models, the “feet” have teeth to give better traction on hard surfaces such as the hard-pack clay/dirt (beneath a skim layer of gravel) that you’ll find at Raton, NM.

Why would you want more traction? Well, not everyone wants a bipod that slides around like a hog on ice. Some people manage to get things tracking straight back and forth, almost like it was constrained by a front rest. Personally, I have a hard time doing that in a repeatable fashion. While the FLEX Bipod shoots quite well with a [loose] hold, it was designed for those of us who like to ‘lean’ into the gun a bit. Quite literally, the idea is that you get the feet to dig in slightly, and push against the rifle butt with your shoulder and the bipod will ‘flex’ or bow forward slightly. It is one of those things that sounds wonky until you try it. It may take a few times to get a feel for it, but once you do, it is surprisingly repeatable.

Flex bipod Dan Polabel Milanuk

The system does have a few quirks to it. Personally, I wish the rail attachment had a ratchet lever like the pivot control. Currently you need a separate tool to take the bipod on/off the gun. Also, the FLEX bipod seems to work better mounted somewhat further back than other designs. Some experimenting may be necessary to find what works best. Then again, we all need more trigger time….

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 6 Comments »
February 8th, 2013

Competition Fierce at 2013 Berger SW Long Range Nationals

It’s February, so it must be time for Berger Southwest Long Range Nationals again. Hosted by the the Desert Sharpshooters at the Ben Avery Range outside Phoenix, this popular event kicked off on February 5th, and runs through Sunday, February 10th. As always, there has been a huge turnout (200+ shooters from throughout the USA and Canada), and the match is very well-organized. We’ll provide complete results when the match is complete, but here are some early highlights…

Berger SW long range nationals

shiraz baloliaIn F-Open competition, Team Grizzly won the Palma (800, 900 and 1000 yards) 4-person team match at the Berger SW Nationals against some of the fiercest competition in the country. Trudie Fay served as coach and the shooters were Shiraz Balolia (team captain), Emil Kovan, John Myers, and Tony Robertson.

Congratulations go to the USA F-TR Team “Blue” for winning the Palma Team Match. USA Team Blue narrowly edged out an excellent Michigan Team coached by Bryan Litz. The top F-TR shooter of the day was Dan Pohlabel (creator of the FLEX Bipod) who shot an impressive 443-17X, edging Matt Schwartzkopf of USA F-TR Team “Red” who scored 443-14X.

2013 Berger SW Nationals Long range

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 8th, 2013

Cleaning Brass with Stainless Tumbling Media

On our main Accurateshooter.com website, you’ll find a comprehensive review of the STM system for cleaning cartridge brass with stainless media. To clean brass with stainless media, start with five pounds of small stainless pins sold by StainlessTumblingMedia.com. Place these along with a gallon of water, a little liquid cleaner, and two pounds of cartridge brass in a rotary tumbler, and run the machine for one to four hours.

CLICK HERE for Stainless Media Brass Cleaning System Review

Forum Member Tests STM System
Our reviewer, Forum member Jason Koplin, purchased the STM media and a new Thumler’s Tumbler. He then tested the STM cleaning procedure on his own brass, including some extremely dirty and tarnished “range pick-up” brass. Jason was thoroughly impressed with how well the STM process worked — as you can see from the “before and after” photos below. Brass which looked like it was ready for the scrap heap was restored to “like-new” appearance. The process works equally well on both rifle brass and pistol brass. Jason observed that one surprise benefit of the STM cleaning procedure is a big reduction in noise. Jason said the water-filled rotary tumbler was much quieter than his vibratory tumblers.

stainless tumbling Media

stainless tumbling Media

Lake City Brass STM Stainless Media

Lake City Brass STM Stainless Media

You’ll want to read Jason’s full review which shows more before and after images. The full article features a “how-to” video created by Forum member Cory Dickerson, the young man who pioneered the stainless tumbling process and founded STM. The video shows how to load brass, media, and cleaner solutions into the tumbler, and how to separate media from brass once the tumbling is done.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review 4 Comments »
February 7th, 2013

Creedmoor Sports Prepares for Move to Anniston, Alabama

On or before April 15th, 2013, Creedmoor Sports will cease all operations at its current Oceanside, California location and relocate to newly acquired facilities in Anniston, Alabama. Creedmoor has dubbed this move “Operation Roll Tide”.

Creedmoor Sports has secured its new Alabama headquarters facilities already, so the change-over should be very smooth. Customers can continue to place orders with the Creedmoor website and continue to use Creedmoor’s toll-free order line, 1-800-CREEDMOOR.

Dennis DeMille, Creedmoor Sports General Manager, explained the reasons behind the relocation: “The decision to move was based on several factors including: business climate, proximity to greater number of customers, employee pool, and growth potential. Our new facilities are located aboard old Fort McClellan, ten minutes North of CMP Headquarters in Anniston. Morris Building of Anniston began construction and renovation February 4th on the existing building and on a new addition.”

Dennis adds: “We look forward to the increased opportunities this move provides and we appreciate your support during this transition. Many of our employees key to production and operations will be moving with us, thereby minimizing any potential disruption to service.”

New Creedmoor Sports Address:

Creedmoor Sports, Inc.
167 Creedmoor Way
Anniston, AL 36205

Creedmoor Sports will be very close to the CMP’s Anniston location and roughly 30 minutes (by car) from the CMP’s new 500-acre shooting facility (currently under construction).

