November 2nd, 2013

AccuScore SmartPhone Apps Help with Rifle Sight-In Process

Accuscope rifle zero appMany folks struggle when they sight-in a scoped rifle for the first time. A very common mistake is clicking the turrets in the wrong direction. That’s frustrating and it wastes ammo. Another common problem occurs when people sight-in at a distance other than 100 yards. People sometimes struggle to figure out how many clicks they need to correct point of impact if they’re zeroing at 200, 250, or 300 yards.

To make the sight-in process more fool-proof, AccuScope has released two handy Apps for smart phone users. Whether used for initial sight-in or in-the-field adjustments, these smartphone Apps can get you zeroed quickly and reliably.

Accuscope rifle zero app

Using the Apps is easy. First, boresight the gun to get on paper. After the gun is fouled-in (so it is shooting normally) shoot a carefully aimed 3-shot group. Then go to the target and measure the vertical and horizontal distance from the 3-shot group center to your aiming point. Input those numbers into the App, along with your sight-in distance (from muzzle to target). The App then calculates exactly how many elevation and/or windage clicks you must crank into your scope to move point-of-impact to point of aim. Put in the specified clicks and then take a fourth shot to confirm your zero. The fourth shot should impact right on your point of aim (within the limits of the gun’s inherent accuracy.)

Given Murphy’s Law, a shooter can still mess things up if he inputs left clicks when the App calls for right clicks, or inputs down clicks when he needs up clicks. But as long as you look at the “R/L” and “Up/Down” labels on your turrets before spinning the knobs, you shouldn’t have any problems.

AccuScope is available in two versions, Standard and Premium. The $4.99 Standard version works for 1/4 MOA-click-value scopes. The $9.99 Premium version works with all scopes and any click values. The Premium version works with 1/8 MOA clicks, 1/4 MOA clicks, Metric clicks, or Milrad segment click values. So, if you have a scope with 1/8 MOA clicks, you’ll need the Premium version.

AccuScope iPhone Apps are available through Apple’s App Store: Standard | Premium
AccuScope Android Apps are available through the AppBrain Store: Standard and Premium

Editor’s Comment: Does this App really provide a solution you can’t figure out yourself with simple arithmetic? No, but some math-challenged guys may find that the App prevents errors. Additionally, following the step-by-step process used by the App will probably help some shooters avoid confusion, and avoid wasting ammo clicking in the wrong directions.

Note however, that there is an even simpler way to zero, if you have a very solid front and rear rest that will hold the gun absolutely steady while you click. After bore-sighting, fire a couple rounds (with the same point of aim). Then place the rifle so the center of the cross-hairs is exactly on your original point of aim. Next, without disturbing the gun in any way, dial your turrets so that the center of the cross-hair moves over the center of your group. That’s it. You’re now zeroed (though you may want to repeat the process for confirmation). Again, this only works if the gun doesn’t shift one bit when you’re clicking. Having a helper steady the gun as you click the turrets will make this “no-math” method work more effectively.

Click-to-Initial POI Zeroing Method Demonstrated

Product Tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

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November 2nd, 2013

Last U.S. Lead Smelter Closes — Will This Affect Bullet Production?

The last primary lead smelter facility in the United States will be closing soon. The Doe Run Company smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri has been operating since 1892. The facility will be closed permanently under pressure from the EPA. According to MSNBC.com: “Doe Run Co. was ordered by the EPA to install new pollution control technologies needed to reduce sulfur dioxide and lead emissions as required by the Clean Air Act. The company will instead close its lead smelter.”

Doe Run started life in 1864 as the St. Joseph Lead Company, better known as St. Joe, which started lead mining on a small scale in southeastern Missouri. In 1892 it started up its smelter in Herculaneum, where all smelting was consolidated in 1920.

Doe Run Co. Company lead smelter plant Missouri Herculaneum plant closing shut down

Cause for Concern? Our readers have been concerned that the closure of the Doe Run smelter will lead to serious shortages in raw materials for bullet-making. Readers fear that bullet-makers won’t be able to source lead, and so the output of bullets and ammo would be reduced. Curtailed bullet production would lead to higher prices, it is feared.

As it turns out, the situation is not as dire as it seems. At least one bullet-maker says the Doe Run smelter closure will have no immediate effect on its raw material supply chain.

Sierra Bullets Responds: Lead Smelter Closure Should Not Cause Supply Shortage
Addressing the issue of supply shortages, Sierra Bullets posted a notice in the Sierra Blog on November 1, 2013. Sierra Bullets Plant Engineer Darren Leskiw stated that the Doe Run smelter closure should create no problems for his company because it uses only recycled lead:

We have had many customers contact us about the closing of the last primary lead smelting facility in the USA. This facility is operated by Doe Run and is located in Herculaneum, Missouri and is just about a 3-hour drive from our facility in Sedalia, Missouri.

The main question asked is “Will this shut down your supply of lead?” The answer to that is no. First, Sierra buys lead from several different vendors to maintain constant supply. Second, this facility only smelts primary lead or lead ore. This is lead ore that has just been brought out of the earth. Sierra uses no primary lead at all and never has, so we use nothing directly from this facility. The lead we buy from Doe Run comes from their recycling facility in Boss, MO that is about 90 miles away from the smelter that is closing.

The facility we buy from is still going strong and delivering to us as scheduled. The lead from this facility is from recycled lead, mostly coming from car batteries. This is a continuing “in and out” cycle for them and the smelter closing will not affect this facility.

Our supply should not be in jeopardy and we do not anticipate any changes in our supply chain at this time. Could the lack of primary lead create a little more demand for recycled lead? Sure, but how much is unknown. Could this increase in demand also create an increase in price? Sure, but again, by how much is unknown at this time.

