February 18th, 2016

Santiago Builds an AR Service Rifle to 2016 Specs

Santiago Service Rifle

The CMP has made big changes in the Rules for service rifle competition. Now AR-based service rifles can sport optics (up to 4.5X magnification), while restrictions on buttstock and handguard configurations have been liberalized. Our friend Dennis Santiago is a seasoned service rifle shooter. He welcomed the rule changes and went right out and upgraded one of his ARs to the limits of the new rule. That’s his new rifle above. “A 2016 CMP Rule-compliant scoped service rifle takes shape. [Note the optic, the buttstock, and the handguards, and the absence of iron sights.] This is NOT your M-16A2 external dimensions rule machine of yesteryear. Literally, the 2015 rule did not allow the rifle in the photo”, says Dennis.

Santiago Service RifleThese rule changes should increase participation in service rifle matches. Certainly for competitors with aging eyes, the ability to use a 4.5X magnified optic will be a plus. In addition, the other rule changes will let competitors customize their rifles for enhanced comfort and/or ergonomics.

Dennis also upgraded his gas block assembly in front of the handguard: “This works. The clearance between the sling swivel weight bar in the Giessele Mk VII is pretty tight. Not all gas blocks will work. You also need to account for the fact that the barrel will whip during firing. If it touches, bye bye accuracy. This is a Yankee Hill Machine gas block with an optional flat piece bottom in the rear that should provide the necessary clearance. The White Oak front towers will also clear but they will shadow the optic. Their railed gas block should work too but it’s presently an unobtanium back order item.”

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February 17th, 2016

Tech Tip: What Is Headspace

Ultimate Reloader Brownells headspacing go gage gauge barrel gunsmithing
This illustration shows headspace measurement for the popular .308 Winchester cartridge, which headspaces on the shoulder. Image copyright 2015 Ultimate Reloader.

In this Brownells Tech Tip, Brownells gun tech Steve Ostrem explains what headspace is and why it’s one of the most critical measurements for nearly all firearms. Even if you’re an experienced rifle shooter, it’s worth watching this video to refresh your understanding of headspace measurements, and the correct use of “GO” and “NO-GO” gauges.

Headspace Definition
In firearms, headspace is the distance measured from the part of the chamber that stops forward motion of the cartridge (the datum reference) to the face of the bolt. Used as a verb, headspace refers to the interference created between this part of the chamber and the feature of the cartridge that achieves the correct positioning. Different cartridges have their datum lines in different positions in relation to the cartridge. For example, 5.56x45mm NATO ammunition headspaces off the shoulder of the cartridge, whereas .303 British headspaces off the forward rim of the cartridge.

If the headspace is too short, ammunition that is in specification may not chamber correctly. If headspace is too large, the ammunition may not fit as intended or designed and the cartridge case may rupture, possibly damaging the firearm and injuring the shooter. (Source: Wikipedia)

Go gauge gage NOGO no-go field gaugesHeadspace Gauges
Headspace is measured with a set of two headspace gauges: a “Go” gauge, and a “No-Go” gauge. Headspace gauges resemble the cartridges for the chambers they are designed to headspace, and are typically made of heat-treated tool steel. Both a “Go” and a “No-Go” gauge are required for a gunsmith to headspace a firearm properly. A third gauge, the “Field” gauge, is used (as the name implies) in the field to indicate the absolute maximum safe headspace. This gauge is used because, over time, the bolt and receiver will wear, the bolt and lugs compress, and the receiver may stretch, all causing the headspace to gradually increase from the “factory specs” measured by the “Go” and “No-Go” gauges. A bolt that closes on “No-Go” but not on “Field” is close to being unsafe to fire, and may malfunction on cartridges that are slightly out of spec. (Source: Wikipedia)

To learn more, read Brownell’s longer article Headspace Gauges and How to Use Them. Among other things, this explains the relative lengths of “Go”, “No-Go”, and “Field” gauges. The “Field” is actually the longest: “The GO gauge corresponds to the SAAMI (Sporting Arms & Ammunition Manufacturer’s Institute) minimum chamber length, while the FIELD gauge usually matches the maximum chamber depth, or slightly less. NO-GO gauges are an intermediate length between minimum and maximum, that, technically, is a voluntary dimension. A firearm that closes on a NO-GO gauge and does not close on a FIELD gauge may not give good accuracy and may have very short cartridge case life from the ammunition re-loader’s standpoint.”

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February 17th, 2016

First Look: The Hornady Lock-N-Load Iron Press

Hornady Lock load l-n-l iron reloading press single stage

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com got his hands on Hornady’s all-new, pyramid-style Lock-N-Load Iron reloading press. This single-stage press features a unique, open-front design that makes it easier to place and remove cases during reloading processes. The compact footprint of this Iron Press also allows for a variety of placement options.

