August 9th, 2016

Hail the 2016 High Power and Long Range National Champions

Norman Norm Houle High Power John Whidden 2016 National Long Range High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

We congratulate Norman Houle, the 2016 National High Power Champion, and John Whidden, the 2016 National Long Range Champion. Norm secured his win with an impressive 2384-130X score. Along with the title of National Champion, Norm received a Mumma Trophy Plaque, a National Champion Medallion, Krieger Barrels Certificate, Trijicon Scope, and Geissele Certificate. In second place was last year’s champion, SFC Brandon Green of the USAMU. Brandon, who won the 2015 and 2013 High Power Championships, finished with a score of 2381-120X. In third place was SGT Nick Mowrer with 2381-114X, a very impressive score with a Service Rifle. (SGT Mowrer won the Service Rifle Championship.)

Norman Norm Houle High Power John Whidden 2016 National Long Range High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

John Whidden is always strong at Camp Perry (file photo from past event).
John Whidden 2016 National High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

Whidden Wins Long Range Championship
In the Long Range Competition (Tompkins Trophy Match), John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks topped the field with a very strong 1240-77X performance. This victory secured John’s fourth Long Range National title. As in the High Power Championship, in the Long Range event SFC Brandon Green also finished in second place (1238-67X). Rounding out the Long Range podium was William Gelet with a 1238-57X tally. With his Long Range Championship win, Whidden took home a Tompkins Trophy Plaque, a Gold Championship Medallion, and a $500 Berger Bullets Certificate.

John campaigned three rifles he smithed himself. These feature Barnard actions in modified Anschutz smallbore stocks. For the open-caliber events, John shot .243 Win-chambered rifles with 6mm 105gr Berger Hybrids. For the Palma matches he shot a .308 Win with 155gr Berger Hybrids. John’s ammo was loaded on Whidden dies of course. During the Long Range cycle, matches were shot with both iron sights and scopes. John had two different .243 Win rifles, one fitted with iron sights, the other with a scope.

Norman Norm Houle High Power John Whidden 2016 National Long Range High Power Championship Camp Perry Barnard Action

High Power Hardware: The Guns of Perry

We thought our readers would like to see some of the ultra-accurate rifles campaigned by High Power competitors at Camp Perry. Both bolt-action and self-loading rifles are popular. Among bolt guns, Tubb 2000s and Eliseo tubeguns are popular. Semi-auto AR platform “Space Guns” offer some advantages (particularly during rapid-fire and for standing position), and are favored by many of the top marksmen. Many Camp Perry High Power competitors are also shooting less exotic AR service rifles.

Tubb 2000 with a shortened handguard, and custom hand support bracket forward of mag well.
Camp Perry AR15 Tubegun High Power Space Gun Tubb 2000 Rifle Standing

The modern AR Space Gun, scoped version. Note the side charging handle, and absence of forward assist. A block fitted under the handguard helps with the standing position. The scope is mounted on a “piggy-back” rail that extends forward of upper receiver’s built-in rail.
Camp Perry AR15 Tubegun High Power Space Gun Tubb 2000 Rifle Standing

Photos Courtesy NRABlog.com.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
August 9th, 2016

NSSF Opposes Actions Forcing Gunsmiths to Register under ITAR

DDTC Department of State ITAR Directorate of Defense Trade Controls

On July 22, 2016 the U.S. Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) issued a 4-page “Guidance” concerning gunsmithing activities. This “Guidance” described the types of tasks and services which would obligate gunsmiths to register as “manufacturers” under the Arms Export Control Act (AECA) and International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR). Any “manufacturers” of “defense articles” (which includes firearms and ammunition) must fill out burdensome paperwork every year and pay an exorbitant $2,250 annual registration fee. The “Guidance” stated that completing even one simple smithing task, such as threading a muzzle, will obligate a smith to register as an ITAR “manufacturer”. And this holds true even if the “manufacturer” does not export a single product, or only makes component parts, such as a wood gunstock. READ 7/22/2016 DDTC Guidance.

Clearly this “Guidance” threatens the traditional activities and livelihoods of normal, non-exporting gunsmiths around the country. The potential penalties for failure to register are draconian — huge fines and up to 20 years in prison.

Recognizing that the latest DDTC “Guidance” represents a severe threat to the firearms industry, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is leading an effort to get the DDTC to change its policies. The NSSF also urges concerned citizens to contact their elected representatives in Washington.

NSSF Statement Regarding DDTC’s Firearms “Guidance” on ITAR Registration

DDTC asserts that the guidance merely restates existing DDTC policy and interpretation of the AECA and ITAR manufacturer registration requirement.

Unfortunately, DDTC’s “guidance” has created considerable and understandable confusion and concern among gunsmiths and gun owners. The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) is reviewing the guidance and will send a letter of protest to DDTC expressing our strong opposition to the new “guidance,” the scope of which clearly exceeds their statutory authority. The term “manufacture” as used in the AECA and ITAR is its ordinary dictionary definition. Clearly, many of the activities DDTC claims require registration constitutes gun smithing and is not manufacturing under any reasonable dictionary definition of the term. DDTC’s position is similar to claiming an auto mechanic who fixes your car is a car manufacturer.

