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November 18th, 2013

Get FREE Where-to-Shoot Apps for Smart Phones

Range Locator Where to Shoot AppLooking for a shooting range? There’s an App for that. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has released free Where-To-Shoot mobile Apps that locate shooting ranges. This App is offered for Android devices as well as Apple iPhones and iPads.

Available for free in the Apple App Store and Google’s Android App Store, the Where-To-Shoot Apps puts a comprehensive directory of shooting ranges in the palm of your hand. These Apps also include tips for shooters, news, and firearm-safety information.

Users can search by current location or zip code and find specifics about each range, including activities offered, directions, and contact info. The App Databases are updated regularly.

CLICK HERE for Apple iPhone and iPad App.

CLICK HERE for FREE Android App.

Permalink News No Comments »
November 16th, 2013

New Caldwell Chronograph Displays Shot Data on iPhone or iPad

Android OS ChronographCaldwell will be introducing a new chronograph in early 2014. By outward appearance, this is a fairly conventional unit, with optical (light-tripped) sensors and “V”-profile sky-screens with plastic diffusers supported by rods. However, the big news is the data output. The new Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph can display shot data and string averages on iOS devices such as the iPhone and iPad. A software App allows you to save the data on your iPhone, and you can even export the data via email. That’s handy if you want to archive your test results in a spreadsheet.

Along with the iPhone/iPad display, Caldwell’s new chronograph features a front-facing display screen on the green, barbell-shaped chrono body. As with most other chronographs, the Caldwell unit records velocity of each shot, average velocity (of shot string), Standard Deviation, and Extreme Spread (difference in FPS of fastest shot and slowest shot). One nice feature of Caldwell’s new chronograph is that it can be calibrated. That sounds promising, but remember that to calibrate any chronograph you need test ammo with a very accurately determined baseline velocity. In any case, Caldwell asserts that this new Chronograph is more accurate than some other units on the market, because it runs a faster processor and because it has the calibration option. We haven’t tested the unit yet so we can’t verify claims of improved accuracy.

Android OS Chronograph

The Caldwell Ballistic Precision Chronograph comes as a complete package with carrying case, sky-screens, and data cable. No price has been announced, but we expect it to be under $150.00. Incandescent lamps, which are suspended above the sensors, will be available as an optional accessory. These lights permit the unit to be used indoors.

Android OS ChronographAndroid OS Capability in the Future?
Currently, the new Caldwell Chronograph is only able to send data to iOS (Apple) devices. However, the data cable is not Apple-specific, so there is a chance that we may see Android OS compatibility at some time in the future. At SHOT Show in January 2014 we’ll ask the Caldwell technicians about compatibility with Android smartphones and tablets.

Permalink New Product 3 Comments »
November 16th, 2013

.308 Winchester — Large vs. Small Flash Hole Test

Conventional .308 Winchester brass has a large primer pocket with a large, 0.080″-diameter flash hole. Last year, Lapua began producing special edition .308 Win “Palma” brass that has a small primer pocket and a small flash hole, sized 1.5mm (.059″) in diameter. Tests by U.S. Palma Team members showed that the small-flash-hole .308 brass possibly delivers lower Extreme Spread (ES) and Standard Deviation (SD) with some bullet/powder/primer combinations. All things being equal, a lower ES should reduce vertical dispersion at long range.

Why Might a Small Flash Hole Work Better?
The performance of the small-flash-hole .308 brass caused some folks to speculate why ES/SD might be improved with a smaller flash hole. One theory (and it’s just a theory) is that the small flash hole creates more of a “jet” effect when the primer fires. Contributing Editor German Salazar sought to find out, experimentally, whether this theory is correct. German explained: “During one of the many internet forum discussions of these cases, Al Matson (AlinWA) opined that the small flash hole might cause the primer flash to be propagated forward more vigorously. In his words, it should be like shooting a volume of water through a smaller nozzle, resulting in a flash that reaches further up the case. Now that kind of comment really sparked my curiosity, so I decided to see what I could see.”

More Primer Testing by Salazar
You can read more about this test and other primer experiments on

Salazar Primer Tests: Small Rifle Primer Study | Large Rifle Primer Study

Large and Small Flash Hole .308 Cases — But Both with Small Primer Pockets
To isolate the effect of flash hole diameter alone, German set up a test with the two types of .308 case that have a small primer pocket: Remington BR brass with a 0.080″ flash hole and Lapua Palma brass with a 0.062″ flash hole. NOTE: German reamed the Lapua brass to 0.062″ with a Sinclair uniforming tool, so it was slightly larger than the 0.059″ factory spec. The Remington brass has a .22 BR headstamp as this brass was actually meant to be re-formed into .22 BR or 6 BR before there was factory brass available for those cartridges.

.308 Winchester Flash Holes

German set up his primer testing fixture, and took photos in low light so you can see the propagation of the primer “blast” easily. He first tested the Remington 7 1/2 primer, a primer known for giving a large flame front. German notes: “I thought that if there was a ‘nozzle effect’ from the small flash hole, this primer would show it best. As you can see from the photos, there might be a little bit of a flash reduction effect with this primer and the small flash hole, the opposite of what we expected, but it doesn’t appear to be of a significant order of magnitude.”

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Lapua Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Remington 7.5 Primer.

