Here’s a comprehensive “reveal” of the latest and greatest rifle optics for 2017, thanks to our friends Ed and Steve, aka the 6.5 Guys. These two hard-working dudes visited dozens of product booths during SHOT Show, producing over 40 video interviews for 6.5guys.com. Below we’ve included the 6.5 Guys’ videos for Nightforce, Vortex, and Schmidt & Bender. Plus you’ll find links to other videos for Burris, Bushnell, Steiner, and U.S. Optics. Enjoy these videos, and for more great coverage of SHOT Show, visit the 6.5 Guys’ YouTube Channel.
NIGHTFORCE Optics — New for 2017
The big news at Nightforce’s SHOT Show booth was a new First Focal Plane (FFP) ATACR with a five times zoom range. The new 7-35x56mm ATACR offers tactical and long range shooters the ability to go from a wide field of view at seven power, all the way up to very high 35X magnification. That makes this one scope that can truly “do it all” — from short-range moving targets to 1000 yards and beyond.
VORTEX Optics — New for 2017
Vortex is releasing a new “Gen II” series of Viper PST riflescopes. The versatile Viper PST series can work for many disciplines — Target Shooting, 3-Gun, Hunting, or Precision Long Range. The new second generation PSTs offer many improvements.
NEW 2-10×32, 3-15×44, and 5-25×50: Vortex offers a wide magnification range with these three new PSTs. Each offers tall tactical turrets and side-focus parallax adjustment with integrated illumination. To ensure reliable return-to-zero, all new models feature the patented RZR Zero Stop from the Razor HD 5-20×50 riflescope. Reticles include Vortex’s new EBR-4 and EBR-2C with MOA or MRAD stadia to match your turrets. First Focal Plane reticles are available on select models.
SCHMIDT & BENDER — New for 2017
Schmidt & Bender had many premium riflescopes on display, none more impressive than the recently-introduced 5-45x56mm PM II “super-zoom” optic. This impressive (and razor-sharp) scope offers a remarkable 9X zoom ratio. That makes it suitable for a wide variety of shooting disciplines. A tactical competitor can dial back to 5-power for a wide field of view on close-in targets. Or, for 1000-yard shooting, crank the scope all the way up to 45-power. S&B says the scope is intended for “tactical ultra-long-range shooting”.
Also on display was the 5-25x56mm PM II Digital BT — this Bluetooth-enabled scope can project data from external devices, such as laser rangefinders, into the field of view. S&B is leading the way in the integration of optics and digital devices.
And There’s More — Burris, Bushnell, Steiner, and U.S. Optics
The 6.5 Guys also visited other optics makers including Burris, Bushnell, Steiner, and U.S. Optics. There were interesting offerings from all these scope manufacturers. Click the links below to watch four more 6.5 Guys videos covering new developments in the sport optics arena. The videos focus on products for tactical/practical and long-range shooting.
Most of us have access to a printer at home or at work. That means you can print your own targets. You’ll find hundreds of free target designs online, including dozens of downloadable targets on our AccurateShooter.com Target Page. If you’re feeling creative, you can design your own target with a computer drawing program such as MS Paint.
Paper Stock Is Important
If you want your self-printed targets to show shots cleanly (and not rip when it gets windy), you should use quality paper stock. We recommend card stock — the kind of thick paper used for business cards. Card stock is available in both 65-lb and 110-lb weights in a variety of colors. We generally print black on white. But you might experiment with bright orange or yellow sheets. Forum Member ShootDots report: “They sell cardstock at Fed-Ex Kinko! I use either Orange or Yellow. That makes it easy to see the bullet holes clearly.” On some printers, with the heavier 110-lb card stock, you will need to have the paper exit through the rear for a straighter run.
Here are some Target-Printing Tips from our Forum members:
“Staples sells a 67-lb heavy stock that I have settled on. I use the light grey or light blue, either of these are easy on the eyes on bright days. I have used the 110-lb card stock as well and it works fine. It’s just a little easier to print the lighter stuff.” (JBarnwell)
“Cardstock, as mentioned, works great for showing bullet holes as it doesn’t tear or rip like the thin, lightweight 20-lb paper. I’ve never had a problem with cardstock feeding in the printer, just don’t stick too many sheets in there. If I need three targets, I load only three card stock sheets”. (MEMilanuk)
“I’ve used Staples Sticker paper. This works well and no staples are required (joke intended). It helps if you put slight tension on the lighter weight paper when mounting it on the target frame.” (Mac 86951).