Here is the entrance to Creedmoor Sports new Alabama facility, along with the new street sign on the nearest corner. You’ll find updates on Creedmoor’s “Operation Roll Tide” business move on the Creedmoor Sports Facebook Page.

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February 7th, 2013

Getting Started in F-Class by Rod Vigstol

How Easy it is to Have Fun with Rifles and Equipment You Probably Already Have….
Forum member Rod Vigstol (aka Nodak7mm) has written a great Introduction to F-Class for shooters getting started in this rewarding discipline. Rod’s article, which appears in German Salazar’s Rifleman’s Journal website, covers F-Class basics and addresses concerns that “newbies” may have when trying a new shooting sport. Rod stresses that most guys who own a varmint-hunting or tactical rig likely have nearly all the gear they need to give F-Class competition a try.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

CLICK HERE to read Rod Vigstol’s ‘Getting Started in F-Class’ article on Rifleman’s Journal.com

Rod explains: “If you’re reading this, you have more than just a general interest in the shooting sports and in the awesome rifles that shoot tiny groups at insane distances. You probably even have friends that enjoy shooting as much as you do. The quandary you may find yourself in is your friends haven’t quite jumped into it head-first like you have and they haven’t spent a lot of money and time obtaining the equipment you have to go shoot these matches. But you know what? Your prairie-dog shooting buddy or coyote-hunter friend can attend these matches and shoot alongside with you. He or she more than likely already has the basic equipment needed to shoot a match.” Most varmint shooters already have a suitable, accurate rifle and the following equipment:

• A variable-power scope in the 4.5-14x range or higher.
• A front bipod like the trusty old Harris 9″-13″, or maybe even a basic pedestal front rest.
• A rear sand-bag or similar sand-sock to rest the butt stock.
• A basic shooting mat from Midway or at least a piece of carpet or canvas to lay on.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod also provides a handy checklist of items to bring to the range. These include: Canvas or carpet strip (to set under bipod), Notebook, Kitchen Timer, Cleaning Rod, Camp Chair, Elbow Pads, Shooting Hat, and Open Bolt Indicator (OBI). Along with rifle, bipod (or front rest), rear bag, and ammo, that’s pretty much all you need.

Intro to F-Class Shooting

Rod encourages all shooters to give F-Class a try — even novices. Rod explains: “We have all been rookies, newbies, new kids on the block or whatever. So we all have a good idea of what may be going on in your mind, the questions and concerns you may have. I’m telling you this sport is full of fantastic people who deep down find it far more fulfilling to help a new shooter get started than running a clean target. You just have to take the first step to get involved.”

CLICK HERE To read the entire article on Rifleman’s Journal.com. We’ve only provided a small sample of Rod’s article; it is definitely worth reading in its entirety.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Shooting Skills 10 Comments »
February 6th, 2013

Savage CEO Ron Coburn Announces Retirement

Having led one of the most remarkable turnarounds in the outdoor industry, Ron Coburn is stepping down as Chairman and CEO of Savage Sports Corporation. Ron’s retirement follows a 25-year tenure as CEO where he led the Company out of insolvency to the Company’s current position as one of America’s top rifle makers. Coburn took the helm of Savage in 1988 shortly after the Company filed for bankruptcy protection and Coburn guided Savage’s subsequent rise to market leadership.

Ron Coburn Savage CEO

“Everybody wants to go out on top,” Coburn said. “We’ve had many years of strong, sustained growth, and it seems like every year has been a new record year for Savage. The business has never been better positioned for the future. I’m turning 65 this year; the time is right for a transition.”

Coburn’s retirement has been in process for several years, as he has slowly delegated the day-to-day leadership to the Company’s management team. “Some people say that Ron Coburn rebuilt Savage Arms. That’s not true. I helped build a team and together we rebuilt Savage Arms,” Coburn stated. “The management team is still in place, and Savage is in very good shape with a very, very bright future.” Coburn will maintain a substantial personal financial stake in the company: “I may be moving out, but my money is staying. I can’t think of a better place to invest right now.”

Coburn Shoots What He Sells
You have to love a gun company CEO who actually gets behind the trigger. In this “behind the scenes” video made during the filming of a Savage Arms commercial in Utah, Team Savage Captain Stan Pate guides Ron Coburn in the use of the Savage Palma rifle chambered in .308 Winchester. Ron successfully hits targets at 1200 yards. Ron comes away smiling, as do members of the film crew who get “trigger time” at the end of the video. We love Stan Pate’s closing line. With a big grin, he says that the Savage rifle’s accuracy makes long-range shooting “So easy — even the Boss can do it“.

Permalink News 2 Comments »
February 6th, 2013

6BR vs. 223 Rem and .308 Win — Recoil Comparison

6mmBR NormaMany visitors to the site ask us, “I’ve got a .223 and .308. What will a 6mmBR Norma (6BR) give me that I’m not getting already?” Well first you will probably average consistently smaller groups than your current .223 or .308 rifle (assuming the 6BR has a quality barrel and trigger). A good .308 Winchester can be superbly accurate, no question about that, but the lesser recoil of the 6BR works in the shooter’s favor over a long string of fire. Even with a Rem 700 or Savage action factory action, a 6BR with a benchrest stock, premium barrel, and a high-quality chambering job should deliver 5-shot groups in the high twos to mid-threes, provided you do your job. We have one 6BR rifle that shoots Lapua factory-loaded 6BR ammunition in the low twos and high ones. That’s exceptional, we admit, but it still shows how the 6BR is an inherently accurate cartridge, even with factory loads.

