June 30th, 2013

RCBS Summit Press Works Great in the Shop and in the Field

Gear Review by Mark LaFevers
RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comWith its innovative “moving die/static cartridge” design, the new RCBS Summit Press definitely demonstrates “out of the box” thinking. Unlike other presses, the case does not move. Rather, the reloading die comes down to the case. We are happy to report that this unique “upside-down” reloading press works great.

We have tested the new RCBS Summit Press in the workshop and in the field. We’ve now loaded hundreds of rounds with the press. It is smooth, solid, and easy to use. The spent primer ejection/capture system works great (our testers preferred the Summit’s simple, foolproof primer capture to the Rockchucker’s capture system). Most importantly, the Summit produces very straight ammo that gave excellent results on the target in actual matches.

We compared ammo loaded with the Summit with ammo loaded on an RCBS Rockchucker press. The Summit gave up nothing to the bigger press. Cartridge base-to-ogive measurements of Summit-loaded ammo were just as tight as with ammo loaded on the Rockchucker. Run-out, measured with a concentricity gauge, was the same or better (about .002 or less on bullet nose). Most importantly, the Summit loads accurate ammo. In fact, at one match, scores shot with Summit-loaded .284 Win ammo were actually better than scores shot (in the same gun) with ammo loaded on a Rockchucker:

Rockchucker .284 Win Loads (Day 1): 188-2X
Summit .284 Win Loads (Day 2): 192-5X

Despite its small footprint, the Summit is very stable — it doesn’t tip, wobble, or rock. The two front mounting bolts hold it firmly in place — the Summit doesn’t need a rear anchor. This, combined with the fact that the Summit has no overhang, makes the new press ideal for a mobile application. For field use (at the range), our tester Mark LaFevers mounted the Summit press on a small platform secured to his trailer hitch (on top of a steel post). This set-up worked great, as you can see in the video below:

Watch Reloading (Sizing/Decapping, Expanding, Bullet Seating) with Summit Press

Photo shows Redding Micrometer Seating Die and .284 Win Cartridge
RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

Mark tells us: “I think the Summit press worked out sweet mounted on the hitch pedestal. The receiver hitch pedestal I made will switch tools between a heavy barrel vise I made and the Summit press. Instead of securing the pedestal with a standard 5/8″ hitch pin, I drilled and tapped for 1/2″-13 bolt to draw the insert up tight against the receiver, eliminating wobble. For charging rounds, I bought 150 plastic test tubes with caps and racks so I can avoid weighing powder charges in the field, unless I want to make changes on the fly.”

RCBS Summit Press accurateshooter.comThe new Summit Press features a rugged cast-iron frame with all-steel linkages. The press is very strong with minimal flex and slop. This allows you to “bump” your case shoulders and seat bullets with great precision and repeatability. The handle can be switched from right to left side (good for southpaws), and the open-front design provides good access, facilitating quick die changes*. The 4.5-inch opening allows you to work with tall cases. Beneath the shell-holder is a spent primer catcher (not shown in photos). The new Summit press has a beefy 2-inch diameter ram, with compound linkages for plenty of leverage. A zerk fitting is included for easy lubrication. The press will accept larger bushings for oversize 1-inch dies.

Summit Press Retails for $207.94
The new Summit Press (RCBS item #09290) lists for $269.95. However, Midsouth Shooters Supply offers the Summit Press for $207.94. An optional short handle from RCBS costs $15.27 at Midsouth ($19.95 MSRP).

RCBS Summit Press trailer hitch Mark Lafevers accurateshooter.com

*To permit his dies to be swapped from Rockchucker to Summit (and back again), with no locking ring adjustments, Mark LaFevers fabricated a new shell-holder base which positions the shell-holder .088″ higher relative to the Summit’s die port. This keeps Summit-mounted dies in the same position relative to the shell-holder as dies mounted in a Rockchucker. So, Mark can swap dies from his Rockchucker to his Summit and maintain exact COAL (when seating) and correct shoulder bump (when sizing). While Mark’s custom shell-holder base lets him swap dies quickly from one press to another, this is NOT a necessary modification. Most folks will simply re-set the locking rings.
Permalink - Videos, New Product 3 Comments »
June 30th, 2013

Body and rifle positioning for prone shooting

by Kelly Bachand
Prone from above[Editor: If you have been watching the Top Shot All-Stars TV series this season you’ve noticed that our Buddy Kelly Bachand has been “kicking a** and taking names”. On last week’s episode Kelly was the only shooter to place multiple rimfire rounds through the center of a CD without touching the plastic. Most of the other Aall-stars in this challenge couldn’t send even one shot through the CD without breaking plastic. Shooting offhand, Kelly went three-for-three. That’s impressive. Though you know him best from Top Shot, Kelly is one of America’s leading young long-range prone shooters. Bachand has been a Top Five finisher in many major matches, and he has won the Canadian Open Target Rifle Championship, shooting his Barnard-actioned Palma Rifle.]