Here are some tips for using lighter weight paper (if you want to save money or your printer won’t work with heavier stock):
“20-lb bond works pretty well for me if I use a spray adhesive and stick the entire back of the paper’s surface to the backer board.” (Lapua40X)
“I use the regular 20-lb paper but the only time it tears is when there is no backer to support it. This can be an issue when going to a public range and the backer are all shot out. I use a large construction paper backer that I clip onto the stands.” (CPorter)
Here Are Three of Our Favorite Targets. Click to Download PDFs.
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In the recent past, it was hard to find .22 LR rimfire ammo for plinking and fun shooting at affordable prices. Now that’s changing. Supply is catching up with demand so prices are starting to return to pre-hoarding levels. Here’s a great deal if you need good basic fodder for fun plinking and plate shooting. We’ve tried this copper-nosed .22LR rimfire ammo in pistols, boat-action rifles, and semi-auto rifles and it functioned fine. Hard to beat this price — $19.99 for 325 rounds with no limit on the amount you can purchase. Buy some and have a plinkin’ party for the who family next time you head to the range.
This Federal Value Pack contains 325 rounds of reliable .22 LR rimfire ammo loaded with 36-grain hollow-point bullets, suitable for target shooting and plinking. Item: IK-217964
Save more at Cabelas.com with Coupon “17WINTER” for 10% OFF + Free S/H over $49 on Select Winter Clothing, Hunting Clothing, Footwear and Accessories or Coupon “27FLAT” for $5 S/H over $99.00.
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Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine.
This video starts off slow and has annoying background music, but it is well worth watching if you own or shoot any AR-platform rifle. It illustrates all the key operations during the charging, loading, firing, and ejection processes. The cutaway animation shows how rounds are stripped from the magazine and then chambered. It then shows how every part of the trigger group works, and how the firing pin strikes the primer. You can even watch the bullet move down the barrel before the empty shell casing is removed from the chamber and tossed out the ejection port. Here are sample frames from the video:
Video find by Grant Ubl. We welcome reader submissions.
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This Wednesday (February 1, 2017), Shooting USA TV features the GAP Grind Pro-Am held at the K&M Shooting Complex in Finger, TN. Conducted in association with the Precision Rifle Series (PRS), the GAP Grind features a Pro/Am format with professional and amateur competitors vying for individual glory and team honors.
Here is Shooting USA Host John Scoutten (in Blue/White shirt)
Lots of Action, with 20+ Stages
The GAP Grind is a notoriously challenging, “high tempo” match with minimal down-time between stages. Over the course of 20+ stages, competitors will fire 200+ shots at a variety of steel, paper, moving, and reactive targets out to 1,200 yards. Targets vary in size/difficulty based on the shooter’s position, distance, and time allotted. Most stages include “stressors” — i.e. time limits or required movement(s).
Ramia Whitecotton Facebook photo.
Josh Temnnen Facebook photo.
GAP Grind Hardware Shelley Giddings, a skilled shooter of both firearms and cameras, snapped these images of state-of-the-art tactical rifles at the 2014 GAP Grind. See more firearms images on Shelley’s Facebook Page.
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At the request of our readers, we provide select “Deals of the Week”. Every Monday morning we offer our Best 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. Midsouth — Earmuffs (26 NRR) and Safety Eyewear, $14.20
We can all use an extra set of muffs and safety glasses. Here’s an inexpensive combo that’s ideal as a spare set stashed in your vehicle or range kit. The muffs are surprisingly comfortable and carry a 26 dB Noise Reduction Rating. The adjustable, clear Radians safety glasses are comfortable and ANSI Z87.1-rated. We actually use Radians safety glasses and they work just fine. This muffs/eyewear combo is nice to have on hand when you invite friends or family members to the range.