Next German tested the Wolf .223 primer, an unplated version of the Small Rifle Magnum that so many shooters use. German notes: “This is a reduced flame-front (low flash) primer which has proven itself to be very accurate and will likely see a lot of use in the Lapua cases. With this primer, I couldn’t detect any difference in the flash produced by the small flash hole versus the large flash hole”.

Remington BR case, 0.080″ Flash Hole, Wolf .223 Primer.

Palma case, 0.062″ Flash Hole, Wolf 223 Primer.

German tells us: “I fired five or six of each primer to get these images, and while there is always a bit of variance, these are an accurate representation of each primer type and case type. You can draw your own conclusions from all this, I’m just presenting the data for you. I don’t necessarily draw any conclusions as to how any combination will shoot based on the pictures.”

Results of Testing
Overall, looking at German’s results, one might say that the smaller diameter of the small flash hole does not seem to have significantly changed the length or size of the primer flame front. There is no discernible increased “jet effect”.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 7 Comments »
November 16th, 2013

Kirby Allen Rolls Out 300 Raptor — Big Case, Big Performance

300 Raptor Allen PrecisionKirby Allen of Allen Precision Shooting,, has developed a .30-caliber jumbo-sized magnum he calls the 300 Raptor. The 300 Raptor (center in photo) is based on Allen’s 338 Excalibur parent case (far right in photo), necked down to 30 cal with shoulder moved forward to increase case capacity. Allen states: “This is the largest capacity and performance .30 caliber magnum on the market that can be used in a conventional sized receiver.”

Shoot 200s at 3600 fps
Performance of Allen’s new 300 Raptor is impressive. Allen claims that “200gr Accubonds can be driven to nearly 3600 fps, 230gr Berger Hybrids to 3350 fps, and the 240gr SMK to right at 3300 fps. These loads offered case life in excess of 6-7 firings per case and many of my test cases have over 8 firings on each case so they are not an overly hot load showing the potential of this big .30 caliber.”

300 Raptor Allen Precision

To showcase the new cartridge, Allen built up a prototype rifle with a McMillan A5 stock, Raptor LRSS Action with extended tenon, and a Jewell trigger. The first 300 Raptor Rifle is currently on its second barrel, a new 30″, 3-groove 1:9″-twist Lilja in a custom APS “Raptor Contour”. This distinctive dual-fluted contour runs full-diameter almost to the end of the stock, and then steps down and tapers to the muzzle, where a beefy Medium 3-port ‘Painkiller’ Allen Precision brake is fitted.

300 Raptor Allen Precision

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Gunsmithing, Hunting/Varminting 22 Comments »
November 15th, 2013

Inteliscope — Gun-Mounted SmartPhone Sighting System

Replace your scope with an iPhone? That is now possible with the Inteliscope. This new product provides a rigid mount for an iPhone that attaches to your firearm’s Picatinny rail. A special software App allows the Inteliscope to be zeroed, with a variety of user-selectable reticles. Simply tap a button on the iPhone screen to switch reticles. You can even record video of your shooting session. The Inteliscope system costs $99.00, which includes rail mount, iPhone holder, and iOS App.

Intelliscope iPhone iOS video digital sighting system

Intelliscope iPhone iOS video digital sighting system

This set-up offers some benefits for short-range plinking and tactical-style shooting with relatively large targets. It may be best for Paintball and Airsoft applications. The built-in Shot Timer is useful for action shooting events. However, we have concerns about the long-term durability of an iPhone when used on a centerfire rifle. In addition, this kind of set-up is cumbersome and not particularly weatherproof. Therefore it has questionable utility for a hunter in the field.

On the other hand, this device could be a superb training aid. The Inteliscope provides a large display that can be viewed from a relatively wide angle. This allows a trainer/instructer to see how the shooter is aiming the rifle. The iPhone’s video-capture capability lets the shooter record his practice session. The ability to “share the view” (with an instructor) and record video (for later analysis), makes the Inteliscope a very valuable training tool. We know that juniors will enjoy seeing their targets through a digital screen.

Watch Video to See How Inteliscope App Displays Reticle on Gun-Mounted iPhone

Intelliscope iPhone iOS video digital sighting system

Intelliscope iPhone iOS video digital sighting system

Is There an Optical/Digital System in Your Future?
We doubt that most of our readers will want to purchase an Inteliscope. Since magnification is limited to the zoom capability of the iPhone, and the lens is small and cheap, this device will never provide the sharpness, clarity, or resolution of a fine rifle-scope. However, we think the Inteliscope is important because it shows how a small lens, combined with a digital viewing screen, can completely replace iron sights or a conventional optical scope.

We think the Inteliscope is important as a precursor of future integrated optical + digital technologies. In truth, a combined optical/digital system may be more suited to benchresters than hunters. A small, high-magnification optic (not much bigger than a pill bottle) could be mounted to the scope rail of a benchrest rifle. Windage and elevation could be adjusted externally, or via software. Light would pass through the optic’s lens to a high-resolution sensor — the kind already used in quality digital cameras. Then the “view” from the lens could be passed to a digital screen (or iPhone) via a cord, or via a wireless blue-tooth or WIFI connection. The screen (or iPhone) could then be placed on the bench in a position most convenient for the shooter. The Inteliscope demonstrates how software can provide the aiming reticle. With the very best high-magnification competition scopes now approaching $3000.00, it is time to look at other solutions. By reducing the size of the lens system and outputting the “view” to an iPhone or similar device, the entire cost of the rifle-mounted optic could be much less than we are paying now for premium rifle-scopes.