This video shows the new open-front Hornady Iron Press:

Gavin installed the Iron Press on his bench which features horizontal metal channels (for placement flexibility). Gavin reports: “The arrival of this press is great in its timing. I’m just about to move from progressive loading of 6.5 Creedmoor (for the Ruger Precision Rifle) to single-stage precision reloading. This will be the perfect press for that task! Based on the feedback and questions I’ve gotten recently, I’ll compare the consistency between progressive presses and single-stage presses.”

hornady lock load iron press

To raise the Iron Press higher, Gavin used an Ultramount from Inline Fabrication: “I was hoping to make slight modifications to the Ultramount in order to adapt it for use with my Ultimate Reloader bench system, and that worked out just fine! Here’s a picture of the Ultramount bolted down: I can easily slide it side to side to make room for other items on my bench.” NOTE: After taking the pictures shown here, Gavin rotated the Ultramount 180 degrees. This moved the whole press forward (towards the operator), providing more bench clearance for the Iron Press linkage and handle.

READ FULL IRON PRESS ARTICLE on UltimateReloader.com

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February 16th, 2016

Affordable New Caldwell Long-Range Target Camera System

Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera

Over the past five years we’ve tested many target cams. Important qualities you’ll want in a target cam system are: ease of set-up, good video resolution, effective range (good signal quality/strength), and the ability to use WiFi-enabled devices for viewing. Caldwell’s new Long-Range Target Camera offers all these things, making it an impressive new product for the price — $357.02 at Midsouth Shooters Supply. If this target camera system proves rugged and reliable, then we predict it will be a big seller for Caldwell. (There are other target cam systems on the market that cost twice as much, yet lack key features of the Caldwell system). We recommend you watch the video — it shows the complete set-up process and how to use the free App.

This video shows system set-up and actual Target Cam output on a WiFi-enabled tablet:

The Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera by Caldwell is a complete kit with video camera, long-range trasmitter/antenna, base receiver, mounting stands, batteries, battery chargers, and fitted storage case. This system allows you to stream HD video to any WiFi-enabled smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Caldwell claims a range (in ideal conditions) of up to one mile. Based on our experience with similar systems, that may be a bit optimistic, but we see no reason why this could not be a solid 1000-yard system, given good line-of-sight from transmitter to receiver. This Caldwell system features both an elevated transmitter and an elevated receiver. That should provide good broadcast + reception capability over long range. An elevated transmitter works better in typical terrain than systems placed on the ground. The Caldwell LR Target Camera is so new that we have not yet tested it, so we can not verify range. But it appears that Caldwell did its engineering homework. We do wish, however, that Caldwell had shielded the camera in an armored housing.

Caldwell Ballistic Precision LR Target Camera

The Caldwell LR Target Camera is very versatile, allowing you to both watch and record video and/or stills on any WiFi-enabled device. Rechargeable lithium ion batteries will run the target cam up to to 6 hours continuously. (For extended use there’s an external power jack). A free iOS/Android Mobile App allows you to record video, save still pictures, add notes, calculate group size, and save session info.

    Caldwell LR Target Camera Features:
    — High Definition (720p) camera delivers sharp image with good detail.
    — WiFi output is compatible with Android, iPhone and most tablets.
    — System can stream live HD video, record video, and save still images.
    — Camera, transmitter, and receiver are contained in sturdy, waterproof housings.
    — Breaks down into custom-fitted storage case for easy transport.
    — Rechargeable Lithium-Ion batteries for extended use.
    — External power jack for more permanent installation.
    — Target Camera Mobile App for iOS and Android devices.
    — Includes two collapsible, tripod-base Antenna/router stands.
    — Positionable, spring-loaded camera clamp.

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February 16th, 2016

New Long Range Shooting Guide from Ryan Cleckner

Ryan Cleckner book Long Range Shooting

You have probably watched one of the excellent shooting sports videos Ryan Cleckner has done for the NSSF. Ryan’s Understanding Minute of Angle (MOA) video has been viewed over one million times. Ryan is noted for his ability to explain complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend manner. Now Cleckner has authored a book, the Long Range Shooting Handbook, which expands on the topics covered in his popular video series. You can view Sample Chapters from Ryan’s Book on Amazon.com.

As a long-range shooting expert, Ryan Cleckner has impressive credentials. Cleckner was a special operations sniper (1/75 Rgr) with multiple combat deployments, and he has served a U.S. Army sniper instructor. Currently he works as a firearms industry executive and attorney.

The Long Range Shooting Handbook is divided into three main categories: What It Is/How It Works, Fundamentals, and How to Use It. “What It Is/How It Works” covers equipment, terminology, and basic principles. “Fundamentals” covers the theory of long range shooting. “How to Use It” gives practical advice on implementing what you’ve learned, so you can progress as a skilled, long range shooter.

Ryan Cleckner’s new book is designed as an introduction to important fundamental concepts such as MOA vs. Mils, External Ballistics, and Environmental Effects. Included are personal tips and advice based on Cleckner’s years of experience as a sniper instructor and special operations sniper.

Iain Harrison, editor of Recoil Magazine said: “Whether you’re looking to dip a toe into the complex world of long range shooting, or you’re a seasoned shooter with years of trigger time, Ryan Cleckner’s book will prove to be excellent reference material. Well written and easy to understand, it covers all the essential topics that a well-rounded shooter needs to master.”