Compared to a .223, the 6BR offers a much better selection of high-BC projectiles, and will deliver considerably more power on the target. Compared to the .308 shooting 168gr MatchKings, a 6BR shooting 105-107gr bullets offers better ballistics all the way out to 1000 yards. Plus, for most people, the 6BR is just easier to shoot than a .308. Recoil is less than half of the .308 cartridge. Both the .308 and 6BR chamberings offer good barrel life, but the 6BR uses 15-18 grains less powder, saving you money. Here’s how the 6BR stacks up vs. a number of popular calibers:

Permalink News, Tech Tip 14 Comments »
February 6th, 2013

NRA Publications Seeks Shooting Illustrated Managing Editor

Shooting Illustrated jobWould you like to write about guns for a living, and “call the shots” at a major gun magazine with a huge readership of shooters around the country? Well, here’s your opportunity.

NRA Publications is accepting applications for Managing Editor of Shooting Illustrated, NRA’s monthly newsstand magazine dedicated to personal protection guns, tactical firearms, concealed carry, and self-defense techniques. The Managing Editor will assist with the management of and provide editorial support essential to the daily operation of Shooting Illustrated magazine and ShootingIllustrated.com. He or she will ensure all work satisfies established quality standards and policies, and meets production deadlines. Candidates should have at least “five years experience in managerial level journalism”. The position is based at NRA Headquarters in Fairfax, Virginia. For a full job description and a list of required qualifications, or to submit your resume, go to www.careers.nra.org. Direct inquiries to NRA Human Resources, careers [at] nrahq.org.

Shooting Illustrated job

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February 5th, 2013

TCU’s Sarah Scherer Sets New NCAA Smallbore Record

Congrats to 2012 Olympian Sarah Scherer who set an NCAA record with a 597 in smallbore this past weekend in a showdown with UTEP Rifle Team. She also tied the NCAA record with a 1,195 aggregate in leading the defending NCAA Champion TCU Women’s Rifle Team to their 22nd consecutive victory.

sarah scherer TCU

Sarah shot her record scores at a match at UTEP on Saturday. The TCU Horned Frogs topped the UTEP Miners 4,694-4,511. Sarah Scherer set an NCAA record in smallbore, firing a 597. Scherer added a 598 in air rifle to tie the NCAA Aggregate record with a combined 1,195. In smallbore, Sarah shot a perfect 200 in prone, a 199 in standing and a 198 in kneeling. In air rifle, she fired five perfect strings of 100, including the final four strings. Her lone 9s came in the second string of shots when she shot a 98.

sarah scherer TCU

Scherer’s record-breaking smallbore shooting lead TCU to victory in the rimfire competition, with the Horned Frogs winning 2,335-2,223 over UTEP. TCU had the top four smallbore shooters, and TCU also boasted five of the top six shooters in air rifle to help TCU to a 2,359-2,288 win. TCU will fire one more match before the NCAA Championships in March.

Large photo courtesy USA Shooting.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 5th, 2013

Handy Charts Identify Correct Ammo Boxes for your Cartridge

MTM Ammo BoxesMost of our readers know that MTM Case-Gard offers a vast selection of ammo boxes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. However, with such a wide inventory of box styles and sizes, it can be difficult, at first, to select the right box for your particular cartridge and carrying needs. MTM has now simplified that task by publishing comprehensive Ammo Box Charts on its website. Just log on to the Box Charts Page, and select Rifle, Handgun, or Shotshell boxes. That will open a large chart listing cartridge types, small to large, in the left column. Pick your cartridge and you will see all the storage options. MTM even codes the entries so you can see if a box allows Tip Up AND Tip Down storage, Tip Down only, or Tip Up only. For most popular rifle cartridges, there are 20-round, 50-round, and 100-round cases. Below is the first part of the Rifle Ammo Box Chart. The entire chart is four pages long.

MTM Ammo Boxes

Rifle Ammo Box Chart (All) PDF | Handgun Ammo Box Chart (All) PDF | Shotshell Box Chart (All)

New MTM Ammo Belt Pouch
MTM has also introduced a handy product that should work great for rimfire shooters. The new MTM Ammo Belt Pouch conveniently holds 100 rounds (two boxes) of .22LR rimfire ammo. With a sturdy snap latch and heavy-duty belt clip, all you have to do is pour out the ammo, then clip the pouch on your belt or jeans pocket. The Belt Pouch is also handy for saving fired centerfire brass.

Suggested retail for MTM’s Ammo Belt Pouch is a modest $4.95. However, Grafs.com currently sells the item for $3.59 (Prod. #MTMABP). Designed to hold a 100 rounds of 22 long rifles. Holds: .22 Long rifle, 22 Magnum, 22 Short, 17 Win Super Mag, 17 HMR, 17 Mach 2, Pellets, and BBs.

mtm belt pouch

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February 4th, 2013

New Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting Book Available Now

Nancy’s book is finally shipping! The updated Second Edition of Nancy Tompkins’ book, Prone and Long Range Rifle Shooting, is now in stock and can be ordered from RifleShootingbyNancy.com. Price is $45.00 including shipping in USA, or $59.00 with shipping in Canada (overseas price is $68.00).