Permalink New Product, Optics 2 Comments »
November 15th, 2013

DIY Big-Screen Target Cam System with High-Gain Antenna

target cam systemForum Member Okey developed a cool, low-budget, long-range target cam system that displays target views on a large, flat-screen TV. Initial testing shows the system works very well. The TV monitor is installed in a Shooting Shack that allows year-round shooting, even in cold weather. The big monitor allows shooters to easily see their groups from any shooting position in the shack.

Okey tells us: “Here’s a system my buddy and I put together. He is the brains behind it. I had the charge card. This is a home-made wireless target cam for long range shooting. It runs off a motorcycle or car battery. It uses a plain old camcorder camera, and a 2.4 GHz wireless digital link. The goal was to design something that has at least a 1000-yard range with good battery life. The transmitter puts out less than a watt, and runs on 12 volts. The camera runs on 7 volts, so there’s an on-board voltage regulator. The system draws a little less than one amp, so battery life estimate is simply the amp-hour rating of the battery. Everything was done to permit fairly rough handling, but it’s obviously not bullet-proof. It will last until somebody puts a 6mm hole in it.”

target cam system

target cam system

Back at the shack, there’s a high-gain receiving antenna, the receiver, and a wall-mounted flat TV. Okey notes: “Since the transmitter is fairly low power, we needed lots of antenna gain. We cobbled the system together and tested it at 100 yards before the conversion to DC power. It had lots of headroom, and should perform well without adding any more antenna gain. The system has worked well at 600 yards, with a reliable signal and good image. Look below for the image of the targets at 600 yards. We had the image zoomed to eight sheets of paper and could still see the hits.”

target cam system

Recommended Equipment Sources
The 700mW 2.4 GHz A/V transmitter and receiver were sourced from Combo price for both transmitter and receiver was a reasonable $179.00 (NOTE: it is $159.99 ON SALE right now, November 2013). The 2.4 gHZ, 24 dBi antenna cost only $57.99 from

target cam systemtarget cam system

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 10 Comments »
November 15th, 2013

Americans Wary of RFID and Biometric “Smart Gun” Technology

A poll conducted for the National Shooting Sports Foundation has found Americans are highly skeptical of the reliability of user authorized technology for firearms. They also say overwhelmingly that they would not be likely to buy a so-called “smart gun” and overwhelmingly oppose any government mandate requiring the use of this technology should it become available.

Asked “How familiar are you with efforts to develop a firearm that will only fire for a specific authorized person(s)?”, only 20 percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat familiar with the concept of “smart gun” technology. When told that such firearms would incorporate biometric or radio frequency identification (RFID) with an activation system that would rely on battery power, 74 percent of respondents said that these firearms would not be reliable at all or very reliable. Gun owners overwhelmingly (84%) believed a smart gun would not be reliable, while a clear majority (60%) of non-gun owners also believed they would not be reliable.

An overwhelming 74 percent of respondents overall said that they would not buy or would not very likely buy such a smart gun. Some 70 percent of the survey sample said that they did not believe that government should mandate that all firearms produced incorporate smart gun technology should it become commercially available.

Can Technology Be Trusted? Watch this Video for a Chilling Vision of Future Gun Control:

These findings were among the results of a national scientific poll of more than 1,200 Americans conducted in October by McKeon & Associates and released by the NSSF. Although attempts to develop and market firearms equipped with authorized user recognition technology have been discussed for many years, the topic has been revived in recent months by some gun control advocates, remarks by President Obama and by the depiction of a smart gun in the latest James Bond movie. Read the NSSF press release for more details.

Permalink - Articles, News 1 Comment »
November 14th, 2013

Coating Breakthrough: Two-Part DuraCoat® in One Rattle Can

DuraCoat aerosol can in can two-stage gun coatingWouldn’t it be great if you could apply a durable, two-part, commercial-grade coating on gun parts, with the ease of “rattle can” spraying. Until recently, you had to have some pro-grade equipment to apply multi-stage coatings. Now that has changed thanks to a new “can-in-a-can” developed in Europe. DuraCoat® can now be applied, in your choice of nine colors, from a single, convenient rattle can. The secret is the new type of twin-chamber can construction. An inner chamber holds the DuraCoat hardener (catalyst), while an outer chamber contains the DuraCoat color coating liquid.

The “can-in-a-can” design keeps the two elements completely separate until you are ready to apply the coating. It’s really quite ingenious. Duracoat’s owner, Steve Lauer, found this innovative dual-chamber aerosol can design in Europe. We believe his company, Lauer Custom Weaponry is the first to introduce this spray can technology in the American gun coating market.

DuraCoat aerosol can in can two-stage gun coating

Video Shows How to Apply DuraCoat with New Twin-Chamber Aerosol Can

DuraCoat aerosol can in can two-stage gun coatingDuraCoat is a two-part coating system. Once the DuraCoat is mixed with the hardener, a chemical reaction occurs. That is why the two fluids must be kept separated until it’s time to coat a project. When you’re ready, you mix the two products by pushing a plunger in the bottom of the can. This is done by attaching a red button to the bottom of the can. Push down on the can and you’ll here a “pop” that indicates the hardener can migrate into the main chamber. Shake the can for a couple minutes and you are good to go (provided the product to be coated has been prepped properly.)