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February 15th, 2016

Berger Southwest Nationals — Match Wrap-Up


This video includes interviews with Walt Berger and tube-gun builder Gary Elesio. This is our final Berger SW Nationals video for 2016, so enjoy the highlights from Ben Avery — see you next year.

The 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals are now history. This was a great match, with an incredible level of talent. There were numerous “big names” on the line, including reigning F-Open World Champion Kenny Adams, 10-time National High Power Champion Carl Bernosky, past National Long-range Champion John Whidden, current National Mid- and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz, and Derek Rodgers, who won the F-TR division at last year’s SW Nationals. With a strong performance this week, Derek topped the F-TR field again, securing his second straight SW Nationals F-TR title.

Top Five Shooters by Class

F-TR Top Five F-Open Top Five Sling Division Top Five
Derek Rodgers
James Crofts
Niklas Montin
Bryan Litz
Ian Klemm
John Myers
Larry Bartholome
Jim Murphy
Emil Kovan
Danny J. Biggs
Patrick McCann
Oliver Milanovic
Robert Stekette
Nancy Tompkins
Tom Whitaker

In team competition, the Michigan F-TR Team scored a narrow victory over tough competition from the USA F-TR Team and the X-Men. In the F-Open Division, Team Lapua-Brux shot superbly at 1000 yards to capture the Aggregate title, finishing ahead of Team Grizzly and Team Berger. The Ethnic Fringe Team from the UK had strong performances in the Sling Division Team events.

With his 2016 victory, Derek Rodgers has secured back-to-back F-TR titles at the Berger Southwest Nationals. He says he likes his new McMillan F-TR stock. View yesterday’s feature video for a revealing interview with Derek. In that video, Derek discusses the best bullet and powder choices for F-TR.

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Members of the winning Lapua-Brux F-Open team were all smiles. They deserved to be proud — they set a new SWN record in the 1000-yard team match. Left to right: Bob Sebold, Pat Scully, Erik Cortina, Steve Harp.

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Here is F-Open Winner John Myers of Texas, along with Berger’s F-Open Perpetual Trophy. John is interviewed in today’s video, linked at the top of this story. John’s F-Open rifle is chambered for the 7mm Walker, a .284 Win Improved similar to the .284 Shehane.

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Sling Division (Palma rifle) winner Patrick McCann is congratulated by Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics. Pat has recently returned to competitive shooting after a lengthy hiatus. Pat’s a great competitor who has won the National XTC Championships Twice. Nancy Tompkins lead the “Any Rifle” Sling category. As Forum member Rheurer observed: “No intro needed for the nicest person in the sport.”

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Ben Avery

berger southwest 2016

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February 15th, 2016

Bargain Finder 22 — AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we have launched a “Deals of the Week” feature. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on hardware, reloading components, and shooting accessories. Be aware that sale prices are subject to change, and once clearance inventory is sold, it’s gone for good. You snooze you lose.

1. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, which is on sale for $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supply. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you many want to add an additional large heavy press, but this will get the job done. This kit includes an RCBS Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Hand Priming Tool, Load Manual, Loading Tray, and more. It’s hard to beat this combination of tools for under $200.00.

2. Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore — Smith & Wesson M&P 15-22

M&P 15-22 smith wesson

Smith & Wesson’s M&P 15-22 is designed and built as a true .22 LR semi-auto from the ground up, with ergonomics (and most controls) identical to a centerfire M&P 15 rifle. These rimfire AR clones are affordable. For example, right now Sportsmans Outdoor Superstore is offering the M&P 15-22 (black version) for just $359.99. (Find other M&P 15-22 deals with the SlickGuns.com search engine.) NRA reviewer Colon Noir tested the M&P 15-22 and was impressed: “This gun is unbelievably fun to shoot. This gun feels like a full-out AR-15 [and] makes for a great training companion. I’m picking one up, because it’s guns like these that make you truly realize how fun shooting is.”

3. Amazon — Bushnell 3-9x40mm Bushnell for $112.00

Bushnell 3-9x40mm Scope Amazon.com

No, that’s not a misprint. This 3-9x40mm Bushnell scope, optimized for .223 Rem rifles, is just $112.00 right now at Amazon.com. The price on this scope was slashed more than $140.00. Now it’s priced 56% below the regular price. Act soon as this offer won’t last long.

4. Amazon — Frankford Arsenal Master Tumbler Kit

Master tumbler reloading kit Frankford Arsenal

This Master Tumbler Kit contains everything you need to tumble rifle or pistol brass. Now on sale for $64.99 with free shipping, this Kit contains: Vibratory Tumbler, Rotary Media Separator, Plastic Bucket, 3 lbs. Cleaning Media, and 4 oz. Brass Polish.

5. Grafs.com — Hornady 17 HMR for $10.59/50 Rounds

Hornady 17 HMR ammo ammunition V-Max

This is one of the best prices we’ve seen in recent years on 17 HMR ammo. We really like the V-Max bullets in 17 HMR ammunition — you get excellent accuracy plus the tipped design is very effective on small varmints. Grafs.com is having a big ammo sale right now, so you can get this quality Hornady 17 HMR ammo for just $10.59 per 50-round box. You could easily pay $16.00/box at a local gunstore. This is a GREAT deal — stock up while you can.