The Second Edition is bigger and better than ever. The new, 382-page Second Edition features color photos, and the book is now a hardback for greater durability. The Second Edition contains a new section on F-Class shooting and you’ll find new and updated information throughout the book. Nancy, the first woman to win the NRA National High Power Championship, is one of the greatest competitive rifle shooters in history. In her book she shares insights that can assist rifle shooters of all levels, in a wide range of disciplines. You’ll learn about shooting fundamentals, wind/mirage reading, body positioning, sling use, gear selection, match preparation, visualization techniques, and much, much more. The book also includes sections by Middleton Tompkins on reloading, equipment, and building a Palma rifle.
CLICK HERE for Complete Topic List by Chapter.

Nancy Tompkins long range rifle shooting book

Nancy Tompkins — A Truly Legendary Rifle Shoter
Nancy Tompkins has been shooting competitively for over 38 years. She has won the National Long Range Championships 4 times (1986, 1997, 1999 and 2003), the across-the-course National High Power Championships (1998), the Metric Smallbore Nationals (2012) and the Fullbore Nationals (2012).

Nancy has also been the Wimbledon Cup winner (1993) and a 7-time Leech Cup winner (1995, 1997, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2011 and 2012). She has won both team and individual medals in the World Championships and has been on seven Palma Teams (as both a shooter and a coach).

Permalink New Product, News No Comments »
February 4th, 2013

NSSF Offers Skeet-Shooting Tips for President Obama

This NSSF article was originally published at NSSFBlog.com.

Skeet-Gate: Some Constructive Advice for the President — By Larry Keane
We here at NSSF were somewhat bemused over the controversy that sprang from President Obama’s assertion that he shot skeet on a regular basis, and the second wave of commentary that attended the White House release of a photo to prove it. There’s a reason we’re citing the New York Times coverage in the link above — we’ll get to that later.

The assertion came as no surprise to us, because NSSF sponsored and oversaw the renovation of the skeet field at Camp David. We provided one of the industry’s top facilities consultants, and donated tens of thousands of dollars of machinery, consulting and oversight to build the regulation field. We provided countless hours of shotgun and safety instruction as well. We were honored to provide this service for the office of the Presidency, and our investment appears to be paying off by recruiting new shooters. Welcome, Mr. President.

President Obama Skeet Shooting

In the same vein, we can offer the president some constructive advice on his shooting. Mr. President, try leaning a little further forward into the shot to better manage recoil. Keep your feet about shoulder width apart, and put more weight on your leading foot. You appear to be shooting a gun with “neutral cast,” to wit, a straight stock. Since you’re shooting left-handed, you may want to look into a different stock cast to better accommodate you. And if you’re going to get a custom gun, make sure they measure your length of pull first. Proper gun fit makes an enormous difference in accuracy, and thus in your enjoyment of the sport.

You may also want to try out the semiautomatic shotguns that another one of our member companies donated to Camp David. These too come in left-handed versions, which eject the spent casing to your left, instead of to the right as is customary. No matter which way the case ejects when you shoot the semiautomatic, you’ll notice that the gun still only shoots one round per pull of the trigger, just like the over/under you’re shooting in the picture.

In fact, the semiautomatic shotguns are functionally identical to all the semiautomatic firearms that Senator Dianne Feinstein has proposed to ban in her sweeping new legislation, S. 150. We feel like we have to keep repeating that fact, because many of the media voices that consider themselves learned scholars on gun policy don’t even know the difference between a rifle and a shotgun, for heaven’s sake. Note that The New York Times article has a correction at the bottom of the page, because it originally said that you were shooting a rifle in the picture — a mistake quickly repeated by dozens of other media outlets. Many of these same media outlets have been quick to editorialize about which guns Americans should and should not be allowed to own, when apparently they wouldn’t know a rifle or a shotgun from a barn door. Go figure.

You’re wearing both eye and ear protection, which are required, but a shooting vest and some custom earplugs might make you more comfortable – those earmuffs can get clammy on a hot day. Finally, a note to the photographer: It’s better policy to stand directly behind the shooter on any active range, because it’s safer and besides, you can see (and snap, if you’re quick) whether he hit the target.

Gun owners, by the way, have only a few short weeks before we see whether the Congress puts a target on our Second Amendment rights. We urge you and all our elected lawmakers to know your target, which is the criminal misuse of firearms, not arbitrary limits on which guns and magazines law-abiding citizens can legally purchase. Don’t aim the gun of heavy-handed restrictions and regulations at anything you’re not willing to destroy, including the hundreds of thousands of jobs our industry provides. Did you know that new restrictions on gun and ammunition purchases will also damage wildlife conservation programs? That’s because our nation’s federal conservation grants are funded primarily by the excise taxes on gun and ammo sales.

So the outcome of this pending legislative debate is very important. And believe me, we’re watching that even more closely than the pictures of you shooting a shotgun at Camp David.