DuraCoat aerosol can in can two-stage gun coating

DuraCoat is Versatile
Duracoat can be used on carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, metal alloys, wood, plastic and many other surfaces. No baking or pre-heating is required. DuraCoat is not just a thin cosmetic layer like conventional paint. When properly applied, DuraCoat offers good abrasion resistance and very effective protection against corrosion. DuraCoat Aerosol is currently offered in nine (9) popular colors: Matte Black, Woodland Green, Parkerized Gray, OD Green, White, Combat Gray, Pink Lady, Magpul Flat Dark Earth, and Blackhawk Coyote Tan. View DuraCoat Color Chart.

Permalink - Videos, Gunsmithing, New Product 3 Comments »
November 14th, 2013

Caldwell Rock BR Front Rest on Sale for $129.99 at

Caldwell Rock BR rest on sale 129.99 grafs.comDo you need a solid, yet affordable front pedestal rest for load testing or varmint shooting from a bench? Here’s very good deal from Right now the Caldwell Rock BR front rest is on sale for $129.99. That’s $20-$50 cheaper than you’ll find it elsewhere. And Graf’s $129.99 price includes ground shipping (after a single $6.95 handling fee for any order). The Caldwell BR rest isn’t super high-tech, but at 15.5 pounds, it provides a solid platform, with a wishbone-style, cast-iron base. A knob on the left allows easy windage adjustments. The three-lobe bag works fine for prairie dog safaris and general use. For competition, you may want to upgrade to a higher-quality front bag from Edgewood or Protecktor (this may require some minor modification to bag cradle).

We think this $129.99 price is a stellar deal. Check out the prices for the Caldwell Rock BR rest at other vendors (prices effective November 14, 2013):

Caldwell Rock BR rest on sale 129.99

Caldwell Rock BR rest on sale 129.99

Will this Caldwell Rock rest perform as well as a Farley, John Loh, or SEB front rest? Obviously not, but not everyone needs a state-of-the-art rest costing more than a factory hunting rifle. And consider this, you can buy the complete front rest for less than the cost of some of the super-deluxe, large-footprint rear bags. If you’re looking for a general-purpose rest that may see hard use around a ranch or farm property (or on varmint hunts), keeping your investment down isn’t such a bad idea.

Caldwell Rock BR rest on sale 129.99

Permalink Gear Review, Hot Deals 1 Comment »
November 14th, 2013

Target Shooter Magazine — November 2013 Issue Now Available

Target Shooter Magazine UK F-Class Championships Joe MeliaThe November 2013 Edition of Target Shooter Magazine is now available. The “cover boy” on this edition is Irish shooter Joe Melia, winner of the 2013 European F-Class Championships held at England’s Bisley Ranges. This month’s Target Shooter Magazine features an in-depth report on the Euro F-Class event, a review of the CZ Sporter rifle by Dick Wright, a feature on Benchrest Shooting by our friend Vince Bottomley, and a variety of other interesting articles.

Download in PDF or iPad Formats
Target Shooter magazine is offered at a reasonable cost of just £0.83 (about $1.33 US) per issue. Target Shooter is currently available in two digital formats: 1) Downloadable PDF file; and 2) Apple iPad eZine available from the App Store.

NOTE: Past editions (prior to July 2013) are available to download for FREE from Target Shooter’s website. GO TO Free Download Page.

Target Shooter Magazine UK F-Class Championship Free Download back issues

Permalink Competition, News 3 Comments »
November 13th, 2013

Bumblebee .300 WSM F-Open Rig with Defiance ‘Deviant’ Action

Steven Blair’s recent report on the .300 WSM for F-Class stirred quite a bit of interest. If you’re a serious F-Open competitor, you’ll definitely want to read that article, which covers the pros and cons of the .30-Cal WSM loaded with the ultra-high-BC 230gr Berger Hybrid bullets.

If you’re thinking about building a .300 WSM for F-Class, here’s a rig that can give you some design and hardware ideas. This eye-catching custom .300 WSM F-Open rig belongs to Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”). With its striking “bumblebee” color scheme, it will certainly get noticed on the firing line.

Click Photos to see full-screen versions.
F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

Bold Bumblebee .300 WSM for F-Class
Forum member Keith T. (aka “KT”) just got his hands on his new .300 WSM for F-Class and long-range competition. It’s a handsome brute, decked out in a “bumblebee” (yellow and black) laminated stock. Keith’s rifle features a Defiance Machine Deviant Long Magnum action (with Jewell trigger) in a Precision Rifle & Tool (PR&T) F-Class Lowboy stock. Keith has two 30″-long, 1:9″-twist barrels for the gun, one made by Brux Barrels, and the other by Bartlein. Both barrels have identical .300 WSM chambers cut with the same reamer. Keith will test both and then use the best-performing of the two in competition. Riding on top is a Nightforce 12-42x56mm Benchrest Model scope. All the work was done by Accurate Ordnance (AO), based in Winder, Georgia.

F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

F-Open Defiance Action .300 WSM F Class PR&T Brux Batlein rifle

Keith reports: “This one took a while to get built due to parts availability issues, but I’m glad it’s done! Thanks to Accurate Ordnance and Nightforce and all their help.” NOTE: Accurate Ordnance tells us that a rifle like this can normally be completed in 6-8 weeks, once all key parts are in hand.