6. Natchez Shooters Supply — Lyman Gen6 Scale/Dispenser

Free Shipping Lyman Powder Scale Dispenser ChargeMaster Natchez Gen6 deals of week AccurateShooter

Like the RCBS ChargeMaster, this Lyman Gen6 Powder System will automatically dispense and weigh powder charges. This unit features a touch screen, rapid warm-up, anti-static/anti-drift technology, and electronic shielding to resist interference from other electronic devices. It’s a good deal at $202.49.

7. Powder Valley — Berger .308 High-BC Match Bullets

E Arthur Brown Eabco Savage Thumbhole Stock Laminated

Looking for High-BC .308-caliber match bullets? Well Powder Valley Inc. (PVI) has Berger .308 match bullets from 175 to 230 grains in stock at very attractive prices. Need Juggernauts or the latest 230gr Hybrids? PVI has them. If you are shooting a .308 Win in F-TR or a .300 WSM in F-Open, you may want to stock up now before demand picks up next spring. (PVI also has good inventories of Berger Bullets in lighter weights and other calibers.)

8. MidwayUSA — Free Shipping on Orders over $150.00

Free Shipping MidwayUSA

If you’re planning some big purchases, here’s a way to save $20, $30 or even more on your shipping costs. For the next three (3) days, MidwayUSA.com is offering FREE Shipping on all orders of $150.00 or more. To get your Free shipping, use CODE FS150216 when ordering online. NOTE, this applies to regular-price IN-Stock items only.

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February 15th, 2016

British Shooting Show — Report from the UK

britshot1601

After the giant SHOT Show extravaganza in Las Vegas each year, Great Britain hosts its own firearms trade show. This is a much smaller affair of course, but the British Shooting Show (aka BRITSHOT) still draws many thousands of shooting and hunting enthusiasts. This year our friend Vince Bottomley visited the trade show and reported for Target Shooter Magazine. CLICK HERE for full report.

Vince noted that big names in the shooting industry had products on display. Leading vendors included: Blaser, Browning, GMK, Ruag, Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Zeiss, and Swarovski.

Among the new optics at BRITSHOT, Vince was quite impressed with Vortex’s new “Golden Eagle” 15-60x52mm competition scope (as we were when we saw this new optic in Vegas last month).

“Vortex had their new F Class 15-60 scope on display. This was one of the products I’d come to see and I wasn’t disappointed…. The turrets look and feel great – big and very positive. The reticle is a nice, simple, fine crosshair. Drastically undercutting Nightforce, Leupold, and March equivalents, this could be a very popular F-Class scope. Target Shooter hopes to have one for testing very soon so keep checking our Facebook page.”

British Shooting Show

The British Shooting Show also featured an airgun range. We feel these kind of indoor ranges provide a great opportunity to increase interest in recreational shooting. Vince agrees: “The excellent airgun ranges, where anyone can have a go at reactive targets [is] a great way for kids to shoot their first gun… this is a valuable part of the SHOW.”

Read full British Shooting Show Report in Target Shooter Magazine.

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February 14th, 2016

Valentine’s Day Showdown — Berger SW Nationals Report

Today’s the final day of the Berger Southwest Nationals, with individual Sling, F-TR, and F-Open matches on tap. The competition remains tight, with many shooters within striking distance for podium positions. Predictions are for light and variable winds for the day. We’re sad to see the fun come to a close. This is a special event, drawing top shooters from around the nation. As James Crofts told is: “It’s always great to see good friends and fellow shooters from far and near….”

One shot left… will that last bullet end up in the X-ring? We hope so…

If you’ve never shot this match, you should. You’ll squad alongside the nation’s best long-range shooters, and you’ll enjoy a superb facility. The desert range at Ben Avery is something special — check out a “birds-eye view” with our latest video from the match. This video also includes an interview with Derek Rodgers, the only man who who has earned both F-Open AND F-TR National titles. We strongly recommend you watch this video.

“Must-Watch” SWN Video has aerial view of Ben Avery plus highlights from Saturday

Yesterday, Saturday, marked the conclusion of the Team events. In the F-TR division, Michigan extended its lead to win Gold while the U.S. Rifle Team (USRT) held on for silver for the overall team title. Notably, ten of the twelve shooters making up the top three squads are members of the USRT, as are the top two coaches. Congrats to all.

Phil Kelley reports that Saturday’s F-TR team match went down to the wire: “It was a fun 1000-yard team day at SW Nationals. Good to use a teammate’s backup gun to finally be competitive at something. Congrats to Team Michigan for the big win, both for the day and overall. There was great competition today with Michigan winning by 1 point (and some Xs) over X-men and X-men getting Team Virginia/USA by 1 point and some Xs. Great shooting by all.”

Phil added that: “Dan Lentz continues to perform well with another great day and maintains the overall lead going into the final day. Derek Rodgers, Bryan Litz, and Jim Crofts are on his heels but Dan looks confident.” Tomorrow, here on the Daily Bulletin, we will provide final individual results from the match, along with all the final team results.