Permalink News 5 Comments »
February 3rd, 2013

Former U.S. Navy SEAL Sniper Chris Kyle Killed in Texas

Chris Kyle Sniper SEAL dead

Chris Kyle, highly-decorated U.S. Navy SEAL (retired) and author of the best-selling book American Sniper: an Autobiography was shot dead yesterday at a Texas gun range where he was helping other veterans. The suspected shooter was Eddie Ray Routh, 25, a former marine who was suffering from PTSD. Also killed by Routh was Kyle’s friend Chad Littlefield. Read Related Story from KHOU.com.

Kyle served four tours-of-duty in the Middle East. Kyle served in every major battle in Operation Iraqi Freedom. While deployed in Iraq, Kyle was so feared that insurgents named him Al-Shaitan Ramad (“The Devil of Rahmadi”), and put a $20,000 bounty on his head — later increased to $80,000. In 2008 outside Sadr City, Kyle made a 2,100-yard shot, killing an insurgent who was armed with a rocket launcher. Kyle was using a PGM 338 rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum.

During his military service, Kyle was awarded two silver stars, five bronze stars, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation and Achievement Medals. Following his combat deployments, Kyle became chief instructor for training Naval Special Warfare Sniper and Counter-Sniper teams, and he authored the Naval Special Warfare Sniper Doctrine, the first Navy SEAL sniper manual. Kyle is survived by his wife and two children.

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February 3rd, 2013

Recommended Bullet Casting Book from Cast Bullet Association

Forum member Roy Bertalotto has found a great print resource for cast bullet shooters. Roy, who runs the RVB Precision website, has started casting his own bullets. Roy tells us: “I recently joined the Cast Bullet Association (CBA) as I’ve discovered the great hobby of casting my own bullets for long range ‘Buffalo Shoots’ and Cowboy Action Shooting.” Roy says he found the information he needed in the CBA’s own guide to bullet casting: “The CBA offers a fantastic 496-page book, mostly prepared by members, on absolutely everything you’d ever want to know and more about bullet casting.”

Cast Bullet Association Book

Cast Bullets For Beginner and Expert (Second Edition) is a collection of articles from serious cast bullet shooters, covering every subject imaginable. Compiled by Joe Brennan, this new edition has updated information. This Second Edition is now available for $29.95 with free shipping in the USA.

You can order this book online, or send a $29.95 check to:
Eunice Birmley, CBA Director of Services, 47 Pinon, Cimarron, NM 87714

Cast Bullet Association Book

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product 1 Comment »
February 3rd, 2013

Leupold Factory Tour Video — Plus Counterfeit Scope Warning

Leupold & Stevens, producer of riflescopes, spotting scopes, and laser rangefinders, offer an interesting two-part video showing the production process at Leupold’s Beaverton, Oregon manufacturing facility. Leupold is one of the world’s largest scope-makers. Each year, the Leupold factory machines over two million pounds of aluminum. Laid end to end, as extruded, this aluminum would stretch over 400 miles. That’s a lot of scopes. To see how Leupold produces its riflescopes, using high-tech machinery (as well as old-fashioned human craftsmen), watch the videos below.

Leupold Tour Part One
YouTube Preview Image

Leupold Tour Part Two
YouTube Preview Image

Leupold Issues Warning About Counterfeit MK4 Scopes
In related news, Leupold has issued a “customer alert” regarding counterfeit Leupold scopes illegally imported from the People’s Republic of China. These products bear many of the marks and trade dress of current Leupold riflescopes making them very hard to distinguish from authentic Leupold products.

Leupold MKIV Fake

Counterfeited Leupold Mark 4® riflescopes have begun to arrive with increasing regularity at Leupold’s headquarters for service. These products are not manufactured by Leupold and are not covered by the Leupold Full Lifetime Guarantee. Leupold employs serial number tracking for all its riflescopes, so if you have a suspect scope, call 1-800-LEUPOLD with the SN, and Leupold can immediately confirm whether the optic is genuine or not.

Most of the counterfeit scopes appear to originate from the People’s Republic of China, and have “Leupold Mark 4” laser engraved on the bottom of the turret in a silver etch, while the black ring on the objective is etched in white and does not include the name “Leupold.” The scopes also do not bear the Leupold medallion, a mark all Leupold scopes will always possess. An authentic Mark 4 riflescope will always be engraved black on black and have the name “Leupold” engraved on the black ring.

Identifying Marks (Click for photos): Turrets | Objective | Bottom Label

This story was originally posted in late 2010.
Permalink - Videos, Optics 5 Comments »
February 2nd, 2013

Green Beret Petition Calls for Wisdom in National Gun Debate

More than 1,100 current and retired U.S. Army Special Forces soldiers have signed a petition that advocates a rational, reasoned response to the events in Newtown, Connecticut. The Green Beret Petition cautions against “knee-jerk” legislation which would threaten the Second Amendment rights of American citizens. The Petition asks national leaders to recognize that the causative factors involved in mass shootings are complex. Hence banning certain types of firearms may not “solve the problem” at all.

The Petition makes important fact-based arguments. For example, the petition points out that sweeping gun bans adopted in the United Kingdom did not reduce overall gun-related crime — in fact UK gun violence increased after the gun bans. By contrast, gun violence has actually dropped in the USA despite a growth in gun ownership: “Overall, gun-related crime [in the UK] had increased 65% since the Dunblane massacre and implementation of the toughest gun control laws in the developed world. In contrast, in 2009 (5 years after the Federal Assault Weapons Ban expired) total firearm related homicides in the U.S. declined by 9% from the 2005 high.”

