August 19th, 2016

New Hornady Ballistics Calculator Uses Doppler Radar Bullet Data

Hornady Ballistics Calculator 4DOF Doppler Vertical Jump Spin Drift Angle of Attack

Here’s a significant new addition to our knowledge base for Long-Range shooting. Hornady has released a new Ballistics Calculator that employs bullet profiles derived from Doppler radar testing and 3D projectile modeling. Hornady’s Patent Pending 4DOF™ Ballistic Calculator provides trajectory solutions based on projectile Drag Coefficient (not static G1/G7 ballistic coefficients) along with the exact physical modeling of projectiles and their mass and aerodynamic properties. This new 4DOF (Four Degrees of Freedom) calculator also accounts for spin drift and the subtle VERTICAL effects of crosswinds.


We strongly recommend you watch this video from start to finish. In greater detail than is possible here, this video explains how the 4DOF System works, and why it is more sophisticated than other commercially-offered Ballistics calculators. There’s a LOT going on here…

Aerodynamic Jump from Crosswind Calculated
According to Hornady, the 4DOF Ballistics Calculator “is the first publicly-available program that will correctly calculate the vertical shift a bullet experiences as it encounters a crosswind.” This effect is called aerodynamic jump. The use of radar-derived drag profiles, correct projectile dynamics, aerodynamic jump, and spin drift enable the Hornady® 4DOF™ ballistic calculator to provide very sophisticated solutions. Hornady says its 4DOF solver is “the most accurate commercially available trajectory program … even at extreme ranges.”

“Current ballistic calculators provide three degrees of freedom in their approach — windage, elevation, and range — but treat the projectile as an inanimate lump flying through the air,” said Dave Emary, Hornady Chief Ballistician. “This program incorporates the projectile’s movement in the standard three degrees but also adds its movement about its center of gravity and subsequent angle relative to its line of flight, which is the fourth degree of freedom.”

Using Doppler radar, Hornady engineers have calculated exact drag versus velocity curves for each bullet in the 4DOF™ calculator library. This means the 4DOF™ calculator should provicde more precise long range solutions than calulators that rely on simple BC numbers or drag curves based with limited data collection points. Emary adds: “The Hornady 4DOF also accurately calculates angled shots by accounting for important conditions that [other ballistic] programs overlook.”

“This calculator doesn’t utilize BCs (Ballistic Coefficients) like other calculators,” added Jayden Quinlan, Hornady Ballistics Engineer. “Why compare the flight of your bullet to a standard G1 or G7 projectile when you can use your own projectile as the standard?” That makes sense, but users must remember that Hornady’s 4DOF projectile “library” includes mostly Hornady-made bullets. However, in addition to Hornady bullets, the 4DOF Calculator currently does list seven Berger projectiles, six Sierra projectiles, and one Lapua bullet type. For example, Sierra’s new 183gr 7mm MatchKing is listed, as is Berger’s 105gr 6mm Hybrid.

This Video Explains How to Use Hornady’s New 4DOF Ballistics Calculator

Hornady Ballistics Calculator 4DOF Doppler Vertical Jump Spin Drift Angle of Attack

Using the 4DOF™ Ballistic Calculator:
The Hornady 4DOF Ballistic Calculator provides trajectory solutions based on projectile Drag Coefficient (not ballistic coefficients) along with exact physical modeling of the projectile and its mass and aerodynamic properties. Additionally, it calculates the vertical shift a bullet experiences as it encounters a crosswind, i.e. “aerodynamic jump”. The use of drag coefficients, projectile dynamics, aerodynamic jump, and spin drift enable the 4DOF Ballistic Calculator to accurately measure trajectories even at extreme ranges. It is ideal for both long range and moderate distances and is available for the low-drag precision bullets listed in the drop down menu of the calculator. For calculating trajectories of traditional hunting and varmint bullets using BCs (ballistic coefficients), you can use Hornady’s Standard Ballistics Calculator.

Hornady Ballistics Calculator 4DOF Doppler Vertical Jump Spin Drift Angle of Attack

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
August 19th, 2016

New Temp-Stable Alliant Reloder 16 Now Available

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

Here’s an important announcement for anyone who uses a powder in the 4350 range. Alliant is now shipping the all-new Reloder 16 powder. The burn rate is slightly faster than Reloder 17, and a bit slower than Varget or Reloder 15. Notably, this new Reloder 16 powder is very temp stable. AccurateShooter.com was shown “top secret” test results comparing Reloder 16 with other popular propellants, including Hodgdon Extreme series powders. The results for Reloder 16 were remarkable. Reloder 16 showed extremely constant velocities even with very high ambient temps — so this is a powder you can shoot even on hot Arizona summer days.

CLICK HERE for Reloder 16 Suggested Load Recipes

This is NOT just a slower version of Alliant’s double-based Reloder 15 (which words great in the 6mmBR and Dasher cartridges). Reloder 16 is a completely new formulation, produced in Sweden by Bofors for Alliant. Reloder 16 utilizes TZ technology, which manipulates the response of the propellant and resists the natural tendency to generate more pressure at higher temperatures and less pressure at lower temperatures.

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

As a result, Reloder 16 offers outstanding temperature stability. Based on the test results we’ve seen, if you are using H4350 or IMR 4451 currently, you should definitely give Reloder 16 a try. The powder also boasts excellent lot-to-lot consistency and contains a proprietary de-coppering additive.

Reloder Reloader 16 Alliant Powder Propellant Bofors TZ temperature stability temp stable H4350

Match and Hunting Cartridge Applications:
Alliant tells us that Reloader 16 “is ideal for traditional hunting cartridges, such as .30-06 Springfield and .270 Winchester, as well as 6.5mm target loads and tactical applications wherein temperature stability is required.” We also think the powder may work very well in these popular match cartridges: 6XC, .243 Win, 6.5×47 Lapua, 6.5 Creedmoor, .260 Rem, .284 Win, and .300 WSM. For example, Alliant’s Load Data Sheet shows a 2772 FPS load with 142gr SMKs in the .260 Rem.

Permalink New Product, News, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 19th, 2016

Smart Tool Tip: Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge

Here’s a tip we feature every year or so, because it is something that costs nothing, yet can be very useful in the reloading process. With a simple, easy modification to a fired case, you can determine the length to lands in your rifle barrel. As long as you set the tension right, the measurements should be repeatable, and you’ve just saved yourself $31 — the price of a commercial OAL gauge.

To achieve best accuracy with a rifle, you must control bullet seating depth very precisely, so all bullets end up in the same place relative to the entrance of the lands, every time. There may be multiple cartridge OALs which prove accurate. However, with each, you first need to determine a “zero” point — a reliable, and repeatable OAL where the bullet is “just touching” the lands.

There are tools, such as the Hornady (formerly Stoney Point) OAL Gauge, that will help you find a seating OAL just touching the lands. However, the tool requires that you use a special modified case for each cartridge you shoot. And, while we find that the Hornady OAL Gauge is repeatable, it does take some practice to get in right.