Snapshots from the Berger Southwest Nationals

Here’s one of the new Borden wide-body actions in a Shurley Brothers stock. The timing on this action is insanely good, making it very smoooooth to operate.

This Scottish shooter showed some style on the range, with his traditional Scottish tweed cap. That’s classy. No floppy boonie hat for this dapper lad.

Take a look at the very useful information card. Note that it shows mirage patterns and provides suggested windage and elevation corrections for all yardages.

Check out the handsome, 3D-effect Stars and Stripes finish applied to this F-TR Rifle. Note that the right-handed shooter is running a Left-Bolt, Left Port action, with a SEB Joy-Pod up front.

Here’s the brand-new F-Class front rest from Competition Machine. This 38-lb beast features a belt-drive elevation adjustment, joy-stick windage, and rotary pivoting head to align with your target.

Rewards for Berger SWN Participants

The Berger SW Nationals has one of the richest prize tables in the shooting sports. This Saturday night, nearly 400 participants received a variety of participation prizes and raffle awards. In addition, winners were announced for some of the events which concluded earlier in the week. Gunsmith John Pierce came up a big winner with a kiss from his lady and a Team Trophy for the Michigan F-TR Squad.

Berger SW Nationals prizes

Berger SW Nationals prizes

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February 14th, 2016

A Valentine’s Day Special — Three Shots Form Heart at 600 Yards

Valentine's Day Group Accurateshooter

Valentines Day Cupid Arrow Accurateshooter ForumThat’s right, today is February 14th — Valentine’s Day. While testing a rifle at the range last season, Forum member Ron B. (aka Snakepit) managed a 3-shot group that would definitely make Mr. Cupid proud. Yep, Ron shot a lovely cluster that formed a sweet little heart in the splatter-type target.

That’s nice enough, mind you — but it gets even better. Ron’s heart-shaped, three-shot group was shot at SIX HUNDRED yards, making this a Valentine’s Day Masterpiece of precision shooting (and, we have to say it, quite a little bit of luck). Good Shootin’ Snakepit!

600-Yard Heart Shot with a Savage and Factory Ammo!
In our Shooter’s Forum, Ron explained that this group was actually shot with factory ammo… from a Savage no less:

“This will be one that may be hard to believe for some but it is my Savage 12 FTR .308 and I was shooting 168gr Federal Gold Medal Match. The stock has been modified for benchrest shooting with a 3″-wide shoe on the forward stock. I do not shoot this rifle very often as most of my time is spent with my 30″ Brux barreled 6BR working up loads and shooting. That day I had put the scope back on it and was sighting it in at 600 yards and those were my last three shots after my last scope correction and then I was out of ammo. This rifle has always been very accurate. The weather was good, no wind or mirage.”

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February 13th, 2016

Individual Palma Competition on Day 3 of Berger SW Nationals

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

The Individual Palma Match kicked off Friday at the Berger Southwest Nationals. While still mostly calm, conditions were more variable and tricky. James Crofts told us that you had to watch both the mirage AND the flags, because sometimes a change appeared on the flags before you could see anything in the mirage. The top shooters were scanning the range constantly for any velocity or angle change. If you don’t pay attention to the flags, James said, “you’ll be out in the nine ring”.

Watch Video with Highlights from Day 3 of Berger SWN, including James Crofts Interview:

Our good friend John Whidden, a past National Long-Range Champion, brought his “A Game” Friday, topping the Sling Division with 449-33X. Competition was fierce with five sling shooters finishing with the same 449 points, separated only by X-Count: Whidden (33X), Oliver Milanovic (31X), Rick Hunt (25X), Michael Barlow (25X), and Steven Powell (22X).

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW
John Whidden file photo from 2015

In F-Open, the top three shooters for the day were: Ken Padilla (448-25X), John Myers (447-32X), and Kenny Adams (447-24X). In F-TR Dan Lentz topped the Field with 447-24X, followed by Derek Rodgers and Justin Bertino (both at 445-23X). Ryan Pierce noted that Dan Lentz’s performance for the day beat all but three of the F-Open shooters: “Extremely impressive is Dan Lentz 447-24X F-TR score [which] tied Kenny Adams’s third-place F-Open Aggregate. Shooting .308 Win off a bipod and keeping up with the 7mms and 30 Cal magnums is outstanding. Good shooting Dan.”

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals SW

Interesting Hardware

New Speedy F-Open Stock (Jeff Reed, owner)

Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

F-Open competitor Jeff Reed has a new F-Open rig with the brand new Speedy Gonzales laminated stock. Jeff says he loves the stock, saying it “tracks like a dream”. Jeff also likes the recoil-reduction system fitted at the rear of the stock. This really makes a difference for the big calibers says Jeff. If you’re curious, that’s an IOR Valdada 12-52x56mm scope with a 40mm main tube on top of Jeff’s rifle. It features 25 MOA of elevation in one rotation of the turret.