Permalink Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
November 13th, 2013

Ammo Maker’s Revenues Soar with Increased Product Demand

ATK ammo production profits increaseWhy is ammo in short supply? Quite simply because Americans are buying ammunition (and reloading supplies) like never before, grabbing everything that comes off the production line. Consider this, ATK (NYSE:ATK), which owns Alliant Powder, CCI, Federal, RCBS, Bushnell, Savage and many other gun industry brands, reported a huge increase in revenues, mostly due to increased ammo sales.

ATK reported that second-quarter sales in its Sporting Group — which includes ammunition as well as optics, reloading gear and sport-shooting and tactical accessories — were up 48 percent to $421 million compared to $284 million in the same period last year. The company said the increase in sales was driven by higher volume in ammunition, sales from Savage of $57 million, and a previously announced ammunition price increase. ATK reported that its overall net income for the quarter was up 42 percent. Counting both military and civilian (Sporting Group) production, ATK produces over 6.5 Billion rounds of ammunition every year. Yep, that’s “B” as in Billion. That includes everything from .22 rimfire up to tank ammo.

ATK ammo production profits increase

$387,000,000 of Ammo for the Military
In related news, ATK announced that it has received orders for approximately $387 million for ammunition to be produced at its Lake City Army Ammunition Plant. The orders fall under the plant’s new production contract, which began Oct. 1, 2013, and include a mix of 5.56mm, 7.62mm and .50-caliber high-quality military ammunition.

ATK Ammo production

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
November 12th, 2013

Primers, Primers, We Got Primers….

Pistol Rifle Primer in stock midsouth, midwayusa, brunos,, powder valleyGot the “can’t find primer blues”? Well cheer up. Supplies of pistol and rifle primers are starting to arrive at vendors around the country. We checked with six leading shooting supplies vendors, and all had some primers in stock. Many of the harder-to-find varieties, such as CCI BR4s (small rifle benchrest) and CCI 450s (small rifle magnum) are now available again. In the chart below are the primer inventories we found today, November 12, at 11:00 am west coast time.

Note, inventories are subject to change. In some cases, the primers were “low stock” items, which means they won’t last long. Word to the Wise: If more than one vendor has the primers you need, we suggest you comparison shop. We’ve seen prices vary by as much as $15.00 per thousand for the same item — so you definitely need to compare pricing before you place an order. Happy primer hunting boys and girls!

PRIMER Inventories Shown by Web Vendors on November 12, 2013:
Pistol Rifle Primer in stock midsouth, midwayusa, brunos,, powder valley
(NOTE: Inventory subject to change. Availability of all these items can change by the hour.)

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 1 Comment »
November 12th, 2013

Hornady Announces ‘Match Grade’ .50 BMG Brass — ETA Unknown

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match gradeHornady plans to start producing .50 BMG ‘Match Grade’ Cartridge Brass. MSRP is $131.99 for twenty (20) cases (Item #8772). Hornady claims the new brass will have very uniform case wall thickness, and very consistent case weight and internal capacity. Hornady has not stated when its .50 BMG brass will start shipping. When the Hornady .50 BMG brass (Item #8772) does hit the market, we expect it will be in high demand. Our friends at the Fifty Caliber Shooters Association (FCSA) tell us that it is “getting harder and harder to get your hands on good .50 Cal brass these days.”

Hornady 50 bmg brass cartridge case match grade lists the new Hornady .50 BMG brass in its catalog at $101.99 for 20 cases, but inventory (Item HRN8772) is not yet in stock. CLICK HERE to check for updates.

Product tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, New Product No Comments »
November 11th, 2013

The .300 WSM — Next Big Thing in F-Open Competition?

Earlier this month, Forum Member Steven Blair won the California Long-Range Championship (F-Open Class) shooting a .300 WSM. Here Steve explains the advantages of the .300 WSM cartridge in long-range competition. Steve also discusses the learning process required to shoot the stout-recoiling .300 WSM successfully. Steve cautions: “It took me months to learn how to shoot my .300 WSM rifle well”.

The Argument for the .300 WSM as an F-Open Cartridge
by Steven Blair
There has been much interest lately regarding .300 WSM (Winchester Short Magnum) in F-Open competition. The cartridge is already well-established in 1000-yard benchrest and has been used successfully in F-Open, notably by Derek Rodgers to win the 2010 National Championship. Derek used, as do most .300 WSM BR shooters, a 210-grain bullet.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New MexicoThe .300 WSM is a modern design, short and fat with a 35° shoulder. It is a slightly rebated and beltless magnum, capable of approaching .300 Winchester Magnum performance with notably less powder. It has an excellent accuracy reputation and I’ve found it very easy to tune.

Berger introduced the outstanding .30-caliber, 230-grain Hybrid bullet in 2011. This bullet ballistically eclipses all others, caliber .30 and under. Berger rates it as G7 .380 and G1 .743. Trimmed and pointed, the B.C., estimated from elevation adjustments at 300, 600, and 1000 yards, increases to G7 .410. It is also an exceptionally accurate bullet.

The combination of these two items, .300 WSM cases and Berger 230gr Hybrid bullets, and their application to long range F-Class, is what I will discuss in this article.

VOICE FILE: Click Button to hear Steven Blair Explain How to Master the .300 WSM.