2. Grafs.com — Hornady Tumbler and Ultrasonic Combo, $99.99
Save big bucks on this combination of Hornady Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine AND Hornady Vibratory Tumbler (media sold separately). We generally tumble pistol brass, while using an ultrasonic machine for dirty rifle brass. The L-N-L Sonic machine can clean metal tools/components as well as brass. With this special Graf’s promotion, you can get both units for just $99.99. In addition, you can get FREE Shipping. Right now Grafs.com is offering FREE Shipping on all orders over $75.00 (some exclusions apply). NOTE: With our best match brass we generally just wipe the outside of the cases and lightly brush the necks (leaving a little carbon inside the necks helps bullet seating).
3. CDNN Sports — Walther CCP 9mm, $379.99
We like the compact Walther pistols. This 9mm CCP has a better trigger than the S&W M&P compact, and a more ergonomic grip than the Glock 19. Walther’s CCP features a special gas-delayed blowback system that reduces felt recoil. The 1.4-lb CCP is thin (1.18″), making this an excellent choice for concealed carry. This model features a thumb safety and 5.5-lb trigger pull. The CCP ships from CDNN for $379.99 with two (2) 8-rd magazines. That’s a good deal for a quality carry gun.
The RCBS Rock Chucker remains a classic — a big, strong, versatile press that can handle most reloading chores with ease. And now you can get a genuine Rock Chucker Supreme for $126.99 — a very good deal. The Rock Chucker offers plenty of leverage for case-sizing and the “O” is tall enough for long cartridges. The Rock Chucker has a very strong base and should last a lifetime. We’re not fans of the Rock Chucker’s priming system but most serious reloaders use a separate priming tool.
5. Grafs.com — Hornady Reloading Kit with Sonic Cleaner, $299.99
This Hornady Reloading Kit is a great deal at $299.99 (30% off Graf’s regular price). This kit comes with everything you need: Lock-N-Load single stage press, L-N-L Powder Measure, Digital Scale, Powder Trickler, Funnel, 9th Ed. Handbook of Cartridge Reloading, 3 L-N-L die bushings, handheld priming tool, universal reloading block, chamfering and deburring tool, primer turning plate and One Shot Case Lube. Plus this Kit includes a bonus FREE Lock-N-Load Sonic Case Cleaner, which costs $59.99 by itself on sale at Graf’s. NOTE: This reloading Kit also qualifies for Hornady’s Get Loaded Free Bullets promotion.
6. Amazon — Bushnell 3-9x40mm Bushnell for $115.46
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. Note: This super low $115.46 price may not come up using Amazon’s internal search. You need to click the Amazon Private Sale Link which give you a list of all pricing options.
7. MidwayUSA — Pro Series Shooting Mat, $29.99
Here’s a heck of a deal on a very good shooting mat. MidwayUSA has slashed the price on its Pro Series Shooting Mat (in Olive Drab). You can get this 73.5″ x 35.5″ padded mat for just $29.99. This Mat has some very nice features, such as a Bipod Pre-load Web, 0.35″ thick padding, and multiple pockets. It’s easy to transport, rolling up to about nine inches in diameter and fitted with a nice carry strap. Midway normally sells this Pro Series Mat for about $60.00, so the $29.99 price is a total steal. If you need a good basic shooting mat check out this deal.
8. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $16.45
Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With nearly 2600 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $16.45, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.
9. Walmart — 16-Gun Security Safe, $353.77
Could you use a secondary safe for reloading room, workshop, or bedroom? This Stack-on 16-Gun Safe fills the bill. Rated for 16 long guns, this smaller safe can realistically hold 8 or so scoped rifles. But it can also hold your handguns, rangefinders, cameras, jewelry and other valuables. Let’s face it, your primary gun safe is probably full so you could use a second safe to hold smaller items. Walmart’s current “Roll-Back” price is just $353.77. And right now the home delivery charge is a mere $9.99.
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“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.” Source: NRA Blog.
The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”
Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.
Sound Levels for Common Noises:
9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB
Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB
.22 LR pistol: 134 dB
Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB
Noisy Nightclub: 110 db
Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db
Power Lawnmower: 95 dB
Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)
Ringing Telephone: 80 dB
Normal conversation: 60 dB
The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?