Make Your Own Length-to-Lands Gauge with a Dremel
Here’s an inexpensive alternative to the Hornady OAL tool — a slotted case. Forum member Andris Silins explains how to create a slotted case to measure length to the lands in your rifle:

“Here’s what I did to find length to lands for seating my bullets. I made four cuts into the neck of fire-formed brass. Then I pressed the bullet in lightly and chambered the entire gauge. As the cartridge chambers, the bullet slides back into the case to give you length to lands. It took less than five minutes to get it cut and working. A little light oil in the barrel just past the chamber helps ensure the bullet does not get stuck in the lands. It works great and is very accurate.

case OAL gauge home made

I made the cuts using a Dremel with a cut-off wheel. You can adjust tension two ways. First, you can make the cuts longer or shorter. Longer cuts = less tension. If you used only three cuts insted of four you would get more tension. The trick is to be gentle when you open and close the bolt. If you ram the bolt closed you may wedge the bullet into the lands. When you open the bolt it helps to keep a finger or two near by to guide the case out straight because the ejector wants to push it sideways.”

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 7 Comments »
August 18th, 2016

Youth Shooting Programs — How to Get Your Kids Involved

4H National Shooting Sports Youth Program
The Camp Josepho Boy Scouts facility in California offers outstanding marksmanship programs.

Article based on report in NRABlog.com.
Want to get young people involved in the shooting sports? Through organized training programs youngsters learn safe firearms handling, improve marksmanship skills, and meet other kids with similar interests. They also learn important life skills such as teamwork and goal attainment. There are several youth marksmanship programs available. All these programs let you share your joy of shooting with the younger generation. Remember today’s juniors are the future of our sport.

NRA National Junior Shooting Camps

NRA Junior Shooting Championships
File photo from NRA Smallbore Rifle Championship

The NRA’s National Junior Shooting Camps provide high-quality training opportunities in rifle, pistol and shotgun disciplines. Instruction is directed by highly qualified, top-level coaches. NRA offers camps for advanced and intermediate juniors. There are also Junior Olympic Shooting Camps, hosted by USA Shooting and supported by the NRA and the Civilian Marksmanship Program.

National 4-H Shooting Sports

4H National Shooting Sports Youth Program

The National 4-H Shooting Sports Program was created to teach marksmanship, the safe and responsible use of firearms, the principles of hunting and archery, and much more. State level 4-H clubs offer programs for individual training as well as team competitive shooting. There is also a National 4-H Shooting Sports Championship each summer which hosts Shotgun, Air Rifle, Air Pistol, Smallbore Rifle, Smallbore Pistol, Compound Archery, Recurve Archery, Muzzleloading Rifle and Hunting Skills events.

Boy Scouts of America

Youth Education BSA Shooting Sports Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) offers several marksmanship opportunities for new and intermediate shooters. Programs provide training for marksmanship badges and there are a variety of other competitive and recreational programs. Check with your local Boy Scout organization to learn about the range offerings for scouts in your region.

American Legion Junior Program

American Legion Junior Program

Thousands of male and female junior shooters have participated in the American Legion Junior Shooting Sports Program, which has a perfect safety record. The Junior Program includes a Basic Marksmanship Course, Qualification Awards and Air Rifle Competition. To learn more, visit www.legion.org/shooting.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC)

The NRA’s Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) program helps kids 18 and under to learn hunting, marksmanship, and safety skills. From rifle, bow, and muzzleloader shooting, to wildlife identification, map & compass orienteering and more, YHEC participants get hands-on training in eight skill areas. This is a great program for parents and kids who want to go on family hunts together.

Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program

From a young shooter’s first BB gun to sophisticated air rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, pistols, and rifles, the year-round Winchester/NRA Marksmanship Qualification Program offers a pathway to excellence for young shooters. Qualification shooting provides incentive awards for developing and improving marksmanship skills. Progression is self-paced and scores are challenging but attainable. Performance is measured against established par scores and any shooter who meets or exceeds those scores is entitled recognition awards for that rating.

Brownells / NRA Day

Brownells NRA Day

Brownells / NRA Day events provide adults, youth, families, hunters, sportsmen, competitors – literally everyone – the opportunity to come together under a formal program to learn, experience, share, and grow in appreciation of the shooting sports. The event themes offered in the program are designed for discovery. They provide exposure to the many different activities available in shooting sports and offer participants the opportunity to explore them in a safe, controlled environment.

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation

Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation

The Scholastic Shooting Sports Foundation (SSSF) offers a variety of fun, team-based shooting tournaments in both the Scholastic Clay Target Program (SCTP) and Scholastic Action Shooting Program (SASP). These programs are open to student athletes aged elementary through college.

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August 18th, 2016

Chest of Drawers Conceals Sliding Gun Storage Compartments

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinet

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinetWilla-Hyde, producers of firearms concealment storage systems, has introduced a handsome 6-foot tall chest of draws that hides firearms on either side. The side storage compartments, which can each hold multiple long-guns and 3-4 handguns, slide out to reveal their hidden contents. These slide-outs are secured by a steel pin locking system, which can only be unlocked with the provided rare earth magnet key.

True Capacity — the manufacturer Willa-Hyde claims this chest will hold a dozen long guns (six per side). We think 7-8 total long guns is more realistic.

When fully closed, the chest of drawers, crafted from Adler wood, is indistinguishable from any other piece of fine furniture.

Dimensions are 72″ tall x 33″ wide x 19″ deep, and the chest of drawers weighs 240 pounds. Price is $1995.00 plus a $250.00 delivery charge.

Willa-Hyde Gun Storage furniture chest drawers Hide cabinet

Crafted in Texas, the Willa-Hide storage cabinets were inspired by the inventor’s wish to keep his firearms away from inquisitive children: “Concealed gun cabinets have quickly become a ‘must have’ for any gun owner. [This concept] began when our co-founder wanted an easy way to keep his granddaughter from finding his guns, but at the same time still be able to get to them fast and easily when needed.” For more information on the Gun Chest of Drawers and other Willa-Hyde products (such as the Hidden Storage Wall Mirror), visit www.Willa-Hide.com.

Permalink Gear Review, New Product No Comments »
August 17th, 2016

Whidden on Winning at Long Range: Part 1 — The Wind

Camp Perry John Whidden Wind Reading Long Range Championship

John Whidden of Whidden Gunworks won his fourth Long Range National Championship at Camp Perry this month. In this article, the first of a three-part series on Long Range competition, John shares his thoughts on wind strategies and keeping one’s composure in pressure situations. John tells us Camp Perry was very challenging this year: “The 2016 Long Range Championship will go down in my memory as one with quick wind changes that made it very easy to shoot a 9.”

How to Win at Long Range Shooting
(Or at least what worked at the 2016 National Championships)

by John Whidden, 2016 National Long Range Champion
The NRA Long Range National Championships at Camp Perry Ohio are now in the history books and the competitors are home and reflecting on what they could have done to improve their score. I think anyone who has ever competed always knows they could have done even better if they had changed this detail or that aspect. This is the case regardless of where a shooter places in the standings, even for the winners.