READ Full Petition (PDF file):
Protecting the Second Amendment — Why all Americans Should Be Concerned

The Green Beret Petition cautions that many current anti-gun legislative proposals may have no practical effect: “[I]f stricter gun control laws are not likely to reduce gun-related crime, why are we having this debate? Other than making us and our elected representatives feel better because we think that we are doing something to protect our children, these actions will have no effect and will only provide us with a false sense of security.”

Noting that reactionary gun ban legislation will not solve a complex problem, the Green Beret Petition suggests that national leaders must look more carefully at many factors:

Green Beret Petition Recommendations

So, what do we believe will be effective? First, it is important that we recognize that this is not a gun control problem; it is a complex sociological problem. No single course of action will solve the problem. Therefore, it is our recommendation that a series of diverse steps be undertaken, the implementation of which will require patience and diligence to realize an effect. These are as follows:

1. First and foremost we support our Second Amendment right in that “A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed”.

2. We support State and Local School Boards in their efforts to establish security protocols in whatever manner and form that they deem necessary and adequate. One of the great strengths of our Republic is that State and Local governments can be creative in solving problems. Things that work can be shared. Our point is that no one knows what will work and there is no one single solution, so let‟s allow the State and Local governments with the input of the citizens to make the decisions. Most recently the Cleburne Independent School District will become the first district in North Texas to consider allowing some teachers to carry concealed guns. We do not opine as to the appropriateness of this decision, but we do support their right to make this decision for themselves.

3. We recommend that Assisted Outpatient Treatment (AOT) laws be passed in every State. AOT is formerly known as Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) and allows the courts to order certain individuals with mental disorders to comply with treatment while living in the community. In each of the mass shooting incidents the perpetrator was mentally unstable. We also believe that people who have been adjudicated as incompetent should be simultaneously examined to determine whether they should be allowed the right to retain/purchase firearms.

4. We support the return of firearm safety programs to schools along the lines of the successful “Eddie the Eagle” program, which can be taught in schools by Peace Officers or other trained professionals.

5. Recent social psychology research clearly indicates that there is a direct relationship between gratuitously violent movies/video games and desensitization to real violence and increased aggressive behavior particularly in children and young adults (See Nicholas L. Carnagey, et al. 2007. “The effect of video game violence on physiological desensitization to real-life violence” and the references therein. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 43:489-496). Therefore, we strongly recommend that gratuitous violence in movies and video games be discouraged. War and war-like behavior should not be glorified. Hollywood and video game producers are exploiting something they know nothing about. General Sherman famously said “War is Hell!” Leave war to the Professionals. War is not a game and should not be “sold” as entertainment to our children.

6. We support repeal of the Gun-Free School Zones Act of 1990. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it obviously isn‟t working. It is our opinion that “Gun-Free Zones” anywhere are too tempting of an environment for the mentally disturbed individual to inflict their brand of horror with little fear of interference. While governmental and non-governmental organizations, businesses, and individuals should be free to implement a Gun-Free Zone if they so choose, they should also assume Tort liability for that decision.

7. We believe that border states should take responsibility for implementation of border control laws to prevent illegal shipments of firearms and drugs. Drugs have been illegal in this country for a long, long time yet the Federal Government manages to seize only an estimated 10% of this contraband at our borders. Given this dismal performance record that is misguided and inept (“Fast and Furious”), we believe that border States will be far more competent at this mission.

8. This is our country, these are our rights. We believe that it is time that we take personal responsibility for our choices and actions rather than abdicate that responsibility to someone else under the illusion that we have done something that will make us all safer. We have a responsibility to stand by our principles and act in accordance with them. Our children are watching and they will follow the example we set.

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February 2nd, 2013

Gear Review: Bald Eagle (Grizzly) 20″ Range Bag

Bald Eagle Range BagI have been looking for a bag that can securely carry a large spotting scope as well as chronograph hardware, wind meter, and camera gear — all the extra stuff I typically take to the range in addition to the essential cleaning and shooting products that go in my regular range kit. The folks at Grizzly Industrial told me to check out their new 20″ Range Bag by Bald Eagle. These 20″ Range Bags, are very versatile and well-made. With eyepiece removed, my jumbo-sized Pentax PF-100ED spotting scope fit perfectly inside the padded central compartment. At the same time I could haul ALL the peripherals for my PVM-21 chronograph, plus a camera, wind meter, spare Pentax eyepiece, AND a netbook computer. Without the netbook, there is room for four pistols along the side channels. If you don’t need to pack a large spotting scope, the main compartment could easily hold 3 more pistols in Bore-Store socks, plus holsters, ammo boxes, and earmuffs.

Please enable Javascript and Flash to view this VideoPress video.

Good Gear AccurateShooter.comWatch the video to see how much stuff will fit in this bag. NOTE: If you carry a tripod or windflag stand using the straps under the case lid, be sure to position the foam padding carefully to prevent any direct contact with a spotting scope in the main compartment. Overall, the 20″ Range Bag is a remarkably capable gear-hauler. With the nicely-padded interior it will safely carry expensive items such as laser rangefinders, and binoculars. There is also a slash pocket on the rear side (not shown in video) that will hold thin items such as target stickers and shooting log-books. The 20″ Range Bag is offered in four (4) different colors: Red, Black, Green, and Camo. Price is $59.95 for solid colors and $61.95 for camo.