In this article, I’ll share what works for me in the prone shooting game. However, I recognize that every shooter/rifle combination is unique. So, the best way to find out what will really work best is by practicing and putting some rounds down range. But hopefully you’ll find some suggestions in this story that prove helpful.

The Rifle, Sling, Arms, and Hands
I keep my sling high on the pulse pad of my Creedmoor Sports shooting jacket which turns out to be at the top of my bicep muscle. The sling is tight enough that, with my forward hand against the hand stop and the stock firmly in my shoulder, the rifle is fully supported without any noticeable muscle use. As my coaches have recommended, placing my forward elbow as close to directly under the rifle as possible often yields a more stable position. My trigger hand does not support the rifle but rather grips it without disturbing its aim. If the rifle can be held level and stable with just the forward hand and sling, then one knows a good prone position has been found.

Head, Torso, Hips, and Legs
As with shooting off hand, when shooting prone, I find it best to keep my head as close to perfectly vertical as possible. While swaying is not a typical problem in the prone position, if a vertical head position grants me more stability, I will work to have one. My torso in particular bends in a way that may be uncomfortable for other prone shooters. My left hip and some of the left side of my stomach touch the ground but the majority of my chest and diaphragm are off the ground while I shoot prone. By minimizing the contact my stomach and chest have with the ground I can also minimize the effect my breathing has on my hold. (Also breathing is much easier when each breath isn’t lifting one’s torso weight). Below my waist my left leg extends almost perfectly straight out and sometimes falls asleep while shooting. My right leg is cocked and my right knee is brought up almost even with my right hip. This is what allows me to get so much of my torso off the ground.

Prone position

The Finished Product
In the prone shooting game we shoot at distances from 300 to 1000 yards using iron sights (and sometimes scopes). When I have a good prone position, and my breathing is correct, there are a few seconds right before I take a shot when I feel as if my rifle is being supported on a bench. This sort of stability is only needed for the few seconds it takes to squeeze the trigger. It can, however, very consistently produce sub-minute groups with iron sights from the prone position at any range from 100-1000 yards.

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 8 Comments »
June 30th, 2013

First-Time Gun Buyers Shoot Regularly, Study Shows

A study commissioned by the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) reveals that most first-time gun buyers are active in one or more shooting activities and that women purchase their first firearm predominately for personal defense. The study is based on online surveys of consumers aged 22 to 65 who bought their first firearm during the spring of 2012. Key findings include:

— The majority of first-time buyers (60.3%) tend to be active, using their gun once per month or more, with one in five reporting usage of once a week or more.

— Target shooting is by far the most popular shooting activity among first-time gun owners. 84.3% of respondents used their firearms for this purpose, followed by hunting (37.7%), plinking (27.4%), practical pistol shooting (17.3%) and clay-target shooting (14.6%).

— First-time gun owners who have participated in hunting (53.2%), practical pistol shooting (46.3%), clay-target sports (44.0%) and gun collecting (42.4%) said they want to increase their participation in these activities.

First-Time Buyers Acquire Guns for Defensive Use as Well as Sporting Use
The top-ranking factors driving first-time gun purchases are home defense (87.3%), self-defense (76.5%) and the desire to share shooting activities with family and friends (73.2%). Women, in particular, are highly focused on personal defense and self-sufficiency.

Fear of Gun Bans Motivates Older Buyers
Older first-time buyers–the 55 to 65 age group–indicated concern that firearms may no longer be available to them was one of many reasons for their purchase. [Note: The surveys were conducted in March and April of 2012, before the recent wave of anti-gun legislation. We expect that, if the survey was taken in 2013, all age groups would express concerns about restrictions on sales of firearms.]

Many Buyers Make Repeat Gun Purchases
Most first-time buyers purchased their guns through local gun shops (43.6%) and mass retailers such as Walmart and Cabela’s (33.6%). First-time gun buyers spent an average of $515 for their first gun and nearly as much as for accessories ($504). Apparently, one gun is not even for many buyers. Nearly a quarter of first-time buyers bought at least one more firearm within the first year after their first purchase spending more, on average, on the later purchase.

Permalink News No Comments »