April 1st, 2015

F-Class News: NRA Introduces New F-TRipod Classification

NRA F-Class F-TR Tripod

F-Class shooting is the fastest-growing form of NRA rifle competition. While sling-shooting is in decline, the number of F-Class shooters grows every year. Recognizing this, the NRA Competitive Shooting Division has decided to expand the sport of F-Class with a new, third classification: F-TRipod. Like the current F-TR class, F-TRipod will be limited to .223 Remington or .308 Winchester chamberings. However, the rifle support can have three legs, and the weight of the tripod will NOT count in the rifle’s overall weight limit, which will be the same as F-TR, (8.25kg or 18.18 pounds). That way all current F-TR shooters will automatically “make weight” in the new F-TRipod class.

Three-legged shooting platforms can be adapted from photo tripods using a variety of mounts.
NRA F-Class F-TR Tripod

Why did the NRA create a new division for F-Class? According to Ryan Tromper of the NRA’s High Power Committee, “It’s all about improving the competitor’s experience. This new class should make the sport more popular among shooters of all ages and all levels of physical ability.” Ryan noted that many current F-Class shooters are not happy shooting on the ground: “At the 2014 F-Class Nationals in Phoenix, we polled F-Class shooters. The number one complaint was the shooting position. We heard many comments such as ‘I’m getting too old for this, I just can’t stay comfortable for a whole match anymore'”. After hearing many complaints about “eating dust all day on the ground”, the NRA realized there was a problem. F-TRipod is the solution.

The addition of the F-TRipod division should make F-Class competition more accessible for older competitors and for the many “weight-challenged” Americans who have difficulty getting down into the prone position. “We want F-Class to be inclusive. No matter what your age, your size, your shape, or your weight, we want you to be able to shoot F-Class and enjoy the experience”, said Tromper. This should make a big difference to shooters who have limited mobility.

With the advent of F-TRipod competition, shooters will no longer have to spend all day long on their belly in the dirt. Instead they can shoot from a comfortable seated position. F-TRipod competitors will be allowed to sit on the ground or in a portable chair.

NRA F-Class F-TR Tripod

F-TRipod Competition Should Be More Affordable
Affordability was another key factor in the NRA’s decision to create a new F-TRipod classification. As Derek Rodgers, the only man to win both F-TR and F-Open national titles, explains: “Let’s face it, F-Open has evolved into a hardware race. A complete F-Open rest set-up, with coaxial front rest, pad, and a couple custom rear bags, can run close to $1500.00. That’s not affordable for a lot of guys.” With the new F-TRipod division, all you need is a photo tripod and some kind of support head. With a used eBay tripod, and the $135.00 Pig Saddle, the whole system can be assembled for under $200.00. That’s half the cost of today’s most exotic F-TR bipods. Other than the tripod (with cradle) the only other accessory an F-TRipod competitor needs is a cushion for his or her posterior. (NRA rules will allow competitors to use cushions or camp chairs).

Favored by PRS competitors (and military snipers), tripods will soon be seen at F-Class matches as well. In the video below, the 6.5 Guys review various F-TRipod options.

Both current F-Class disciplines, F-Open and F-TR, are shot from the ground. Though rifle supports are permitted, this is essentially prone shooting (on your belly), and for many shooters, this is uncomfortable. Below, AccurateShooter’s Jason Baney demonstrates a modern rifle tripod system with a double cradle upper.

NRA F-Class F-TR Tripod

NRA F-Class Rifle Rules
3. EQUIPMENT AND AMMUNITION
3.4 F-Class Rifle
(c) F-Class Tripod Rifle (F-TRipod)
– A rifle restricted to the chambers of unmodified .308 Winchester/7.62mm NATO or unmodified .223 Remington/5.56mm x 45 NATO cartridge cases. The rifle must be fired off a tripod, on which the rifle rests, or to which the rifle is attached. Any three-legged support, meeting the definition of a tripod, may be used but the tripod may not weigh more than 10 kilograms (approximately 22 pounds) and it may not contain any powered adjustment mechanisms or leveling systems. The tripod support may employ rigid or sliding mounts or cradles and manually-adjustable tilting heads are allowed. Any safe, manually-operated trigger is permitted. Any sighting system is permitted, but it must be included in the rifle’s overall weight.
(1) The rifle’s overall weight, including all attachments such as sights, sling, and rail(s), must not exceed 8.25 kilograms (approximately 18 pounds). The tripod and any mount or cradle permanently affixed to the tripod are not considered “attachments” if they can be separated from the rifle after the shooting sequence.
(2) The rifle must be fired in the seated or kneeling position from the shoulder of the competitor using rifle as defined in 3.4.1(b).

Permalink Competition, News 30 Comments »
April 1st, 2015

Gun Tech: Top Barrel-Makers Adopt Degaussing Technology

Advancements in barrel technology in recent decades have been impressive. Today’s premium barrels deliver accuracy that could only have been dreamed-of decades ago. And now a new development promises to help barrel-makers craft the most uniform, consistent, and stable barrels ever.

What’s the new technology? You may be surprised. It’s not a surface treatment, or a cryogenic bath. The latest development in barrel manufacturing is Degaussing — the process of de-magnetizing metal objects. Degaussing is now used in many industries to uniform metallic products and to prevent unwanted interactions with magnetic fields. LEARN MORE.

Degaussing is the process of decreasing or eliminating a remnant magnetic field. It is named after the gauss, a unit of magnetism, which in turn was named after Carl Friedrich Gauss.