In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.
Highest Protection NRR 34dB-Rated Ear Muffs
For under $20.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $17.00, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $16.74. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. Another dual-shell design with a 34dB NRR rating is the new FNova Muffs priced at just $14.99.
Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.50 for 50 Pairs.
These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.
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Our friend Monte Milanuk needed to get in a little practice for the upcoming Berger Southwest Nationals. Monte didn’t let a little white stuff get in the way of his training session at the NCW Gun Club range in East Wenatchee, WA. Monte says: “For all you southerners and snowbirds… this is how the rest of us get ready for the Berger SWN!” Oh man that does look cold…
Monte’s F-TR competition rig features a fully-adjustable McMillan XIT stock resting on a SEB JoyPod up front with an Edgewood bag in the rear. On top is a Nightforce Competition scope. Monte shoots Berger bullets, measuring their velocity with a LabRadar chronograph. The LabRadar sits on a Manfrotto tripod, which can adjust super-low, as you can see. With this set-up, Monte tells us “life is good” — even on a chilly morning in Wenatchee.
We wish Monte (and all competitors) good luck at the Berger SW Nationals. The popular event runs February 6-12, 2017 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ. See you on the firing line!
The Great American Outdoor Show (GAOS) is the world’s largest consumer showcase of firearms, hunting products, fishing equipment, and outdoor gear. Starting February 2, 2017, the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania hosts the big Outdoor Show for nine (9) full days. This is a huge event, with 650,000 square feet of guns, gear andmore. If you’re into shooting, hunting, or fishing and live in the Northeast, you should try to attend. Adult Tickets start at $14.00 and you can get FREE Admission with purchase of an NRA Membership
1,000+ Exhibitor Booths
New Firearms from Leading Gun-Makers
500+ Outfitters and Charterers
200+ Outdoor Seminars
Attendees can visit over 1,000 exhibitor booths featuring firearms, hunting gear, camping equipment, fishing tackle, archery products, and even boats and RVs. The booths cover 650,000 square feet of exhibit hall space! In addition, the giant Outfitter Hall at the Great American Outdoor Show, one of the largest in the country, hosts nearly 500 outfitters, boat captains, and charterers.
Over 200 Seminars Hosted by Outdoor Experts and Noted Guides
The 2017 Great American Outdoor Show will feature more than 200 seminars from leading outdoors experts, covering hunting, birds of prey, self-defense tactics and strategies, fishing demos from angling experts, and much more. This year’s notable presentations will include:
Gunnery Sergeant R. Lee Ermey: From Vietnam to Hollywood
Jim Shockey – Big Game Hunting Worldwide
Cole McCulloch – Long Range Hunting & Shooting Principles
Alan Probst – Coyote Trapping Techniques
Rick Fetrow – Venison Processing
Ashley Van Houten – Proper Fletching Techniques
For the full Outdoor Show Seminar schedule and list of exhibitors, visit GreatAmericanOutdoorShow.org. The Show’s website also list celebrity appearances and special events, which will include the NRA Country Concert with Dustin Lynch and Granger Smith, fundraising dinners, archery competitions, product demos, and much more!
SHOW HOURS AND DATES
Saturday, Feb 4: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 5: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Monday-Friday, Feb 6-10: 10:00am – 7:00pm
Saturday, Feb 11: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Sunday, Feb 12: 10:00am – 5:00pm
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The latest 10th Edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading is now available as a digital eBook. Choose from two digital formats: iBook (Apple iOS), or Kindle (Amazon). Here are the links to download the Reloading Handbook. Price is $19.99 for either choice — a 33% savings over the $30 Print Version. This 1000-page resource includes many new powder and bullet types. In fact Hornady’s testers shot over 1300 load combos to provide updated load data for this 10th Edition.
HOW to PREVIEW eBook Reloading Manual
If you click on the Amazon Link above and then select “Look Inside”, you can preview actual pages from the Hornady Reloading Handbook (10th Edition). You can view 101 pages. This includes the full list of cartridges, plus featured articles explaining hand-loading methods, cartridge design, ballistics and more.