.300 WSM Brass — Choices are largely limited to Norma, Winchester and Remington (Lapua, are you listening?). Since I have only used Winchester and Norma brass, I won’t discuss Remington brass, which may also be a viable choice. I found Norma brass to be exceptionally good and have seen no evidence of short life that I’ve heard elsewhere. Winchester brass can produce results equal to Norma, if first sorted, culled, and prepped. There is a significant price difference between the two brands. It is worth noting that Norma manufactures both .270 WSM and .300 WSM brass. Either can be used. Winchester makes .270 WSM, 7mm WSM, .300 WSM, and .325 WSM brass. Again, any can be used but 7mm WSM requires pushing the shoulder back. The other three have the same shoulder dimension.

Bullet Selection — My approach is to use the highest B.C. bullet available that is accurate. As mentioned above, the hands-down, .30-caliber winner is Berger’s 230gr Hybrid. My loads using 230gr Hybrids produce approximately 2865 fps from 34″ barrels. In order to equal the 1000-yard, 10 mph wind deflection, 215 Hybrids must be run at 3030 fps, a fairly stiff load. By contrast, 7mm 180gr Hybrids must start at 3100 fps, not reliably achievable in most conditions. Lapua now makes a 220gr Scenar-L that Erik Cortina has shot a fair bit and reports that it is very accurate. It has a similar profile to the Sierra 220gr MatchKing, another possible candidate, albeit with much lower B.C. than Berger’s mighty 230gr Hybrid.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Barrel Life — After 1126 and 936 rounds shot at F-Class cadence in two barrels, my best guess is at least 2000 rounds accurate barrel life. The barrels look better than any of my .284 Shehane barrels at this point.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico
Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New MexicoF-Open Rig with Tuner
Steve’s .300 WSM rifle features a BAT 3-lug action (with integral recoil lug and +20 MOA rail), in a Manners F-Class stock. The barrel is a 34″, 1.25″-straight contour Krieger or Brux fitted with an Erik Cortina 1.25″-diameter tuner (shown at right — note Index Marks). Other hardware includes a Bix ‘n Andy trigger, and Nightforce 12-42x56mm NXS scope (NP-R1 reticle). Some of these components were chosen to aid tracking (given the additional recoil). The rifle weighs 21 pounds, 13.5 ounces — just under the 22-pound F-Open limit.

Accuracy and Tuning Ease — The .300 WSM tunes more easily and is more tolerant than any of the four 6mmBR barrels I’ve shot. It is the most accurate large-caliber cartridge I know. A number of 1000-yard benchrest records were set with the cartridge and my experience reinforces that. During my .300 WSM load development, several 100-yard, five-shot groups were in the “ones”, no mean feat for a rifle pushing 230 grains at nearly 3000 fps. The load tolerance window, the powder charge spread where velocity, ES and accuracy are relatively constant, is 0.8 grains in my loading. That means the same load can be fired confidently in many conditions.

Exterior Ballistics — The extent to which the big bullet reduces wind deflection and vertical movement must be experienced to appreciate. I shoot against 7mm cartridges ranging from .284 Win to 7mm WSM, no slouches among them. When they are blown into the 9 Ring, I stay in the 10 Ring. When range vertical pushes them up or down to lose a point, I see it, too, but don’t drop points. However, there is nothing magic about it. The shooter still must point the gun at the right place. The mistakes just cost less and, since F-Class is an Aggregate game, the point spread will accumulate.

Recoil — This is the big downside of the .300 WSM + 230gr Hybrid combination. My rifle weighs 2½ ounces shy of 22 pounds and still pushes me around. My early testing was done with a load that produced 2950 fps. I still cannot shoot it well. The load is very accurate but I cannot manage the recoil consistently. At 2865 fps, it is manageable but always requires careful attention to body position, shoulder pressure, front rest setup, rear bag characteristics and other ergonomic factors. I have learned that shooting a rig with this much recoil places more emphasis on the factors our sling brothers and sisters have managed for many years. It took me months to learn how to shoot the rifle well. I fired over 1000 rounds before I began to feel comfortable. Persist, the results are worth it.

Summary — If you are willing to put the effort into learning how to shoot the cartridge and have a reasonable recoil tolerance, the investment will pay dividends. My scores have increased and become more consistent. My confidence in the rifle has also increased, no small matter in a game with many mental aspects. Be prepared for what could be a long learning curve. If all that sounds like too much, one of the 7mm cartridges is pretty close and certainly competitive in the right hands. My choice, given all the factors listed above, is .300 WSM.

Left to Right: RCBS Chargemaster, Hoover meplat trimmer, Omega trickler, Sartorius GD-503 scale.Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Steven Blair has competed in F-Class competition since December of 2010 and F-Open since November of 2011. He placed fifth in the F-Class National Championship this year and is the two-time winner of both the California Long Range F-Class Championship and Twentynine Palms Long Range Regional. Steve shoots on Team Lapua.

Steven Blair F-Class F-Open Raton New Mexico

Steve says the .300 WSM may offer an advantage at long range: “The weekend of 2-3 November, I won my second straight California Long Range F-Class Championship. Last year, my .284 Shehane performed well against strong competition. This year, the .300 WSM provided a ballistic edge that certainly gained a few additional points. My final 991-50X was at least partly due to the excellent ballistics and accuracy the big cartridge provided.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Reloading 8 Comments »
November 11th, 2013

Honor All Our Veterans Today…

On the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month of 1918, bugle calls signaled the ‘cease fire’ ending the First World War. (The official Armistice was signed earlier that morning.) To those who endured it, WWI was “the War to End All Wars.” Tragically, an even greater conflict consumed the world just two decades later.