At the recent IWA show in Germany, Vallon GmbH, a German manufacturer of degaussing machines, told us that two major Wisconsin barrel-makers have purchased Vallon industrial degaussing units. The units sold to the American barrel-makers are similar to Vallon’s EMS unit show below. This can degauss (i.e. de-magnetize) 50 barrel blanks in one pass.

Barrel degaussing Vallon Kreiger Bartline Wisconsin IWA Show Navy James Crofts

The Vallon degausser works by passing the barrel steel through a coil. Vallon explains: “The density of magnetic field lines is at its maximum in the coil centre, and is strongly decreasing towards the outside. If a ferromagnetic work piece (steel) is introduced into the coil, the field lines are concentrating and flooding the work piece. The conductivity of steel is up to 800 times higher than that of air. Degaussing is done during a continuous movement of the work piece, leading out of the coil. Decreasing field strength is achieved by a slow extraction from the coil.”

Barrel degaussing Vallon Kreiger Bartline Wisconsin IWA Show Navy James Crofts

How Degaussing Improves Barrel Steel and Rifle Performance
So what does magnetism have to do with barrel performance? How can degaussing help make a barrel better? Vallon’s scientists tell us that degaussing has three major benefits. First, it aligns ferrous elements within the barrels, strengthening the steel at the molecular level from the inside out. Second, by reducing static surface charges, degaussing reduces chatter during drilling, which creates a straighter bore with a better surface finish. Lastly, there is evidence that degaussed barrels produce slightly more velocity. When a copper-clad bullet spins through a non-degaussed (magnetically-charged) barrel, this creates waste electrical energy. The energy expended reduces velocity very slightly. You can see this effect yourself if you spin a copper rod in the middle of a donut-shaped magnet. This creates an electrical charge.

Here a barrel is checked after degaussing with a Vallon EMS. The meter records a zero magnetic value, showing complete degaussing success.
Barrel degaussing Vallon Kreiger Bartline Wisconsin IWA Show Navy James Crofts

Degaussing Will Add $50.00 to Barrel Cost
We know what you’re thinking: “All right, degaussing seems beneficial, but how much will this add to the cost of my new barrel?” Based on off-the-record conversations with two barrel-makers, we estimate that degaussing will add less than $50.00 to the cost of a new barrel blank. That’s a small price to pay for greater accuracy and barrel life.

Barrel degaussing Vallon Kreiger Bartline Wisconsin IWA Show Navy James CroftsAsk a Sailor — F-Class Champion and
U.S. Navy Veteran Explains Degaussing

We asked reigning F-TR Champion James Crofts about barrel degaussing. A U.S. Navy veteran, he immediately understood the potential benefits of this process. “I served in nuclear submarines. Since before World War II, the U.S. Navy degaussed its subs and smaller warships. This had many benefits. Principally, it helped reduce the risk of triggering magnetic mines. But that wasn’t the only benefit — the degaussing process gave the steel greater resilience and longevity. And that’s why the Navy degaussed non-combat vessels as well. Will a degaussed barrel shoot better? Honestly I can’t say. But based on my Navy experience, I bet degaussed steel will be more uniform and will last longer. I’m glad somebody is trying this out on rifle barrels. Put me on the waiting list!”

Barrel degaussing Vallon Kreiger Bartline Wisconsin IWA Show Navy James Crofts

The above photo show a U.S. nuclear submarine during a degaussing (also called “deperming”) session. This reduces the vessel’s electromagnetic signature, making it more stealthy. Deperming also adds to the vessel’s longevity. With steel-hulled ships, static electricity builds up as the hull slices through the water. A powerful, constant static charge will cause the steel to deteriorate. Degaussing (deperming) helps prevent this, extending the life of the hull.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 10 Comments »
April 1st, 2015

Tactical Talkline, 1-900-TAC-TALK

Tactical Talkline 1-900-tac-talkThese days, everything is “tactical”. Along with tactical rifles, there are tactical shoes, tactical lunch-boxes, tactical seat-covers, and yes, even tactical bacon. So we guess it’s no surprise that the tactical community now has it’s own pay-to-play talkline, 1-900-TAC-TALK, modeled after those “adult” chatlines where you pay by the minute for a little aural stimulation. With the new Operator Hotline you won’t hear sexy girls talk. Instead the “operators standing by” are, well, “operators” in the tactical sense. For just $3.99 per minute you can talk about tactics, weapons, and gear. On special request, the chat hosts will even work the actions of real weapons. The Operator Hotline claims that all comms are secure so you can reveal your “deepest, most secret tactical fantasies”.

Tactical Talkline 1-900-tac-talk

Preview the Operator Hotline in this Video (No Charge)

The Operator Hotline is a pay-per-minute interactive phone service. For just $3.99 per minute you can “talk tactical” with real operators decked out in full tactical gear. Why anyone would want to do that is beyond us. But this new service has proven very popular with young American males.

Tactical Products — Why They Appeal to Men
Tom Clopin, a product designer for a major outdoor company, wasn’t surprised that a fantasy chat-line has been launched, given the fact that tactical products are sold to fulfill macho role-playing fantasies. The designer told us: “You have to understand something. Most products are sold on image not function. Tactical gear is no different. In fact this market is more about costume play and gear fetishism than it is about function or utility. Make something look sort-of milspec, put a bunch a useless loops on it and call it tactical, and it will sell. Selling Molle gear to wannabee operators is just like selling leather chaps to Harley-riding, wannabee land pirates.”

Tactical Talkline 1-900-tac-talk

Permalink - Videos, Tactical 2 Comments »