We prefer our load manuals in print form, ideally in a binder format that can lie flat on the bench. However, the eBook has some real advantages:
1. You can take the load manual everywhere, stowed in your cell phone.
2. You can zoom the display screen to enlarge the type (good for old eyes).
3. You can easily search for cartridges, and then “drill down” by powder or bullet weight.
4. You can take screen shots and save your favorite load recipes as image files.
5. Information can be more readily updated with eBooks.
Hornady Reloading Handbook Description
The 10th Edition Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading features over 1,000 pages of reloading data, techniques, and bullet information. From 17 caliber varmint cartridges to large dangerous game loads, the handbook covers over 220 different cartridge types featuring a variety of loads for the full line of Hornady® bullets.
The 10th Edition also features new and expanded data. New powders include: Power Pro 2000 MR, IMR 4451 and 7977, CFE Pistol, BE-86, Reloder 23, 26, 33 and 50, Accurate LT-30 and 32, and some offerings from Shooters World. Popular established powders like Reloder 17, Superformance,® and LeverEvolution® have also been expanded to more cartridges.
The latest Hornady® bullets, such as the ELD-X® and ELD® Match line, have been incorporated into the data. Plus, we’ve added more GMX®, SST® and FTX® offerings. New cartridges include the 280 Ackley Improved, 7×64 Brenneke and the 338 Federal. Well over 1,300 load combinations were shot to update and expand the reloading pages in this edition.
Like previous editions, the handbook offers explanations of internal, external and terminal ballistics. We have also highlighted the Hornady® Standard Ballistic Calculator (ballistic coefficient based) and the patent pending 4DOF™ Ballistic Calculator (drag coefficient based).
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Most competitive shooters are pretty good about bore cleaning (some may even clean their bores too aggressively). However, we’ve found that many shooters neglect the chamber area and the bolt lug recesses. It’s too easy to clean the bore, slip out the guide rod and say “I’m done.” Sinclair Int’l explains why it’s important to clean the action interior: “Shooters use a lot of grease and oil on their bolts to reduce friction and to prevent wear[.] Unfortunately, both of these compounds attract grit, powder and primer residues. Cleaning your receiver is especially critical [with] custom actions where the fit between the action and bolt is held to very tight tolerances. Routine cleaning of the action will prevent unnecessary wear on the bolt body, locking lugs, and the action raceways/guide rails. Frequent action cleaning is also essential to keeping the trigger area free of debris which can cause trigger hang-ups and failures.” Below, we present action cleaning advice from Sinclair’s Reloading Press Newsletter.
Cleaning the Chamber
Combustion by-products, lubricants, and solvent residues can collect in your chamber. Severe build-up of grease and carbon can interfere with chambering. Also some solvents will promote corrosion. You need to keep your chambers clean.
1) Install a clean cotton mop of the correct size on the end of a chamber rod and insert the mop into the chamber. Rotate the mop several times to remove any brush bristles left behind and any excess solvent that was between the rod guide snout and the end of the chamber. Make sure the chamber is dry. Prior to storing a rifle you can oil the chamber but make sure the oil is removed prior to firing the rifle.
2) Alternatively, install an old bore brush on a chamber rod, overlap a couple of patches on the brush bristles, and wrap them around the brush completely. Then insert the patch-covered brush into the chamber while rotating it to remove the excess solvent and debris. Push it firmly into the neck area of the chamber. A similar method is to pierce a large patch on the end of the brush loop and insert it into the action, again rotating the brush as you push the patch up against the breech.
Cleaning the Lug Recess Area
The action lug recess area is one of the dirtiest places on a bolt-action rifle. To properly clean this area, always use a tool designed for the task, such as the $21.50 Sinclair Action Cleaning Tool (part # ACT1) which is part of the Sinclair Action Cleaning Tool Kit (now on sale for $29.99, part #ACT2).
1) Insert a cotton roll or cleaning felt into your lug recess cleaning tool and wet both ends and the face of the cotton roll/felt with solvent.
2) Insert the tool into the action and push it forward until it is positioned fully in the lug recess area and rotate the tool head several times. Then reverse the rotation for another few turns. While rotating the tool move it slightly in and out to cover the entire recess area and to also clean the breech face.