John Whidden National Long Range Championship Camp Perry 2016 Wind Reading

This year the winds were reasonably tough. We mostly have either headwinds or winds from the 2-3 O’clock positions with speeds often in the 9-11 mph range. The changes came quickly and we had to be on our toes. Fortunately the course of fire allows the shooters some options. For the 1000-yard matches, we typically have 33 minutes for preparation, an unlimited number of sighter shots, and then 20 shots for record. Many shooters will shoot about 3-5 sighters and complete the task in about 15 minutes.

The 2016 Long Range Championship was definitely a match where you had to fight for every point during the whole event.

In preparation for shooting by watching the wind, I realized that the quick changes were going to add to the difficulty. Given the conditions, I chose a strategy of choosing only one condition to shoot in and waiting during any changes away from my desired condition. This plan meant that I would have to be very patient and plan to use all of my 33 minutes allotted time if needed.

The sun was shining for most of the matches so we had mirage to look at. There are plenty of flags at Camp Perry and I was glad for them!

As the wind speeds get higher I think a shooter should study the appearance of the flags. Some people look at the flag, and some really LOOK at the flags. The difference is observing things like how many ripples are in the flag, how far the flag stands off the pole, the angle of the flag in a headwind or tailwind, and how high the tip of the flag is relative to where the flag is attached to the pole. These details make all of the difference.

Time Management and Patience
Patience in wind reading can be a virtue. Choosing a condition and being patient has probably yielded more success in my long range wind reading than any other method. It’s not the only way to go, but on a day when you have time available and patience on your side it can yield a win! It should be obvious now that keeping a timer and managing the available time along with the number of shots remaining is an important part of this.

John Whidden National Long Range Championship Camp Perry 2016 Wind Reading
John Whidden National Long Range Championship Camp Perry 2016 Wind Reading

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
August 17th, 2016

Vista Outdoor Opens New Headquarters in Farmington, Utah

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

On August 10th, Vista Outdoor Inc. (NYSE: VSTO), officially opened its new 33,000-square-foot Utah corporate headquarters to the public with a ribbon cutting ceremony attended by state and local officials, community partners, members of the media, and employees.

“We are proud to call Farmington home,” said Vista Outdoor CEO Mark DeYoung. “We’re committed to being a strong partner for this community, and we value our relationships with the state, county and city leaders who helped make this headquarters a reality. We chose Utah because of its focus on outdoor recreation as an economic driver, the business-friendly environment, a talented workforce and balanced quality of life, as well as amazing geography and the availability of four seasons for outdoor recreation.”

Founded in 2015 when ATK (Alliant Techsystems*) spun off its sporting goods division from its aerospace business, Vista Outdoor is a leading global manufacturer of outdoor consumer products as well as firearms. Vista Outdoor’s 50 product brands include such well-known names as Bell Helmets, Blackhawk, Bushnell, CamelBak, CCI, Federal Premium Ammunition, and Savage Arms.

CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Brands. | CLICK HERE for Vista Outdoor Company History

Vista Outdoor Public traded CCI Alliant Bushnell

Building Constructed with Utah Wood and Stone
The new Headquarters building uses locally-sourced natural materials such as wood and stone in many design elements. The main lobby atrium includes a “living wall” made with live plants and a central staircase with an expansive view of the Wasatch Mountains, bringing the feeling of “outdoors” inside. The back lobby features a fireplace/campsite.

“Vista Outdoor and its brands are committed to conservation and environmental stewardship,” said DeYoung. “We believe in the responsible use of natural resources and in conserving the wild places where our employees and our consumers go to pursue their outdoor adventures.”


*Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK) came into being as an independent company in 1990 when Honeywell spun off its defense businesses to shareholders. ATK got into the ammo business in 2001 when it acquired Blount International. ATK grew with later acquisitions of Weaver Optics (2008), Blackhawk (2010), Savage Arms (2013), and Bushnell (2013).

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August 17th, 2016

Primer Crater Cure — Firing Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Crater moon primers greg tannel bushing firing pinCraters may look interesting on the moon, but you don’t want to see them on your primers. Certain mechanical issues that cause primer craters can also cause primer piercing — a serious safety problem that needs to be addressed. If you have a gun that is cratering primers (even at moderate pressure levels), there is a solution that works with many rifles — send your bolt to Greg Tannel to have the firing pin hole bushed.

Shooters who convert factory actions to run 6BRs, 6PPCs or other high-pressure cartridges should consider having the firing pin bushed. These modern cartridges like to run at high pressures. When running stout loads, you can get cratering caused by primer flow around the firing pin hole in the bolt face. The reason is a little complicated, but basically the larger the hole, the less hydraulic pressure is required to crater the primer.

A limited amount of cratering is normally not a big issue, but you can reduce the problem significantly by having a smith fit a bushing in the firing pin hole. In addition to reduced cratering, bushing the firing pin often produces more consistent ignition.

CLICK HERE for Gre-Tan Firing Pin Hole Bushing Service INFO »

This is a highly recommended procedure that our editors have had done to their own rifles. Greg Tannel (Gre-Tan Rifles) is an expert at this procedure, and he does excellent work on a wide variety of bolts. Current price for a bushing job, which includes turning the firing pin to .062″, is $92.00, or $100.00 with USPS Priority Mail return shipping.

If you have a factory rifle, a bushed firing pin is the way to go if you are shooting the high-pressure cartridges such as 6PPC, 6BR, 6-6.5×47 and 6.5×47. This is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial upgrades you can do to your factory rifle. For more info on the Firing Pin Bushing process, visit GreTanRifles.com, or email greg [at] gretanrifles.com. After clicking the link for GreTanRifles.com, Click on “Services” > “Shop Services” and you’ll see a listing for “Bush Firing Pin Hole & Turn Pin”. CLICK that Box.

Gre-Tan Rifles firing pin bushingFiring Pin Hole Bushing by Greg Tannel

Work Done: Bush firing pin hole and turn pin
Functions: Fixes your cratering and piercing problems
Price: $92.00 + $8.00 return shipping
Total Price: $100.00

Actions for which Bushing is Offered: Remington, Winchester, Savage multi-piece pin, Sako, Kimber, Nesika, Stiller, BAT Machine, Kelbly, Lawton, Surgeon, Borden, Wichita, Hall, Ruger, Howa, Weatherby, Dakota, Pacific Tool, Phoenix, and Defiant bolt action rifle or pistol.

Actions for which Bushing is NOT Available: Case hardened receivers, ARs, Accuracy International (AI), Barnard, Big Horn, Cooper, Desert Tactical Arms, Kimber, Rosenthal, New Savage single piece pin, Rim fires, Falling block, Break open, Lever, Pump rifles, 1903-A3, CZ, Mauser.

How to send your bolt in to be bushed:
Send your bolt and firing pin assembly via snail mail, priority mail, or UPS. Please do not use FEDEX as it sometimes has delivery delays.Include your name, phone number, and return shipping address, and a note as to what you want done. Pack your bolt carefully and ship to: Gre’-Tan Rifles, 24005 Hwy. 13, Rifle CO 81650.