Spotting Scope Mounted to Front Rest

Speed Gonzalez F-Open Stock

Gunsmith Richard King of Texas has mounted his spotting scope directly to his Farley front rest. Very clever. This puts the spotter eyepiece just a few inches from his riflescope eyepiece so he can move easily from one optic to the other. This set-up also reduces the amount of gear Richard carries to the line. No separate spotting scope base, stand or horizontal mounting arm is required. This is a simple, elegant solution. We bet, with a little tinkering and design work, a similar system could be mounted to a SEB or Bald Eagle front rest. Note, it may appear that the lens is obscured by the front clamp, but that’s just the camera angle. We looked through the spotting scope and everything is clear.

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February 13th, 2016

Michigan Approves Use of Suppressors for Hunting

suppressor hunting Michigan

Here’s good news for suppressor owners in the Great Lakes state. The Michigan legislature has approved the use of suppressors for hunting. On February 11th, Michigan became the 38th state to allow for the use of firearm suppressors while hunting when the Natural Resources Commission (NRC) voted 4 – 1 to approve an amended version of Wildlife Conservation Order Amendment No. 1 of 2016. The measure became effective immediately.

The American Suppressor Association led a coalition working to legalize suppressor hunting in Michigan. Other organizations involved were the National Rifle Association (NRA), the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF), Michigan United Conservation Clubs (MUCC), and Safari Club International (SCI).

“We are incredibly excited that hunters in the great state of Michigan can now use suppressors to help protect their hearing while they’re in the field,” said Knox Williams, President of the American Suppressor Association. “It was a pleasure working to educate the NRC Commissioners and members of the DNR on the realities of suppressor use. We applaud their decision to remove the prohibition on suppressor hunting without the two restrictive provisions. In doing so, they have done their part to ensure that the next generation of hunters does not have to sacrifice their hearing.”

suppressor hunting Michigan

Our friend Paul Phillips (above), is pleased with this change: “With this new Law that passed in Michigan Today, I will be hunting with my GEMTECH arrow silencer. I can’t wait for Spring to start Shooting ELR.”

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February 13th, 2016

Gunsmith Mike Bryant “Un-Retires” and Is Taking Projects Again

mike bryant gunsmith texas precision rifles
Here are some of the fine rifles Mike Bryant has smithed. You’ll find dozens more on BryantCustom.com.

Mike Bryant Custom GunsmithingTexas-based gunsmith Mike Bryant has decided to start taking work again. It seems that retired life was just a bit too sedate for Mike. This is great news for fans of precision rifles. Mike is an superb smith who has produced many match-winning competition rigs along with fine hunting and varmint rifles.

The services Mike can provide are listed on his “re-activated” website at BryantCustom.com. Mike will still continue to specialize in Rem Action-based and Custom Action-based rifles with customer-supplied parts. He explains his decision to return to the business he does so well: “Retirement was short with what the economy has done in the oil and gas business. I am back at least part time. I am Looking forward to serving my customer’s needs as I have done in the past.”

Welcome back Mike — we wish you success in your “return to the fold”. As before Mike will offer complete custom rifles as well as a full range of gunsmithing services including chambering, barrel-fitting, stocking, and action truing.

Contact Information:
Bryant Custom
7761 FM 592
Wheeler, TX 79096
Phone: (806) 826-5618
Email: Bryantcustom [at] gmail.com

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February 12th, 2016

Berger Southwest Nationals — Team Day

Berger SWN 2016 Team

Thursday was a Team Competition day at the Berger Southwest Nationals. Conditions were surprisingly calm for most of the day, with flags hanging straight down through most of the morning. But there were still some “ghost winds” that might affect one flag (and cause some unexplained). Mirage was also tricky for some shooters as the day wore on.

Watch Day 2 Match Highlights including Interview With Team Michigan’s Bill Litz and Bryan Litz

Team Michigan won the F-TR competition, followed by The U.S. F-TR Team in second, and Team X-Men in third. Based on the interim results posted, the Sling Division was one by the UK/Scottish Ethnic Fringe Team led by Captain Angus McLeod. It appears that the top F-Open Squad was Team Berger — those senior guys still know their stuff.

berger SW Nationals team berger

USRT Gold Medal Sponsors Kelly McMillan of McMillan Group International and Sean Murphy of Nightforce Optics came out to observe and shoot with the U.S. Rifle Team. Here’s Kelly with his bionic arm.

berger sw nationals kelly mcmillan

It was hot, dry, and sunny in Phoenix. You needed lots of water and plenty of sunscreen…

berger sw nationals

There was plenty of good food on hand for the competitors…

bergnat1105

Here’s an interesting rig that combines a spotting scope (on left) with 15×56 binoculars (on right) This allowed the spotter to watch targets as well as mirage elsewhere on the range. Smart…

berger sw nationals

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February 12th, 2016

Erik Cortina Reviews Forster Co-Ax Press

eric cortina forster co-ax

We met with our friend Erik Cortina at the Berger Southwest Nationals this week. Erik (shown above), had a beautiful new F-Open rifle to show us. This features a new, large-diameter Borden action and a Shurley Brothers fancy maple stock. Erik loves great hardware — whether it comes to actions, stocks, or reloading equipment. One of Erik’s favorite reloading tools is his Forster Co-Ax press.