Today, 95 years after the end of WWI, Americans mark the anniversary of the WWI Armistice as “Veterans Day”. In Canada it is known as Remembrance Day. On this solemn occasion we honor all those who have served in the military in times of war and peace. Take time today to honor all those soldiers, sailors, and airmen who have served their nation with pride. Today we remember that… “All gave some, and some gave all.”

Brothers (and Sisters) in Arms — The Bonds Between Those Who Served
What is it that makes a person decide to potentially give their life for this country of ours? The answer to that question is as varied as the backgrounds and ethnicities of all military personnel. The reasons can be very personal, and in some cases may come out of necessity. Particularly at a time when the economy no longer offers young people the variety of work options after high school that it once did. For some, the choice was not theirs at all but a result of the Draft. A common thread I have found, however, is that we all support each other, like family, and learn through our experience just how unique we are as Active Duty Military, Reservists and Veteran citizens, whatever the reasons we joined.

As young adults, today’s new recruits or volunteers took that first fearful step, of signing their commitment to paper and giving several years of their lives to the service of our country, not knowing with any certainty what job they would be assigned, where they would go, what battle they would fight, and whether or not they would be alive at the end of that commitment. As Service members, we don’t quite realize, until we make it through boot camp and that first assignment, that serving our country is an honor, that this unique experience is something our friends back home cannot relate to, no matter how we try to explain it. It is a camaraderie, an everlasting imprint, and, for some, a never-ending nightmare that cannot be understood by those who have not served.

As a female Veteran, having served only four years in the early 1980s, I was fortunate, and served in a relatively peaceful era. I am amazed, however, at how much influence and impact the military has had on my whole life since then. A bond like no other exists between those of us who proudly wore a U.S. Military uniform and, each time I meet a fellow Veteran, we instantly connect and share a story or two. We stop what we’re doing and take some time to give back to each other.

Something that is not commonly known is that so many Veterans continue to serve long after leaving active duty. Members of organizations such as the VFW, American Legion, Marine Corps League, and many others, volunteer their time and energy to serving communities, service families, wounded warriors, and new Veterans. These organizations are made up of Veterans, young and old, working together as comrades in arms, to continue giving what they can to the country they love.

On this Veteran’s Day, take a moment to think about the lives of our brave, whether fallen or still alive, as well as those Veterans suffering from trauma, who are desperately needing to get their lives back. Perhaps you can give a little time to help or thank our brave.

Tania R.
Former Captain, US Army
USAFSA, Augsburg, Germany

Former Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James Peake asked Americans to recognize the nation’s 23.4 million living veterans and the generations before them who fought to protect freedom and democracy: “While our foremost thoughts are with those in distant war zones today, Veterans Day is an opportunity for Americans to pay their respects to all who answered the nation’s call to military service.” Major Veterans Day observances are scheduled at more than 50 sites in 29 states.

On Veterans Day we especially need to remember the seriously wounded combat veterans. These men and women summon great courage every day to overcome the lasting injuries they suffered in battle. Some of these soldiers have lost limbs, yet volunteered to return to combat duty.

National Veterans Day Ceremony
The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. Major regional ceremonies are also held throughout the country. CLICK HERE for list of regional Veterans’ Day events.

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November 11th, 2013

Hot Deal: Remington ‘Take-Out’ Stocks, Barrels, and Triggers

Are you thinking thinking about a low-budget Remington 700 project? Perhaps you want to build a basic hunting rifle for a young family member. Or maybe you want to re-stock or re-barrel an old Rem 700 that’s sitting in the safe. Well here’s your opportunity. CDNN Investments has attained a large inventory of brand new “Take-Out” factory parts from Remington rifles. You’ll find triggers for $49.99, barrels for $49.99/$69.99, and synthetic stocks for $49.99/$59.99. If you already have a Rem 700 action, this will let you assemble a complete rifle for very little money. These are new Remington-made parts. NOTE: Though chambered as indicated, gunsmithing is required for installation of these barrels.

For more information, or to order, visit or call (800) 588-9500.

CDNN Investments Remington Parts

CDNN Investments Remington Take-out Parts

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November 10th, 2013

U.S. Marine Corps Celebrates 238th Anniversary Today

Today marks the 238th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. Marine Corps. At Tun Tavern in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775, the Marine Corps was formed. At a ceremony marking the Marine’s “birthday”, (held at the Marine Corp Air Station in Yuma, AZ), Cpl. Uriel Avendano provided perspective: “The word Marine spans time, places, people, personalities and exploits. The faces of the Marines of the past tell the story of a tough, disciplined and proud people who loved the challenge and gave nothing but their best. Today the uniform has changed, but the motives remain the same… [O]ur duty remains the same. We are ready for anything, at any time and in any place.

Marine Corps Flag

In the video below, Marines tell their own story. As well, the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos, and the Sgt. Maj. of the Marine Corps Micheal P. Barrett, speak to Marines and sailors about the timeless Marine qualities of courage and perseverance.

Here is a selection from the 238th Birthday Message by Marine Commandant Gen. Amos:

“For 238 years, the United States Marine Corps has proudly served our great nation with unfailing valor bolstered by the enduring fortitude of our fellow Marines, our families, and our friends…This is what unites us as Marines.”