Due to the high volume of work, turn-around time for bolt bushing jobs can be 12 weeks (though it usually is faster). Customers can pay by check, money order, or credit card. For more information visit GretanRifles.com.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip No Comments »
August 16th, 2016

Inaugural New England CMP Games, September 14-18

Eastern CMP New England Games Jericho Vermont Ethan Allen

There’s still time to sign up for the inaugural New England CMP Games, held September 14-18, 2016, in Jericho, Vermont. Similar to the Eastern, Western, and Oklahoma CMP Travel Games, the New England Games will take place at Camp Ethan Allen Training Site and is hosted by the Vermont State Rifle and Pistol Association, along with the Burlington Rifle and Pistol Club. CMP Sales will be held at the Games, and on-site barracks accommodation is available.

Click Here for Match Schedule | Click Here for Registration Form

Eastern CMP New England Games Jericho Vermont Ethan Allen

The 2016 CMP New England Games will begin with Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) and the M16 Match. The event will feature Garand/Springfield/Vintage Military matches and the Modern Military match. Other matches include an EIC Rifle Match, Carbine Match, a Rimfire Sporter Match and the popular Vintage Sniper Match. There will be five pistol matches: CMP .22 Rimfire EIC Pistol Match, EIC Service Pistol Match, Pistol Team Match, Military & Police Pistol Match and CMP As-Issued 1911 Pistol Match.

Eastern CMP New England Games Jericho Vermont Ethan Allen
The New England Games will feature CMP’s signature M1 Garand Match.

Along with the SAFS, a GSM New Shooter Clinic and Garand Maintenance Clinic will also be offered. SAFS training by qualified instructors is geared toward new shooters, so no previous firearm experience is required.

The CMP Sales Trailer will be on-site offering registered competitors a first chance at the CMP goodies on September 14th during the Competitor-Only Sales Event. The CMP will also offer rifle and ammo sales September 15-17 starting at noon each day. Housing will be available on post in the form of transient quarters with a shared bath as well as barracks with large open bays and smaller bays for small groups or families.

To register, visit the New England Games Page on the CMP website. For more info, call Christina Roguski at 419-635-2141 ext. 714, or email competitions@thecmp.org.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
August 16th, 2016

Handy Adjustment Lever Kits for Harris Swivel Bipods

Bipod Harris Swivel Handle Lock S Lever Kit Eabco.com

We like the swivel (“S”) version of the Harris bipod. The swivel (actually tilting) capability of the bipod allows you to tilt (cant) your rifle around the bore axis to level the rifle on a side slope or uneven ground. Unfortunately, the swivel tensioner (friction knob) that comes standard with a Harris swivel bipod leaves much to be desired. The tensioning knob is hard to adjust with your fingers. The small knurled ring doesn’t offer enough leverage. When it’s tight enough to prevent movement it’s hard to release. For this reason, many folks replace the standard knurled ring with a rotating adjustment lever with push-button release. This works great and is easy to install.

While you can buy levers from various sources, Eabco.com has a tried-and-true system that works with both Harris and Caldwell XLA-S swivel bipods: “Our new S-Lever Tension Lever is an economical replacement for the friction tensioning knob to give you much better control and leverage.” For just $12.95, Eabco.com delivers all the parts you need for the upgrade. Shown below are instructions for installing the Eabco S-Lever.

Bipod Harris Swivel Handle Lock S Lever Kit Eabco.com

Permalink Gear Review 3 Comments »
August 15th, 2016

Chou Brothers Top F-TR Field at Canadian Championships

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

It was a family affair in the F-TR Division at the Canadian F-Class Championships this past week. In a remarkable show of strength, Kevin and Will Chou, brothers from Aurora, Canada, finished first and second, topping a strong 94-shooter field that included past American and Canadian Champions. The “Chou One-Two” performance was one for the ages. Kevin finished first with 611-61V (“V” is the equivalent of an “X” in the USA), while Will (2014 Champion) scored 607-58V to finish second. A full thirteen points behind Will was third place Daniel Lentz at 594-34V.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

Look hard at those numbers — Champion Kevin Chou was 17 points ahead of Daniel Lentz (the first American), with nearly double Dan’s V-Count. 17 points is a huge margin in this kind of competition. You have to hand it to the both Chou Brothers, Kevin and Will — they were “on fire” this past week at the Connaught Ranges outside Ottawa, Ontario. Kevin’s 611-61V equaled the top score in the F-Open division. That’s a major milestone for the F-TR bipod class shooting a .308 Win.

1. CHOU, KEVIN (Aurora, ON, Canada) 611-61V
2. CHOU, WILL (Aurora, ON, Canada) 607-58V
3. LENTZ, DANIEL(USA) 594-34V
4. HOGG, TRACY (USA) 593-41V
5. BURTON, ROBBY (USA) 591-44V

The F-TR event attracted top shooters from around the globe. Countries represented were: Australia, Canada, Ireland, South Africa, Ukraine, United Kingdom, and the United States. CLICK HERE for Complete F-Class Individual Results.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

Kevin Chou Rifle Specs
BAT Machine M action, RB/RP
Bartlein barrel 300×308 1:10″ 5R Heavy Palma 29” finished
Jewell trigger
Robertson Composites stock (Warner model)
Nightforce NXS 5-22×56 with mirage cap by Kreativ Solutions
Duplin bipod
Edgewood Mini Gator Rear Bag, extra short, slick ears

Will Chou Rifle Specs
Stolle Panda F-Class, RB/RP
Bartlein barrel 300×308 1:10″ 5R Heavy Varmint 30 1/2” finished
Mike Ezell Tuner
Jewell Trigger
Master class stock (Warner model)
March Tactical 2.5-25x52mm with modifier disk
Duplin bipod
Edgewood Mini Gator Rear Bag, extra short, slick ears

Kevin Chou Load Data
Berger 200 Hybrids, .010″ jam
Hodgdon Varget, 44.2 grains, 2660 fps
Lapua .308 Win Palma brass, skim turned to .0145″, .002″ neck tension.
CCI BR4 primers

Will Chou Load Data
Berger 200gr hybrids, .010″ jam
Hodgdon Varget, 44.2 grains, 2660 fps
Lapua .308 Win Palma brass, skim turned to .0145″, .002″ neck tension.
CCI BR4 primers

Report from the Canadian F-TR Championships

by Will Chou and Kevin Chou
Weather was extremely hot and humid for the first two days, resulting in thick mirage, a excellent indicator. In the Army & Navy match during the F-Open relay, wind velocity increased and shifted from right full value to left half value winds. Wind settled down for the last match of the day.

On the third day, mainly team matches, the rain challenged the marking staff with target faces deteriorating; a stop was called to the match after the 1st relay of the final. The match committee determined the best course of action, refaced the target during dry period and finished the remaining seeded final relays.