3) Remove the tool from the action and inspect the surface of the felt or cotton roll. If there is quite a bit of residue on both sides of the felt/roll, then repeat with another wet felt/roll.
4) When you feel the recess area is completely clean, insert a dry cotton roll into the tool and rotate the tool head to remove any remaining solvent and debris. If necessary, use a second dry cotton roll.
5) You can follow this step up with another pass of a mop or patches into the chamber to get any debris or solvent that pushed forward out of the lug recess area.
In cooperation with Shooting USA, the popular TV show, the NRA is now offering discounted memberships, including a $600 Life Membership. Now through the end of March, the NRA is offering Life Memberships for $600, a $900.00 savings over the “list price”.
Big Savings on 1-Year, 3-Year, or 5-Year Memberships
If you are not ready to become an NRA Life Member, you can also get a significant discount on 1-Year, 3-Year, or 5-Year NRA memberships. You can save $10 on a one-year membership, save $15 on a three-year membership, or save $40.00 on a five-year membership. NOTE: This offer runs through 3/31/2017. CLICK HERE for 1-Year, 3-Year, and 5-Year Membership Sale.
With any NRA membership, you get a subscription to your choice of four magazines: American Rifleman, American Hunter, Shooting Illustrated, or 1st Freedom:
The regular NRA annual membership includes $2,500 worth of firearms insurance coverage and $5,000 worth of life/accident coverage. NOTE, however — in order to get the insurance benefits, you MUST activate your NRA Policy. NRA insurance won’t pay unless the policy is activated!
Today, AR-platform rifles are hugely popular. Dozens of manufacturers sell AR-type rifles, in a wide variety of configurations and calibers. But before there were M16s and AR-15s, ArmaLite produced a 7.62×51 caliber rifle, the AR-10. Yes before there were millions of 5.56 black rifles, there was a .30-caliber big brother with reddish-brown furniture. Invented by Eugene (‘Gene’) Stoner for the Armalite company in the late 1950s, this is the father of all of today’s AR-platform rifles. Way ahead of its time, this remarkable, select-fire battle rifle weighed just 7.25 pounds as first developed.
If you’re curious about the AR-10, in this video, Jerry Miculek puts an original 1957-vintage AR-10 through its paces on the range. This extremely rare, early-production rifle was provided by Mr. Reed Knight and the Institute of Military Technology. (The gun in the video was actually produced in the Netherlands under license, see video at 4:40.) This AR-10 is the direct ancestor of the AR-15, M16, and many of the modern sporting rifles that we use today.
The AR-10 was slim and light, weighing in at around 7 pounds. Some folks might argue that the original “old-school” AR10 is actually better that some of today’s heavy, gadget-laden ARs. The AR-10’s charging “lever” was under the carry handle — that made it easier to manipulate with the gun raised in a firing position.
You’ll notice there is no “forward assist”. Inventor Gene Stoner did not believe a separate “bolt-pusher” was necessary. The forward assist was added to solve problems encountered in Viet Nam. Some critics say the forward assist “only takes a small problem and makes it a big problem.” For today’s competition ARs (that are never dragged through the mud) the forward assist probably is superfluous. It is rarely if ever needed.
Note also that the handguards are fairly slim and tapered. Today, six decades after the first AR-10 prototypes, we are now seeing these kind of slim handguards (made from aluminum or lightweight composites) used on “full race” ARs campaigned in 3-gun competition.
History of the AR-10
The AR-10 is a 7.62 mm battle rifle developed by Eugene Stoner in the late 1950s at ArmaLite, then a division of the Fairchild Aircraft Corporation. When first introduced in 1956, the AR-10 used an innovative straight-line barrel/stock design with phenolic composite and forged alloy parts resulting in a small arm significantly easier to control in automatic fire and over one pound lighter than other infantry rifles of the day. Over its production life, the original AR-10 was built in relatively small numbers, with fewer than 9,900 rifles assembled.
In 1957, the basic AR-10 design was substantially modified by ArmaLite to accommodate the .223 Remington cartridge, and given the designation AR-15. ArmaLite licensed the AR-10 and AR-15 designs to Colt Firearms. The AR-15 eventually became the M16 rifle.