NSSF has been working diligently for many years to eliminate, or at least significantly lower, the excessive and burdensome registration fee especially for non-exporting manufacturers and non-essential component parts manufacturers. Simply put, forcing small manufacturer to pay $2,250 annually to register when they are not utilizing the DDTC export licensing system to export products is an unfair and onerous regulatory burden. This is even more outrageous when one considers that DDTC is sitting on at least $140 million dollars of previously paid registration fees collected over many years from exporters from many industries including ours.

Additionally, we have been working with allies in Congress to pressure the Obama administration to complete the Export Control Reform (ECR) initiative, which would (with limited exceptions) do away with the AECA and ITAR manufacturer registration requirement and onerous fee for commercial and sporting firearms.

To date, the Obama Administration has refused to publish and implement the regulatory changes necessary to transfer [the] export licensing of commercial and sporting firearms and ammunition products to the Department of Commerce from the Department of State. Read more on Export Control Reform. Yet, the proposed rules have been drafted and ready for publication since December 2012. Inaction persists despite congressional testimony and letters to members of the U.S. House and the Senate that [the Administration] would publish the rules.

Why has the Obama administration refused to move ECR forward for our industry? It is really very simple. The Obama Administration is singling out our industry for different treatment under the ECR because of its gun control politics. It is time to force Congress to step in and stop the Obama Administration’s gun control agenda from stopping this needed reform.

Here is the key language in the DDTC’s “ITAR Registration Requirements – Consolidated Guidance” Ruling of 7/22/2016:

2. Registration Required – Manufacturing: In response to questions from persons engaged in the business of gunsmithing, DDTC has found in specific cases that ITAR registration is required because the following activities meet the ordinary, contemporary, common meaning of “manufacturing” and, therefore, constitute “manufacturing” for ITAR purposes:

a) Use of any special tooling or equipment upgrading in order to improve the capability of assembled or repaired firearms;

b) Modifications to a firearm that change round capacity;

c) The production of firearm parts (including, but not limited to, barrels, stocks, cylinders, breech mechanisms, triggers, silencers, or suppressors);

d) The systemized production of ammunition, including the automated loading or reloading of ammunition;

e) The machining or cutting of firearms, e.g., threading of muzzles or muzzle brake installation requiring machining, that results in an enhanced capability;

f) Rechambering firearms through machining, cutting, or drilling;

g) Chambering, cutting, or threading barrel blanks; and

h) Blueprinting firearms by machining the barrel.

How Can Gun Owners and Gunsmiths Help?

Call your U.S. Representative at 202-225-3121 and U.S. Senators at 202-224-3121 urge him or her to support Rep. Collin Peterson’s (D-Minn.) Resolution, (H. Res. 829) that demands the Obama administration complete the ECR and publish the proposed rules to transfer the licensing of commercial and sporting firearms and ammunition products to the Department of Commerce (which does not require registration or payment of a fee).

Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to force DDTC to stop imposing excessive and onerous registration fees on small businesses that do not export products. Tell them to support language in the Fiscal Year 2017 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations bill that will reduce the registration fee to a nominal amount for all non-exporting manufacturers and component part manufacturers.

Tell your U.S. Representative and Senators to stop the Department of State and DDTC from exceeding their statutory authority. The DDTC should have no power to control non-export activities. Threading a barrel or fitting a stock should not oblige a gunsmith to register with the Department of State and pay a fee of $2,250 per year.

Permalink Gunsmithing, News 2 Comments »
August 9th, 2016

New Zeiss Conquest Gavia 85 Spotting Scope Looks Good

Zeiss 85mm spotting scope HD glass Gavia Conquest

Carl Zeiss Sports Optics has introduced a new 85mm spotting scope, the Conquest Gavia 85. This new 30-60X spotter is a modern, shorter and lighter design that may challenge Kowa’s category-leading 88mm Prominar spotter, at a more attractive price. The Zeiss Gavia 85’s MSRP is $1999.99. You can pay $2100.00+ for the Kowa 88mm Prominar angled BODY ONLY. Kowa’s 25-60X Prominar LER Eyepiece runs another $569.00, so total cost approaches $2700.00 for the Kowa system.

The new Conquest Gavia 85 angled spotting scope combines 60X max magnification with a wide-angle field of view. A large center ring allows fast, positive focusing. Zeiss claims the large 85mm objective and low-dispersion HD glass provides “outstanding optical performance and brightness” plus great low-light performance. For a spotting scope with a large 85mm objective, the Zeiss Gavia 85 is lighter than expected. With 30-60X removable eyepiece, this spotter weighs in at 60 ounces (3.75 lbs. or 1.7 kg). The spotter is fogproof and waterproof, with LotuTec® lens coatings for easy cleaning and good clarity in all types of weather.

Zeiss 85mm spotting scope HD glass Gavia Conquest

Zeiss 85mm spotting scope HD glass Gavia ConquestZeiss Conquest Gavia 85 Specifications:
Magnification: 30-60X
Objective Lens Diameter: 85 mm
Exit Pupil Diameter: 2.8-1.4 mm
Focal Length (Objective Lens System): 494 mm
Field of View at 1,000 yards: 99-69 ft
Close Focus: 10.8 ft
Lens Type: HD with LotuTec® /T* coating
Length: 15.6 in
Weight (incl. Eyepiece): 60 oz.
Lens Thread: M 86 x1
Retail Price: $1,999.99

For more information on the Zeiss Gavia 85 spotting scope and other Zeiss products, visit www.Zeiss.com or the Zeiss Facebook Page.

Optics Product Tip from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Optics 3 Comments »