On the seeded final relay, my brother and I had no idea we’d be shooting together, as we’ve not discussed or paid any attention to scores for the entire match. It was a familiar position though, as we always practice paired together. Strangely, we’re not competitive with each other but rather assist one another to raise the level together. Come to think of it, that’s not just with my brother — we do that with everyone.

On that note, we feel the F-Class community has been raising each others level, bridging the gap between F-Open and F-TR. International teams have been assisting each other, most recently with Canadians and South Africans. Congratulations to South Africa for its well-deserved victory in the International Team Match.

We also congratulate the USA Team, which won the America Team Match, raising the bar yet again. Lastly, Shiraz Balolia’s “three-peat” in the F-Open Division was an incredible feat.

Big thanks to everyone at Bartlein barrels for their support to the Canadian F-Class team. Special thanks to Dan Pohlabel of Kreativ Solutions for the mirage cap, which allowed a better aim in thick mirage. Lastly, Clint Cooper of Duplin bipods, for the great product and his support.

Thank you all and we hope to see you on the firing line.


Shiraz Wins Third Canadian F-Open Championship in a Row: 2016, 2015, 2014
Grizzly Industrial President Shiraz Balolia pulled off a remarkable F-Open “THREE-PEAT” at the 2016 Canadian F-Class Championships. Shiraz won his third straight Canadian F-Class Championship, after winning the title in 2015 and 2014. Shiraz shot a 611-61V to edge, by way of tie-breaker, fellow American Emil Kovan, who also shot a 611-61V. That’s as close as it gets! Rounding out the podium in third place was another Yank, Dwayne Draggoo with 608-44V.

Canada Canadian F-Class Championship Kevin Chou Will Chou Shiraz Balolia F-TR F-Open

Stay tuned — We’ll have a full report on Shiraz’s notable three-peat F-Open performance (with his equipment and load details) later this week. We’ll also have reports on the Team competitions. There were three teams of 8 shooters taking part in the International, won by South Africa. In the Lum Trophy Match for teams of 4 shooters, there were 14 teams in the F-Open class, win by USFO Blue, and 11 teams in F-TR, won by USA Schwartzkopf.

Permalink News 9 Comments »
August 15th, 2016

Bargain Finder 48: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Bargain selections. Here are some of the best deals on firearms, 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. Amazon — Caldwell Long Range Target Camera System, $349.49

Amazon Caldwell Precision Long Range Target System Cam Camera

Forum members have purchased this Caldwell Target Cam System and they’ve found that it works reliably, providing a clear signal to any WiFi-enabled mobile device (smartphone, iPad, Laptop). One member specifically tested the unit at 1000 yards and it functioned fine. NOTE: This system does NOT have a zoom camera lens, so you need to position the camera within 10 yards or so of the target. But if you place it to the side a bit, this shouldn’t be a problem. This system comes with a nice, fitted carrying case that holds camera, transceivers, antennas, and stands. You get a very capable system for under $350.00 (Amazon price includes free shipping for Prime members). You can also get this system from Midsouth for $357.02 (shipping extra).

2. Amazon — Tipton Gun Vise, $33.13 (free Prime Shipping)

Tilton Best Vice reloading bench rifle

This is an awesome deal on a durable, well-designed polymer Gun Vise that every rifle owner can use. Your Editor has one of these units which has served well for more than a decade. The base has compartments for solvents, patches, and tools. The cradles and pads contacting your gunstock are a soft, rubber-like material that is gentle on fine finishes. This vise is relatively light in weight, but sturdy enough to support big, heavy rifles. NOTE: This is currently back-ordered, but due in stock August 17, 2016.

3. Midsouth — Burris Eliminator LaserScope with $100.00 Rebate

LaserScope Eliminator Burris Hornady Bullets Bargain Finder

The Burris Eliminator III is an impressive piece of electro-optical technology. The built-in laser rangefinder senses the distance to your target and the scope’s “brain” calculates the required hold-over. The calculated aiming point is then displayed with an illuminated red dot on the vertical cross-hair. Just put the bright red dot on the target and make the shot. We’ve used this scope out to 600 yards on small steel targets and it worked flawlessly. Right now you can get a $100 Factory REBATE plus attractive sale pricing from Midsouth. After rebate, the 3-12x44mm Eliminator III costs $1199.00.

4. CDNN — Browning A-Bolt 300 Win Magnum, $499.99 (+ Rebate)

Browning A-Bolt 300 Winchester Win Mag Magnum

Here’s a rifle with a smooth three-lug action and good trigger that can take any game in North America. The Browning A-Bolt is justifiably respected as a solid hunting rifle. The 300 Winchester Magnum chambering offers serious hitting power, even at long range. This rifle, with a blued barreled action, normally retails for $600.00+. Now it’s on sale for under $500.00. To sweeten the deal even more, right now Browning is offering $50 CASH BACK on Browning centerfire rifles purchased between August 1, 2016, and September 30, 2016. CLICK HERE for $50.00 REBATE FORM.

5. Grafs.com — Hornady Z-Max Poly-Tip Bullets, $64/500 and Up

Z-Max V-Max Vmax sale Hornady Bullets Bargain Finder

It seems like the Zombie craze has run its course (thank goodness), so Hornady’s Zombie bullets are being sold off at very low prices. Graf & Sons acquired a truckload of the green-tipped Z-Max bullets. These are the same as the popular red-tip V-Max bullets, just with a different color for the tips. Choose .204, .224, or .308 calibers in a variety of bullet weights. Prices start at $63.99 for 500, 32 grain .204 caliber varmint bullets. That’s just $12.79 per hundred.

6. Grafs.com — Forster Co-Ax Reloading Press on SALE

Grafs Grafs.com Forster Co-Ax Co-axial reloading press Sale

The Forster Co-Ax is a unique press that loads very straight ammo. If you’ve been patiently waiting to acquire a Forster Co-Ax® reloading press, now’s the time to strike. Grafs.com has Co-Ax presses on sale at $289.99. That includes shipping charges (with one flat $7.95 handling charge per order).

7. Glen’s Army Navy — CCI 17 HMR Ammo, $10.99 for 50 Rounds

Deal Bargain Finder CCI 17 HMR Gamepoint ammo

Here’s a good deal on 17 HMR ammo, our favorite cartridge type for small varmints. This quality CCI ammo is loaded with 20 grain jacketed SP bullets. Muzzle velocity is 2375 FPS. If you need 17 HMR ammo, you might want to act quickly. At this price this 17 HMR ammo will sell out.