Co-ax Forster press

Cortina has produced a series of YouTube videos about reloading hardware and precision hand-loading. Here is Erik’s video review of the Forster Co-Ax® reloading press. The Co-Ax is unique in both design and operation. It features dual guide rods and a central handle. You don’t screw in dies — you slide the die lock ring into a slot. This allows dies to float during operation.

Erik does a good job of demonstrating the Co-Ax’s unique features. At 1:00 he shows how to slide the dies into the press. It’s slick and easy. At the two-minute mark, Erik shows how sliding jaws clasp the case rim (rather than a conventional shell-holder). The jaws close as the ram is raised, then open as it is lowered. This makes it easy to place and remove your cases.

At the 5:20 mark, Erik shows how spent primers run straight down into a capture cup. This smart system helps keep your press and bench area clean of primer debris and residues.

While many Co-Ax users prime their cases by hand, the Co-Ax can prime cases very reliably. The priming station is on top of the press. Erik demonstrates the priming operation starting at 4:20.

Co-ax Forster press

Smart Accessories for the Co-Ax from Inline Fabrications
Lapua’s Kevin Thomas also owns a Co-Ax press, which he has hot-rodded with accessories from Inline Fabrications. Kevin tells us: “Check out the add-ons available from Inline Fabrications for the Co-Ax. I recently picked up a riser mount and a set of linkages for mine and love the results. The linkages are curved. When you replace the original straight links with these, the work area opens up substantially and the the press becomes much easier to feed.” CLICK HERE for Co-Ax Accessories.

Inline Fabrications Forster Co-Ax Accessories

Forster Co-Ax Curved Side Linkage
(For Better Access)

CLICK HERE

Forster Co-Ax Ultramount
(Riser plus Bin Support)

CLICK HERE

Co-Ax Roller Lever (Short)

CLICK HERE

Dual LED Lighting Kit for Co-Ax

CLICK HERE

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February 12th, 2016

Getting Started in F-Class Competition (F-TR and F-Open)

Vince Bottomley Target Shooter F-Class F-Open F-TR

Our friend Vince Bottomley in the UK has written an excellent article for Target Shooter Magazine. Vince offers “solid-gold” advice for new F-TR and F-Open shooters. Vince reviews the cartridge options, and offers suggestions for a shooter’s first (and hopefully affordable) F-Class rifle. Vince also reviews various bipod choices for F-TR and discusses optics options (from $300 to $3000).

Here’s a short sample from the Target Shooter Magazine article:

(more…)

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February 11th, 2016

Dear Daddy — You Are the Best…

DEAR DADDY. We all draw positive motivation from different sources. This competitor at the Berger SW Nationals gets a lift from his child’s hand-written note: “Dear Daddy, I love you very much. I hope you win the competition. You are the best….”

deardad01

The Berger SWN competition began in earnest yesterday, with hundreds of shooters taking to the line. Today, it’s more of the same, with the nation’s top F-TR, F-Open, and Sling Shooters competing at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility north of Phoenix.

Berger SWN

Photos by Stephen Fiorenzo and Phil Kelley.

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February 11th, 2016

Three National Champions Reveal How to Read the Wind

Blast from the Past: As we get set up in Phoenix for the 2016 Berger Southwest Nationals, we thought we’d revisit one of our more interesting features from a few years back. At the 2010 SHOT Show, we had the unique opportunity to corner three “superstars” of High Power shooting, and solicit their wind-reading secrets. Carl Bernosky, David Tubb, and John Whidden all shared some championship-caliber wind wisdom in video interviews. If you shoot competitively, you’ll want to watch these videos. David’s video is worth watching twice because some of the key points he makes go by pretty quickly.

In the three videos below (in alphabetical order), Carl Bernosky (10-Time Nat’l High Power Champion), David Tubb (11-time Nat’l High Power Champion and 7-time Nat’l Long-Range Champion), and John Whidden (2-Time Nat’l High Power Long-Range Champion) shared some of the wind-doping strategies that have carried them to victory in the nation’s most competitive shooting matches. This is GOLD folks… no matter what your discipline — be it short-range Benchrest or Long-Range High Power — watch these videos for valuable insights that can help you shoot more accurately, and post higher scores, in all wind conditions.

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We were very fortunate to have these three extraordinarily gifted champions reveal their “winning ways”. These guys REALLY know their stuff. I thought to myself: “Wow, this is how a baseball fan might feel if he could assemble Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, and Ted Williams in the same room, and have them each reveal their hitting secrets.” Editor’s Note: These interviews were conducted before Bernosky and Tubb won their most recent National Championships.

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February 10th, 2016

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Commence in Arizona

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ
Checking conditions at break of day. This week Phoenix will offer cool nights and warm days, with daytime temps in the mid- to high 80s (F).