“Marines of generations past built our reputation as the most disciplined and honorable warriors to ever set foot on a battlefield, and we have triumphed in every battle because our Corps has always focused on iron discipline and combat excellence. This is who we are…this is what we do! It matters not whether you carried an M-1, an M-14, or M-16. It matters not whether you fought on a lonely island in the Pacific, assaulted a citadel in the jungle, or marched up to Baghdad. It matters not whether you are a grunt, a pilot, or a loggie. What matters is that, when the chips were down and things got tough, your fellow Marines could count on you to stand and fight. … And fight you did!”

“This year we celebrate the anniversary of several epic battles in our celebrated history: the 70th anniversary of the 2d Marine Division landing on Tarawa, the 45th anniversary of the Battle of Hue City, and the 10th anniversary of the “March Up” to Baghdad. Marines who fought in these legendary battles each made their mark upon the history of our corps. They have passed a rich and illustrious legacy on to us — a much heralded reputation. It is ours to jealously guard, and it is up to us to make our own marks and thus proudly pass it on to the generations of Marines who will follow…. [T]here is no challenge we cannot overcome if we remain honorable and always faithful to our nation, our Constitution and each other. Happy birthday, Marines!”

Happy Birthday, Devil Dogs… and Semper Fi.

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November 10th, 2013

Are You Feeling Lucky? Check Those Berger Bullets Boxes

Berger Bullets Hybrids contest coupon winner free bulletsUnlike Cracker Jack, there’s not a “prize in every box”. But you just might find a little something special in one of your yellow (or orange) boxes of Berger Bullets. That’s right, Berger Bullets has included some Free Bullets Coupons in randomly selected boxes of bullets. You might be a lucky fellow and score some free bullets. Forum member Ron B (aka “Snakepit”), found a nice surprise recently in a box of Berger 6mm 105gr Hybrids:

“I just opened up a new box of Berger Bullets and inside was a yellow tag that said ‘~WINNER~ You have won FREE Berger Bullets’. I called the number on the tag and gave them the Validation Code. The representative said I’d won three (3) boxes of the Berger Bullets of my choice. He said I had one of the best coupons Berger put in the boxes at random. So I now have three, 100-ct boxes of 6mm 105gr Hybrid Target Bullets coming to me from Berger’s next production run. Thank You Berger!”

Berger Bullets Hybrids contest coupon winner free bullets

Praise for Berger Bullets Prize Promotion
Forum member AndyT likes the Prize Program: “Nice to hear that some reloading companies are thinking of the civilian shooters. Well done Berger — keep it up and nice one to the winners.”

Fellow Forum member agr516 agrees: “Good to see a company who has all the demand in the world to sell their products think enough of their customers to give them something back to show their appreciation. Well done, Berger!”

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November 9th, 2013

Future Tech: 3D Metal Printing of Gun Parts and 1911 Pistol

Could your next metal scope rings, trigger guard, or muzzle brake be crafted with a 3D printing process? It’s possible. In fact, a wide variety of metal parts (even a complete handgun) can be printed using the latest 3D Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) process. The way this works is as follows: powdered metal is heated by a laser, causing the metal particles to fuse and solidify. This is progressively repeated, in vertically-stacked layers, until the entire metal part is complete. It’s like building a metal layer cake with the shape/size of each thin layer defined by a precise laser beam. The laser is guided by computer-controlled servos following a CAD “blueprint”.

This video demonstrates how metal parts are 3D printed using the DMLS process. This technology is offered by Solid Concepts, a leading rapid prototyping and manufacturing services company.

The Solid Concepts 1911 — World’s First 3D-Printed Metal Firearm

Solid Concepts has manufactured the world’s first 3D-printed metal gun using a laser sintering process and powdered metals. The gun, a .45 acp 1911 clone, has already handled 50 rounds of successful live-fire testing. A 1911 design was chosen because the “blueprint” is public domain. The gun is composed of thirty-three, 17-4 Stainless Steel and Inconel 625 components, crafted through the DMLS process. Even the carbon fiber-filled hand grips are 3D printed, using a Selective Laser Sintered (SLS) process.

3D metal printing 1911 DMLS Solid Concepts

Except for the springs, all the parts of this 1911 handgun were printed using the metal laser sintering process. Yes even the highly-polished slide, the barrel, the frame, and the hammer were printed. There are no forgings, castings, or conventionally-machined parts. With the exception of springs, all 30+ components in this prototype pistol were printed using Direct Metal Laser Sintering (DMLS) technology. Watch the video for a glimpse into the future of gun-making:

World’s First 3D-Printed Metal Gun Test Firing

Solid Concepts believes that its fully-functional, 3D-printed 1911 handgun proves the viability of 3D printing for gun parts, even highly-stressed components. Kent Firestone, V.P. of Additive Manufacturing at Solid Concepts, states: “We’re proving this is possible, the technology is at a place now where we can manufacture a gun with 3D metal printing. And we’re doing this legally. In fact, as far as we know, we’re the only 3D printing service provider with a Federal Firearms License (FFL). Now, if a qualifying customer needs a unique gun part in five days, we can deliver.”

3D metal printing 1911 DMLS Solid Concepts

Will we see complete 3D-printed metal guns on the market soon? That’s unlikely. It’s still more economical to produce complete guns the old-fashioned way. However, we may see 3D printing used for rapid prototyping. In addition, 3D metal printing has advantages for hard-to-machine parts with complex geometries. Solid Concepts reports that its 3D printed metal has fewer porosity issues than an investment cast part and better complexities than a machined part. It will be interesting to see what unfolds in the years ahead.

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