8. Amazon — Two Rolls of 3″ Neon Target Stickers, $14.95

Red Orange Neon 3

We like these bright Neon 3″ target stickers. They are big enough to see easily at 600 yards, giving you a 1/2 MOA target center at that distance. For $14.95 at Amazon.com, you get 250 3″-diameter self-adhesive centers (125 targets per roll) that stick to almost any surface The high-contrast fluorescent red/orange color provides an excellent HI-VIZ aiming point, along with good contrast for bullet holes that fall within the 3″ circle. To help line up your reticle cross-hairs, the target centers feature black markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 O’clock.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Reloading No Comments »
August 15th, 2016

Drop-Port Actions — Stiller’s Slick Innovation

Stiller Drop-Port

Many of you may not have seen how Jerry Stiller’s innovative Drop-Port works with a 6BR, PPC, or Dasher case. Stiller Precision has created one slick system. Just retract the bolt and your case exits, nose-first, through a small port, coming to rest right under the gun. It works by gravity alone so you don’t need a conventional ejector, with the case alignment issues an ejector can create. (An ejector pushes on one side of the rim — this can push the case out of “perfect” alignment.) While Drop-port technology could, potentially, work with nearly any size cartridge, at this time, Drop-ports are only offered for PPC, 6BR, and Dasher-sized cases. Your Editor has a Drop-Port Viper action used with the 6mm BRDX cartridge, which is similar to a Dasher but with a slightly longer neck. It works flawlessly. Our Belgian friend David Bergen was kind enough to video his Viper Drop-Port in action:

Currently, the Drop-port system is available with the Viper action (both aluminum and stainless), and the round-profile Diamondback actions (but expect to wait a LONG time if you want the flat-bottomed Viper action). Because of the nature of Drop-port geometry, this system is optimized for short-length benchrest cartridges such as the 220 Russian, 22 and 6mm PPC, 6mmBR, and the 6mmBR Improved (Dasher, BRX, BRDX). If you plan to use a Drop-port with a Dasher or other improved case, you should tell Stiller Precision when you order. Also, if your gunsmith has not built a Drop-port rifle before, he should first consult with Stiller Precision, (972) 429-5000, to ensure the exit port is placed and inletted correctly in the stock. Getting the geometry exactly right is critical with this system.

Permalink Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
August 14th, 2016

Jim Laughland: A Living Legend at Camp Perry

Jim James Laughland Camp Perry Alice Bull Trophy
Jim Laughland (far left) with Alice Bull, the first Distinguished female (third from left).

Article based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
Jim Laughland, age 77, was the presenter of the Alice Bull Trophy during the 2016 National Trophy Rifle Matches at Camp Perry. To Jim, the Alice Bull Trophy is something very special … it rekindles memories of a cherished friend and mentor, and his many decades at Camp Perry. “I just thought it’d be nice to have the chance to present it because I don’t know if I’m coming back again,” he said. “Otherwise, you might have someone presenting who never knew [Alice Bull] or loved her like I did.”

Jim James Laughland Camp Perry Alice Bull TrophyThe first female to earn the Distinguished Rifleman Badge, Alice Bull was an extraordinary individual. A true pioneer, she was the women’s rifle team captain at the University of Washington. Before WWII, Bull competed at the National Matches from 1935 – 1937. In 1949, Alice became the first woman elected to the NRA’s Board of Directors. She went on to become the first female to earn the Army’s Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 1961.

The Alice Bull Trophy, awarded to the highest aggregate civilian competitor during the National Rifle Matches, was first presented in 1991 by the Washington State Rifle and Pistol Association to commemorate this legendary woman and competitive shooter. The trophy features a bronze figure of Alice on top, with two rifles below, one the actual M1 Garand with which Alice earned her Distinguished Rifleman Badge.

Jim first met Alice Bull when he was a young member of the Seattle Rifle & Pistol Club. He had been friends with her son, Lee, and Jim shot with Alice in an indoor smallbore league. She helped him develop his marksmanship skills, including perfecting the cross-ankle sitting position that he still uses. Now, the woman he knew is immortalized in a perpetual trophy.

“I think it’s wonderful. And, incredible that she was a woman,” he said. “I treated her like my mother. She was very kind — a brilliant, wonderful person.”

Sixty Years of Marksmanship Starting at Camp Perry
During his 60 years of marksmanship experience, Jim has traveled all around the country and has competed with many of the most recognized individuals in the world of shooting. And, it all began at Camp Perry. “When I come to Camp Perry, there are a lot of ghosts I know, walking around,” he said.

Jim’s first visited Camp Perry in 1955, when he was just 17 years old. Jim even skipped his first week of high school to attend the National Matches. Jim started out unclassified, but left an Expert Marksman. During his early career, he shot with the Washington State National Guard and the New York National Guard. In 1962, he moved to Baltimore and joined the Maryland State Team which went on to win the Hilton Trophy for the High National Guard Team in the National Trophy Team Match. Later, he earned his Distinguished Rifleman Badge in 1964.

Jim James Laughland Camp Perry Alice Bull Trophy

Head to Head with Carlos Hathcock
In August 1965, Laughland shot in one of his most memorable Camp Perry matches — going shoulder-to-shoulder with Carlos Hathcock, famed marksman and Marine Corps sniper in Vietnam. Hathcock won the Wimbledon Cup Match by a single point. “He’s the one who made me famous”, Jim said with a smile.

Jim also notably shot with two-time Olympic gold medalist and Director of Civilian Marksmanship Emeritus, Gary Anderson, in the 1960s while both were members of the All National Guard Team. Shown below are Anderson and Laughland at Camp Perry.

Jim James Laughland Camp Perry Alice Bull Trophy

Another memorable match for Jim came in 1977, when he joined the All National Guard National Rifle Team and traveled to Camp Perry with them as only an alternate – or so he thought. On that day, with blustery 30 to 40 mph winds, Jim remembers remarking to his friend, “I’m glad I don’t have to shoot in this wind today!” Soon after, the colonel came up to Jim and told him he’d be shooting. At that point in his career, it had been 10 years since he had shot with the All Guard team. “I looked at my friend, thinking, ‘Should I cheer or cry?’” he joked.

At the end of the match, he and his friend were the high shooters on the team and won the National Trophy Team Match for the National Guard for the first time in 65 years.

“When I think about it, I get teary. It was such an honor,” he said. “I think it was one of the highlights of my shooting. It was like going into the World Series, in the 7th game with bases loaded, 3 runs down with a 3-2 count and hitting a Grand Slam.”

High Master and Three Grand Senior Service Rifle Championships
In 1979, the NRA introduced the High Master Classification, and Laughland became the first on the All Guard team to earn the title. Most recently, Jim won the Grand Senior Service Rifle Championships in 2008, 2009 and 2014 at Camp Perry, saying the desire to win is what keeps him shooting.

“When I found out they had the ‘old folks’ award, I switched to Service Rifle,” he said. “And I figured I’d never win it again, because these younger guys are coming in — you know, who are only 70 or 75. But when I looked and saw my name on the bulletin in 2014, I started to cry.”

Laughland Leaves a Legacy
In 2015, Jim was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, which has left him with some ailments that make it difficult to compete at his top level. But, with the reputation that precedes him, he has many friends at the National Matches, both old and new, that are always eager to welcome him back. “I have a hard time coming to Camp Perry and walking around without someone stopping me and asking me to take a picture with them,” he said. “I get choked up.”

“I’d like to leave a legacy,” he said. “When I don’t make it to Camp Perry anymore, it’s the people I’ll miss the most. It’s been my life….”