Grizzly Bald Eagle 20

Smaller, 15″ Range Bag Offered Also
Grizzly also sells more compact, 15″-wide Bald Eagle Range Bags. There are six (6) color choices for the 15″ Range Bag: Red, Black, Navy Blue, Green, Hot Pink (for ladies), and Camo. Solid colors cost $45.00, while the Camo Bag costs a couple dollars more ($46.95). If you don’t need to haul a spotting scope, you may prefer the smaller version. The 15″ version still offers lot of carrying capacity — it’s big enough to hold ammo, muffs, target stickers, and much more.

Grizzly Range Bag 15" Camo

REVIEW Disclosure: Grizzly Industrial provided the 20″ Range Bag for testing and evaluation.

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February 2nd, 2013

$10 Rack System Holds Six Cleaning Rods Securely

Fishing Rod Rack Cleaning RodsForum member Nodak7mm has discovered an ideal way to store your rifle cleaning rods in your garage or loading room. Using inexpensive Berkley Fishing Rod Racks, Nodak7mm has secured a half-dozen Dewey rods on the back of a door. You could also mount the racks along a wall or on the side of a storage cabinet. This installation takes up minimal space and the Berkley Racks cost just $9.96 per set at Walmart. If you prefer wood, Wally World also sells a nice lacquered pine 6-rod wall rack for $17.54.

Nodak7mm explains: “I was moving some fishing poles around and ended up with an extra pair of Fishing Rod wall racks. I said to myself, ‘I bet this would hold my Dewey cleaning rods’. I mounted the pair on the inside of a closet door in my man cave and put my cleaning rods in it. It works like a charm and is far cheaper than a specially-made rack that only lets the rods hang. One can even slam the door with the rods mounted and they stay put. This rod rack set is found at almost any decent fishing tackle store, is made by a nationally recognized name and does a great job of holding the cleaning rods securely and safely. Best thing about them is the pair only costs $10 or less.”

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February 1st, 2013

NEW Sizing Dies and Micrometer Seaters from Whidden Gunworks

There is a new player in the field of elite die-makers: Whidden Gunworks. John Whidden’s Georgia-based company is producing outstanding full-length sizing dies and micrometer-top seater dies for 7/8-14 thread presses. The dies look great, work great, and produce very straight and accurate ammo. The Whidden dies are finished beautifully inside and out. They are priced competitively and they are available for popular “extreme accuracy” cartridges such as the 6PPC, 6mmBR, 6mmBRX, 6 Dasher, 6XC, 6.5×47, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .308 Win (and more). If you are looking for a die set for your new precision rifle, you should definitely check out the Whidden dies. Two-die set, FL Sizer and Micrometer-top Seater, costs $184.99. Sizer die alone is $74.99, while Seater die alone is $109.99.

Many of our Forum members have started using Whidden dies — and they are reporting very positive results. I personally own and use a set of Whidden dies, and I am very, very impressed with them. Here’s my report:


Editor’s Report on Whidden Dies
AccurateShooter.com good gearI have a set of Whidden Gunworks dies for my personal 6BRDX (a chambering similar to 6 Dasher but with longer neck). The dies are excellent and they produce very straight ammo. My loaded rounds (made with a Whidden bushing-type FL sizer and Whidden micrometer-top seater) are showing less than .0015″ run-out measured on the bullet, with the majority closer to .001″ run-out. (This is with Lapua Scenar L bullets, which have great jacket uniformity and concentricity.)

One thing I immediately noticed about the Whidden seater die is that there is a very close correspondence between the seater “hash marks” and true changes in seating depth. By this I mean when you dial a value change of 10 on the micrometer scale, you get very close to a .010″ change in seating depth. It is not perfect, but it is definitely more precise than most other micrometer-top seater dies I’ve used (both hand dies and 7/8-14 thread screw-in types).

Whidden diesCartridges loaded with my Whidden sizer and seater dies have proved very accurate. My 6BRDX is shooting in the mid-ones for five shots at 100 yards. I also have a micrometer-top Wilson inline seater die that was custom-bored with my chamber reamer. As far as I can tell, the ammo loaded with the screw-in Whidden seater is every bit as accurate as rounds loaded with the Wilson die using an arbor press. Additionally, with the Whidden micrometer die, I can hold extremely tight tolerances on base-to-bullet-ogive lengths.

In the past, with my 6mmBR, I favored an inline die because I thought it offered better control over seating depth. But given how well the Whidden seater works, I’m not sure I’d gain anything with my Wilson hand die. At least when used with a quality Harrell’s benchrest press, the Whidden seater gives up little or nothing to the hand die, and that’s big news in my experience.

Whidden Gunworks die

You will like the look and feel of these Whidden dies. The finish inside and out is very, very good — the dies have a quality feel and run very smoothly. Both the sizer and seater have a fluted section — this offers a better “grip” when you’re screwing in the dies. The outside of the seater has a smooth, gloss-anodized finish — it exudes quality. The markings on the seater’s micrometer ring are crisp and very legible, with large, high-contrast white-on-black lines and numbers.