There are many other primary lead smelters in the world and so the flow of primary lead will not be shut off. Where there is a need for primary lead, I am sure there will be a salesman more than happy to pick up the business. In short, we do not see any reason for alarm. We expect our supply to continue and keep feeding our production lines which are still running 24 hours per day to return our inventory levels to where they should be.


Lead Smelting Operations Have Moved to Mexico
Posting on SnipersHide.com, one industry insider says shooters should not be overly concerned about the Doe Run shut-down, because smelting is still being done in nearby Mexico:

“The lead industry has been transitioning out of the United States for over a decade now. 85% of the lead smelting industry capacity migrated over the Mexican border where there are [fewer environmental regulations]. The remainder of production capacity will be online and running by the third quarter of 2014. There has been no production disruption to speak of in obtaining lead or lead products. The auto battery industry among others has prepared for this eventuality for some time….

The last lead smelter closing in December did not have enough capacity to supply even 10% of the battery industry much less the ammunition industry. The lead being used in ammunition today hasn’t been coming from the United States for years already. The closing of that plant will not have any appreciable effect on lead availability at all. There is a great deal of lead processed here being extruded, made into shot, converted to wire, etc., but the smelting operation is only one part of the production process.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 8 Comments »
November 2nd, 2013

Wildcat Report: 30 BRX Developed for Score Shooting

By popular request, this story has been reprinted from 2011.

30 BRX wildcat cartridge VFSForum member Al Nyhus is a top-level score shooter who has competed successfully with the 30BR cartridge in VFS (Varmint for Score) matches. Al has been working on an “improved” 30 BR cartridge that delivers extra velocity. Al’s 30 BRX cartridge is inspired by the 6mm BRX cartridge, popular in 600-yard benchrest and across-the-course competition. The 6mm BRX cartridge maintains the same sidewall profile and shoulder angle as the parent 6mmBR case. Likewise, the 30 BRX retains the 30° shoulder used on the popular 30 BR cartridge.

Al reports: “Thought you might like to see what I’ll be working with in my VFS gun this season. It’s a true 30 BRX — a 30 BR with the shoulder moved forward 0.100″ with the standard BR shoulder angle. Stan Ware of SGR Custom Rifles built one last season for Steve Grosvenor and I was really impressed by the performance of Steve’s gun. The 30 BR barrel on my VFS gun needed replacing, so the new 30 BRX got the nod.”

30 BRX Delivers 150-200 FPS More Velocity than 30 BR
Al’s testing shows the 30 BRX gives a solid 150-200 fps speed gain over the 30 BR at the top, while needing just 2.5-3.0 more grains of Hodgdon H4198 to do so. A 30 BR case holds on average 40.8 grains of water, while the 30 BRX holds 42.3 grains (roughly 4% more). So the 30 BRX delivers a 7% increase in velocity with a mere 4% increase in H20 capacity. That’s pretty good efficiency. [Editor’s Note: Assuming 34 grains of H4198 is a typical 30BR match load, Al’s increase of 2.5-3.0 grains for the 30BRX represents roughly a 7.5-8.5% increase in actual powder burned. That explains the higher velocities.]

Why did Nyhus decide to try an “improved” 30 BR? Al explains: “The 30 BRX was created to operate at a [higher] velocity level than can be achieved with the standard 30BR case, while at the same time keeping the easy-tuning characteristics of the standard 30BR case. We also wanted to use the same powders currently used with the 30BR and maintain similar operating pressures.” Is the 30BRX harder to shoot because of the increased velocity? Al doesn’t think so: “In a 13.5-lb HV gun, the 30 BRX case is a pleasure to shoot with just a flea bite of recoil.”

Will the 30 BRX Replace the 30 BR in Score Competition?
The 30 BR is already an exceptionally accurate cartridge that dominates short-range Benchrest for Score competition. Will the 30 BRX make the standard 30 BR obsolete? Nyhus doesn’t think so. However, Al believes the 30 BRX offers a small but important edge in some situations: “On any given day, it’s the shooter that hits the flags best and makes the fewest mistakes that ends up on top. No amount of velocity will save you when you press the trigger at the wrong time. Missing a switch or angle change at 200 yards that results in 3/4″ of bullet displacement on the target can’t be compensated for with another 200 fps. That’s the hard fact of benchrest shooting. But on those days when, as Randy Robinett says, ‘our brains are working’, the BRX may offer enough of an advantage to turn a close-but-no-cigar 10 into an ‘X’ at 200 yards. Or turn a just-over-the-line 9 into a beggar 10.” Given the fierce competition in Score matches, an extra 10 or another X can make the difference between a podium finish and also-ran status.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 6 Comments »
November 2nd, 2013

Fall Back Friends — Set Your Clocks Back Tonight

Daily Savings ClockRemember “Spring Forward, Fall Back?” Well it’s time to set your clocks (and watches) back to standard time. Daylight Saving Time officially ends at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 3, 2013. That gives us back the extra hour we lost in the spring of this year.

So if you set your clocks and watches back when you go to bed this evening, you’ll get an extra hour to sleep-in. If you’re curious, the “Spring Forward/Fall Back” system we use today was adopted because of WWI energy shortages. According to Time Magazine: “The practice wasn’t formally implemented until World War I, when countries at war started setting their clocks back to save on coal. Daylight Saving was repealed during peacetime, and then revived again during World War II. More than 70 countries currently practice Daylight Saving Time, because they think it saves money on electricity (in the U.S., Arizona and Hawaii have opted out).”

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