Jim James Laughland Camp Perry Alice Bull Trophy


The Civilian Marksmanship Program is a federally chartered 501 (c) (3) non-profit corporation. It is dedicated to firearm safety and marksmanship training and to the promotion of marksmanship competition for citizens of the United States. For more information about the CMP and its programs, log onto www.TheCMP.org.

Permalink - Articles, Competition 4 Comments »
August 14th, 2016

Goin’ Mobile — Reloading Set-Up for Toy-Hauler RV

Smart Car Toy Hauler
Smart Car Toy Hauler

It’s summer time. That means many of our readers are on the road (attending major shooting matches or enjoying summer vacations). How do you do your reloading chores while living like a Gypsy for a few weeks? Here’s a solution from Forum member Dave Gray (U.S. Army Retired).

Dave is a self-declared “full-time RVer” who spends most of his time on the road. Behind his Ram 3500 pickup, Dave tows a huge 41-foot Heartland Cyclone toy hauler featuring a 12X8 foot garage in the rear. In the rear garage area, which holds a Smart Car, Dave has set up a removable reloading bench complete with RCBS Rockchucker single stage press and Dillon progressive press.

Smart Car Toy Hauler

Smart Car Toy HaulerReloading Bench Mounts to RV Wall with Brackets
Dave explains: “I used a 2″X6″X5′ board for the bench. It’s perfect for my needs, and is easy to disassemble. I made it this small so that I can park my Smart Car in the garage during travel to my destinations. The bench, attached to the wall frames, is very solid. The presses’ centers are 3″ and 6.5″ from the brackets. [There are] four bolts on the wall into aluminum wall frame and 3 bolts in the bench. If I ever have to replace the current board, I’ll do so with oak or birch or hickory. When I’m not reloading, I remove the presses and store them in a protected space. I can easily attach other equipment to the bench by using C-Clamps.” Dave’s “rolling reloading room” looks very well thought-out. We commend Dave for his inventiveness.

Smart Car Toy Hauler

Permalink New Product, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
August 13th, 2016

New Howa Tactical Rig — Howa Chassis Rifle (HCR)

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle PRS Tactical Aluminum stock HACT Trigger

Here’s an item for tactical and Precision Rifle Series (PRS) shooters. Howa is releasing a new rifle with a modular metal chassis. The new Howa HCR (Howa Chassis Rifle) combines a Howa 1500 barreled action with a modern, fully-adjustable aluminum chassis. The Howa’s MSRP is $1299.00, so the HCR is directly competitive with the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR). Available chamberings are: .223 Remington, .243 Winchester, 6.5 Creedmoor, and .308 Winchester.

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle PRS Tactical Aluminum stock HACT Trigger

Mounted on an AR-style buffer tube system, the Howa HCR utilizes the fully adjustable LUTH-AR MBA-3 stock. Length of Pull is adjustable form 12.5″ to 16.75″. Comb height is also adjustable to fine tune for scope height-over-bore. Weight with a 24″ barrel is 10.2 pounds (before optics), so this Howa HCR is lighter that some similar rifles on the market.

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle PRS Tactical Aluminum stock HACT Trigger

Howa HCR Features

• Howa 1500 Barreled Action with 20″ and 24″ Heavy Barrel options
• Black 6061-T6 Aluminum Chassis with Free-Float M-LOK Forend
• LUTH AR Buttstock with LOP Adjustment (12.5″ to 16.75″) and Adjustable Comb
• 10-RD ACCURATE Detachable, Teflon-coated Steel Magazine
• Two-Stage H.A.C.T. Trigger
• 3 Position Safety

Howa HCR Chassis Rifle PRS Tactical Aluminum stock HACT TriggerThe HOWA HCR features an adjustable, two-stage HACT trigger, set for about 3 pounds (combined stages). Crisp and repeatable, this is an excellent trigger for a factory gun. In our opinion, the HACT trigger is clearly superior to the trigger on the Ruger RPR, as well as the Savage AccuTrigger. And there is no annoying Glock-style safety lever in the middle of the trigger blade.

Available in .223 Rem, .243 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor and .308 Win chamberings.

NOTE: For all chamberings, 24″ barrels are offered, with 20″ options for the .223 Rem and .308 Win as well. Twist rates are 1:9″ for .223 Rem, 1:10″ for .243 Win, 1:8″ for 6.5 Creedmoor, and 1:10″ for .308 Win. We think .243 Win shooters will NOT be happy with the 1:10″ twist. We would prefer to see a 1:8″-twist for the .243 Win so it can shoot the 105-115 grain 6mm bullets. Most competitive 6mm shooters will want a true 8-twist or even a 1:7.5″.

Permalink New Product, Tactical 11 Comments »
August 13th, 2016

Ultimate Reloader Reviews the Lee Auto Bench Prime

Lee Auto Bench Prime Primer tool Ultimate Reloader

Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com recently reviewed Lee Precision’s new lever-operated, bench-mounted priming tool. The Lee Auto Bench Prime features a hopper-style primer feeder set at an angle. Gavin likes the tool, reporting that primers feed well and seat fully with very little effort. And switching from large to small primer size (or vice-versa) is quick and easy. Overall, Gavin says the Lee Auto Bench Prime has earned a place in his reloading room: “This is now my tool of choice for off-press priming. The Lee Auto Bench Prime is easier to use than a hand priming tool, and more efficient.”

Watch UltimateReloader.com’s Lee Auto Bench Prime Gear Review


READ Full Review on Ultimate Reloader.com

Gavin tells us that the system worked well: “All in all, I’m really liking the LEE Auto Bench Prime. In the video, I prime both small primer .223 Rem brass and large primer .308 Win cases. I was impressed with how easy it was to seat the primers, and how quickly the process goes.”

How the Lee Auto Bench Prime Performs
Gavin had three important “take-aways” from his initial loading sessions with the Lee Auto Bench Prime:

1. I was surprised by the low effort needed to prime cases — it’s pretty amazing.
2. You can quickly and easily install shellholders and change primer sizes.
3. The folding primer tray works very well. It’s a great setup from my testing so far.

Are there any negatives with the tool? Gavin noted that, in the course of loading 100+ rounds, once or twice he had to tap the triangular tray to get the primer to feed: “That’s not a big deal, and may smooth out with time”.

Lee Auto Bench Prime Primer tool Ultimate Reloader

Tool Costs Under $30.00
Available at Grafs.com for just $28.59, the Lee Auto Bench Prime tool is very affordable. It costs much less than competitive bench-mounted priming tools from Forster and RCBS.

NOTE: this tool requires dedicated Auto Prime shell holders (sold separately), but that’s a relatively small added expense. A set of Lee shell-holders (shown at right) costs less than $20.00 (street price).

Lee Shell-holders
Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Reloading 3 Comments »
August 13th, 2016

TECH TIP: Optimizing Muzzle Brake Accuracy and Effectiveness

muzzle brake test tuner Ray Bertalotto

Muzzle brakes are controversial. Some people swear by them, while others swear at them. Still, there’s no question that a good brake can reduce felt recoil up to 45%. And likewise, the best brakes, when installed properly, seem to have no negative effect on accuracy.