One other very cool feature of the Whidden sizing dies is that custom-sized tapered expanders will soon be offered. Whidden plans to offer expanders in .0005″ (one-half thousandth) increments. This is great if you have, say, a .265 bushing and a .266 bushing but you want just a little less neck tension than the .265 offers. With the tapered expander, I can use a 0.265 bushing followed by an 0.2655 expander — allowing more precise control of neck “grip”.


Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die Seater

Whidden Die Features

  • Die Dimensions well-matched to PT&G reamers used for match chambers.
  • Sizing dies spec’d for easy chambering and extraction without overworking brass.
  • All sizers include shoulder datum collar to measure shoulder “bump” and headspace.
  • Neck bushing or no-neck bushing configurations.
  • Bushing dies use standard Redding/Wilson type bushings.
  • Neck diameter of non-bushing FL sizers can be set to customer specification.
  • Extended threads on short cartridge sizer dies such as BRs.
  • Coming soon: custom expander balls (in half-thousandth increments) to adjust neck tension and provide minimum working of the case neck.
  • Seater: Floating sleeve on micrometer seater enhances concentricity of loaded rounds.
  • Seater: Large, high-contrast markings for easy adjustment.

Custom Dies for Wildcats or Your Cartridge

  • Custom-made for your wildcat or standard cartridge.
  • Can work from fired brass or a chamber drawing to match your chamber exactly.
  • Neck-bushing die, or no-bushing die with neck diameter bored to customer specification.

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die SeaterAvailable Die Sets
Here is the current caliber list. Micrometer seaters are available in all calibers listed below except 22BR and 22 BRX.

Full-Length Sizer with Bushings
22 BR (No Seater Die)
22 BRX (No Seater Die)
6mm PPC
6mm BR
6mm BRDX
6mm BRX
6mm Dasher
6mm SLR
6mm XC
6×47 Lapua
.243 Win
6.5×47 Lapua
.260 Rem
6.5-284
.284 Win
7mm Shehane
.308 Win
.338 Edge

Full-Length Sizer (Non-Bushing)
22 BR
6MM BR
.243 Win
6×47 Lapua
.260 Rem
6.5 Creedmoor
6.5×47 Lapua
.308 Win

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die Seater

John Whidden Talks about Sizers, Seaters, and Expanders

Whidden Gunworks Sizing Die SeaterThere are two sides to our die business. First we are stocking dies in many calibers that are of interest to those who visit this website (such as the 6PPC, 6mm Dasher, 6.5×47 Lapua, .260 Rem, 7mm Shehane, .308 Winchester). These dies are a good fit to the “match chamber” reamers and very few people with these calibers should have to have “Pure Custom” dies made. We have both sizers and micrometer-top seaters ready to go for the many cartridge types listed above. The sizer dies will include a shoulder datum collar that makes it easy to measure shoulder “bump” during the full-length sizing process. This is important to control headspace precisely.

On the “Pure Custom” side, we have a huge amount of flexibility. We can make one-of-a-kind sizers and seaters for wildcats in a short period of time and at an excellent price. We can work with the customer to make full-length sizers, neck sizers, shoulder bump dies, small base dies, or most anything else they can need. We can of course provide micrometer-top seaters for these cartridges as well. We can make non-bushing sizers with specific neck inside diameters tailored to customer specifications.

We will also be offering custom-sized expanders. These expanders will fit our dies as well as Redding dies. Our tapered expanders will be available in .0005” (one-half thousandth) increments for the common calibers. In our shop we have had excellent results using expanders in the dies as long as the expanders provided the correct amount of neck tension and didn’t overwork the brass. Expanders have gotten a bad reputation in recent years but we find them to be excellent tools when the same precision is applied to their use that careful handloaders apply to the rest of their process. Expanders can be most valuable for those who choose not to neck-turn their brass (because the expander pushes neckwall variations to the outside).

One last thing — many gunsmiths with their own wildcats (or “specialty” chambers) have asked us to provide dies for their customers. We gladly do batches of custom dies and encourage gunsmiths to contact us. — John Whidden

For more information visit WhiddenGunworks.com or call (229) 686-1911.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product, Reloading 7 Comments »
February 1st, 2013

Cleaning Rod Storage Case Sets from Benchrite.com

Benchrite cleaning rod case caddyMany of our readers have quite a bit of money invested in premium cleaning rods. When you carry your rods to the range, you want to keep them protected so they don’t get warped, kinked or damaged. Benchrite.com, a supplier of benchrest gear and precision shooting supplies, offers very sturdy and nicely-crafted cleaning rod cases made from stainless tubing. You can purchase a single rod case, but we expect most shooters will prefer the Benchrite 2-rod or 3-rod case sets. These handy systems combine multiple rod-cases in 2-rod or 3-rod portable transport caddies that store your rods securely in your vehicle or on the bench.

Benchrite cleaning rod case caddy

Benchrite cleaning rod case caddy

Benchrite’s two-rod and three-rod case sets are set up for specific rod brands and styles, but rod brands or styles may be mixed in the set on special order with no difference in pricing. Stainless rod tubes are 48″ long and will accommodate 44″ rods with a jag or brush attached. Benchrite rod cases employ a collet method to securely hold the rods in the tubes — no thumb screws, rubber bands, or hold-down blocks. For $24.00, Benchrite also offers a padded, vinyl carry bag that fits the three-rod sets perfectly.

Product tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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