2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZThe Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN), is the biggest, most prestigious long-range shooting match west of the Mississipi. The SW Nationals, which run February 9-14, 2016, kicked off on Tuesday the 9th with a shooting clinic at the Ben Avery 1000-yard Range. This gave competitors a chance to confirm their zeros, study the conditions at Ben Avery, and prep their “mental game” for the upcoming competition. This will be a huge event, with over 370 shooters from all over the USA and many foreign countries. The SW Nationals attracts top F-Class and Sling shooters, lured by the quality of the competition and a huge prize table. This is truly a “world-class” event.

Tuesday’s shooting clinic started with a class on Exterior Ballistics hosted by Bryan Litz. Following the ballistics class, shooters made their way to the firing line for one-on-one instruction with experienced shooters in each discipline (sling, F-TR and F-Open). During this segment of the clinic, champion shooters worked directly with novice and intermediate shooters. Bryan said: “It was great to see the ‘top guns’ sharing their knowledge.”

2015 Berger Southwest Nationals Clinic Applied Ballistics High Power F-Class Phoenix Ben Avery
File photo from 2015.

Nat’l Mid-Range and Long-Range F-TR Champion Bryan Litz instructs during Tuesday’s Clinic at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Eliseo Tubegun with Nightforce Competition scope. These versatile rifle chassis systems are produced by Competition Machine in Cottonwood, Arizona.
2016 Berger Southwest Nationals Phoenix Arizona AZ

Click image to see full-screen panorama.

CLICK HERE for Phoenix Travel and Lodging Information.


View Larger Map

Photos by Steven Fiorenzo.

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February 10th, 2016

Ultrasonic Case Cleaning — How to Get Better Results

Sooner or later you’ll want to clean your rifle brass, even if you aren’t fussy about appearance. You can tumble your cases in a vibratory tumbler with dry media, but that can leave cases with a fine layer of dust, or worse yet, clogged flash holes. As an alternative to tumbling, many shooters are experimenting with ultrasonic case cleaning. Here are three tips to achieve the best results when using ultra-sound to clean your brass:

Try a Commercial Ultrasonic Cleaning Solution
As a companion product to its new ultrasonic cleaning tank, Hornady is selling a citric-acid based One Shot™ Sonic Clean™ Solution, that is claimed to speed up cleaning times, and not leave your brass an odd pinkish color like some “home-brew” solutions. We’ve heard good reports about the One-Shot Solution (cartridge case formula) as well as Citranox®. Both products are economical to use since you dilute them heavily with water. For example, Hornady recommends you mix forty (40) parts water to one part of One Shot Sonic Clean.

Ultrasonic Cleaning Solutions

Forum member Dave B is a chemist/physicist with decades of experience working with the ultrasound process. Dave tried a variety of solutions and he favors a mix of water and Citranox®. Dave notes: “So far I’ve been very impressed with the Citranox. Once- or twice-fired brass clean up very quickly. The worst cases I tried were 6 Dashers that had been fired ten times with Varget and never cleaned. The worst fouling was in the bottom of the case around the flash hole. They took longer and I used a more concentrated cleaning solution but they did come out clean. The price is reasonable. I paid $35 a gallon and for once- or twice-fired cases I dilute the cleaner 100 to 1. There is much less chemical reaction with the brass than there is with vinegar. No weird colors, just shiny bright. I even used it with hot water, which speeds up the cleaning process. The cleaner is mostly detergents with a little citric acid. Even at a 1:75 ratio my $35 worth of cleaner will make 75 gallons of solution.” The price has gone up a bit since Dave acquired his Citranox, but Amazon.com sells Citranox for $48.00 per gallon.

Another good ultrasonic solution is L&R non-ammoniated Safety Cleaning Solution, sold by Brownells, item #515-000-004. Brownell’s L&R solution is non-toxic and biodegradeable. The strong surfactant in L&R solution helps penetrate the grit so the ultrasonic cavitation can carry the grime away.

De-Gas the Solvent Before Adding Brass
One of our readers, Eddy M. in Glasgow, Scotland writes: “I have read a couple of articles recently about ultrasonic cleaning of cases and not one has mentioned de-gassing the cleaning liquid before starting to clean items. As an engineer who traveled around for ten years servicing ultrasonic tanks I would like to point out that the cleaning liquid when first put into the tank has invisible dissolved air bubbles in it which will absorb ultrasonic energy until the liquid de-gasses. (Ten minutes in a powerful industrial tank — longer in a small hobby tank). You must let the tank run on its own for 20 minutes on the first use of the liquid to allow this to happen. Only after the new liquid or re-introduced liquid has been de-gassed will the tank give good results.”

moly dry lube kit NeconosApply Dry-Lube Inside Case Necks
Jason Baney has found that Ultrasonic cleaning leaves the inside of the case-necks so “squeaky clean” that there is excess friction when seating bullets. On a fired case that has been cleaned conventionally (no ultra-sound), a thin layer of carbon remains to lubricate the bullet entry and exit. To restore that lubricity in cases cleaned with ultrasound, Jason applies a dry lube to the inside of his case necks. Jason prefers the $10.95 moly dry lube kit from Neconos.com. With this kit, small carbon steel balls transfer moly to the neck when you place your brass nose-down in the container.

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