Roy Bertalotto has done considerable experimentation with muzzle brakes, testing dozens of brake designs on his own rifles over the past few years. Roy’s article, Adventures with Muzzle Brakes, discusses various aspects of muzzle brake design and performance. Roy doesn’t claim that his testing is definitive, but his article is definitely worth a read. Here are some of Roy’s interesting findings:

Exit Hole Diameter
“Best accuracy and effectiveness of the brake was obtained with a hole .020″ over bullet diameter. If the exit hole is too small, such as +.005″ over bullet diameter, accuracy suffers. If the depth of the exit hole is too shallow, the metal around the hole will erode very quickly.”

Hole Placement
“The most effective braking was with a brake 1″ in diameter with a 3/4″ exit hole on each side, just in front of the muzzle. The bullet passes through a cone of 35 degrees before it exits the brake. (Like the tank example), Incredible reduction of recoil. But loud and ugly. Very easy to make since you don’t need a spin fixture or a dividing head.”

Bottom Gas Venting Helps Accuracy
“In my tests, not having holes all around the brake effects accuracy a bit. I believe it does something to the bullet by the air pushed ahead of the bullet creating unequal turbulence in the bullet path. I’ve tried a few brakes where I drilled only holes on the top, test fired, and then completed holes on the bottom and in every case, accuracy improved.” Below are spiral-ported brakes crafted by Clay Spencer.

VAIS muzzle brake

Brakes Work Best with High-Pressure Cartridges
“The higher the pressure of the particular round, the more effective the brake. I have over 20 rifles with brakes. The 220 Swift is the king of reduction. Followed very closely by the 25-06, 6mm Remington, any Weatherby small bore. With a proper brake and a hot handload under a 40 gr bullet, the Swift will move 1/2″ to the rear and 0 muzzle rise! Big boomers with low pressure like 45-70s and shot guns benefit the least.” [Editor’s Note: Roy is judging effectiveness by the percentage of recoil reduction rather than absolute levels of recoil. Obviously if you start with a heavier-recoiling round, the absolute amount of recoil energy reduction is greater. Roy is really talking about efficiency–brakes are most efficient when used with high-pressure cartridges.]

Installation is Key to Accuracy
Roy’s findings are fascinating and suggest that further study of muzzle brakes is warranted. But we can all agree that precision installation of the brake is essential for accuracy. A poorly-installed, mis-aligned brake will degrade accuracy, that is well-known.

Harrell’s Precision has made thousands of muzzle brakes, in many styles and port arrangements. The Harrell brothers offer some good advice for gunsmiths installing brakes: “Muzzle brakes aren’t magic, they reduce recoil by redirecting exiting gas. What’s important is that they are straight and the threads are perpendicular with the base. The only way to get the base and threads perpendicular is to thread, not tap, them on a lathe.”

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing 2 Comments »
August 12th, 2016

American Riflemen Seek Olympic Medals in 50m Smallbore Prone

Rio Olympics 2016 50m prone rifle smallbore

Today is an important day for Team USA shooters at the Rio Olympics. American rifle marksmen SFC Michael McPhail and David Higgins will be competing in the smallbore 50m prone event. In addition, 25m Pistol shooters will compete, and the Women’s Skeet Finals will be held this afternoon.

UPDATE: CLICK HERE for Video Highlights of Mens 50M Prone Finals on NBCOlympics.com

Schedule for the Remaining 2016 Olympic Shooting Events:

Friday, August 12
8:00 am – 50m Rifle Prone Men
8:00 am – Skeet Women
9:30 am – Skeet Men Day 1
10:00 am – Finals 50m Rifle Prone Men
11:15 am – 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men Stage 1
2:00 pm – Finals Skeet Women

Saturday, August 13
8:00 am – 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men Stage 2
8:30 am – Skeet Men Day 2
11:30 am – Finals 25m Rapid Fire Pistol Men
2:00 pm – Finals Skeet Men

Sunday, August 14
8:00 am – 50m Rifle 3-Position Men
12:00 pm – Finals 50m Rifle 3-Position Men

SFC Michael McPhail

Hopes are high for McPhail, one of the favorites to win a shooting Gold Medal in Rio. McPhail, ranked number one in the world in men’s 50-meter rifle prone, won the ISSF World Cup Finals in Munich this September. McPhail also won back-to-back gold medals at the ISSF World Cup events at Fort Benning, GA and Munich, Germany, held in May and early June of 2015. This is McPhail’s second Olympic appearance, so he understands what’s at stake: “The Olympics are unlike any other match you’ll ever shoot, the magnitude of it….”

SFC Michael McPhail
SFC Michael McPhail, shown above, is currently ranked #1 in the world in the smallbore 50m prone rifle discipline. He’s one of the favorites to win Gold today in Rio.

Rio Olympics 2016 50m prone rifle smallbore

David Higgins

Air Force Academy graduate David Higgins has been a competitive shooter since his early teens. “I was 13 when I first began shooting Rifle competitively, and I immediately knew that I wanted to pursue Rifle as my primary sport,” said Higgins.

Rio Olympics 2016 50m prone rifle smallbore

Higgins recently graduated from the Air Force Academy and enjoys rock climbing, sailing and surfing in his free time. He now moves on to the next phase of his military career, having cross-commissioned into the Marine Corps upon graduation to become an infantry officer.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
August 12th, 2016

Design and Print Your Own Color Targets with Online Tool

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

Are you a do-it-yourself kind of guy with a creative eye? Then you’ll love the Target Generator from the folks at ShooterShed.com. This free, interactive webpage allows you to design a variety of fun targets, including grids, benchrest-type Score Shooting targets, sight-in targets, and even playing card targets. Choose the paper size and orientation (vertical or horizontal), then select the number of target elements on the page. For example, you could have four (4) bulls or 52 playing cards. You can include a grid on the target, or tell the program to include load information blocks. For bullseye targets, you can control the number, color, and spacing (diameter) of the rings. LINK to TARGET GENERATOR.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

The program provides a preview of each target you generate. If you like a particular design, save the file, and then print as many targets as you want. Check it out, this program is fun and handy to use. Here are four (4) targets your Editor created just for this article. With a bit of practice, you can be generating your own custom targets in minutes. Have fun.

Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest
Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest Target PDF Generator Free Bullesye Benchrest

About the Creator of the Target Generator
The excellent Target Generator program was created by Rod Brown of Sheridan, Wyoming. Rod tells us: “I build custom rifles and coach shooters. I’ve got a 100-yard range out my back door. I shoot short- and long-range benchrest competitively around the country. I’m a full-time software development consultant and an FFL holder. When I’m not developing custom software for my clients, I’m usually fiddling in the shop, building a custom benchrest rifle, traveling to a match, chambering a barrel, or reloading some ammunition.

Story tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink New Product, Tech Tip No Comments »