AR-10 photos from Arms Izarra, a Spanish company specializing in de-militarized, collectible firearms. Interestingly, this particular AR-10 was produced in the Netherlands under license.
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A striker-fired 9mm 1911, with a lower bore axis. That’s how we’d describe the brand-new Hudson H9 pistol, which debuted at SHOT Show 2017. The feel in the hand will be familiar to model 1911 owners — this single-stack pistol shares the ergonomics of the classic J.M. Browning 1911. It also has a trigger feel similar to a 1911 (but there is more take-up than on a 1911).
The big news is up front — that bulky section in the front of the frame below the muzzle allows the guide rod and recoil spring to be carried very low. That permits the slide to be placed lower relative to the web of the hand. This, combined with the striker firing mechanism, all translates to a lower bore axis and lower Center of Gravity. In practice this does reduce muzzle flip and perceived recoil.
We shot the Hudson H9 at Media Day at the Range, and it did seem to be have less muzzle flip than a typical 9x19mm pistol of similar weight. However, we would stop short of calling this revolutionary. To be honest, we think some other gun journalists have gone a bit overboard. The Hudson H9 is an innovative pistol to be sure, but honestly it wasn’t shockingly good. This Editor has shot probably 40 different 9mm pistols, including custom 9x19mm 1911s. The Hudson H9 is good, but, to be honest, my H&K P7m8 is better (in terms of muzzle flip). And HK’s P7 series pistols were designed 40 years ago!
From Russia with Low Bore Axis
If you want to get excited about a low bore axis, check out this Kalashnikov PL-14, introduced in 2015. Note the very low-profile slide, with a grip design that allows the web of the hand to be carried very high. We think this is actually a more advanced design than the Hudson H9. Still, for 1911 fans yearning for a striker-fired option, the Hudson will feel familiar, and it does seem to be well-made and sturdy.
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At SHOT Show 2017, we had the chance to chat extensively with Eric Mayer, head honcho of Varminter.com. An avid shooter and hunter, Eric loves small, efficient cartridges. Eric told us his current favorite rimfire cartridge is the 17 WSM. “Winchester has continued to improve this cartridge since its introduction. We are seeing very good accuracy now, and performance is impressive in the varmint fields”. Eric notes that the 3000 fps 17 WSM 20-grain ammo (photo above) delivers way more punch downrange than a typical 17 HMR load. In this article, you’ll find the highlights of Varminter.com’s review of the 17 WSM round in the Ruger 77/17 cartridge.
The 17 Winchester Super Magnum Rimfire (aka Win Super Mag or WSM) is the fastest, most potent modern rimfire round you can buy. This cartridge, which uses a modified nail gun casing, drives 20gr bullets at 3000 fps. The 17 WSM offers superior ballistics to all .22 rimfires, and is a clear step ahead of the 17 HMR. That makes this round a potential “game-changer” in the varmint fields. To gauge the capabilities of the 17 WSM, Varminter.com tested the cartridge in the new Ruger 77/17 bolt-action rifle. Click HERE for Varminter.com Ruger 77/17, 17 WSM Review.
17 WSM shoots faster than the 17 HMR, so the 20gr bullets don’t drift as much in the wind:
Varminter.com reports: “The much-anticipated Ruger 77/17 chambered in the 17 Winchester Super Magnum (17WSM) has been released. Our Review Editor, William Chambers, put it through a full range test with all four currently-available ammunition loads. Afterwards, he took it on a short groundhog hunt[.] We put a lot of rounds through the guns we test, at targets, through chronographs and out in the field. This report includes all currently available 17 WSM ammunition and a sneak peek of the really nice Nikon Prostaff 5 riflescope.” READ REVIEW.
As part of its review, Varminter.com tested four different types of 17 WSM ammo for accuracy: American Eagle (20gr V-Max); Hornady (20gr V-Max), Winchester HV (20gr V-Max); Winchester HE (25gr V-Max). In the little Ruger, which suffered from a very heavy trigger, the most accurate ammo, by far, was the American Eagle, with an average 5-shot group size of 1.135 MOA at 100 yards. The Winchester HV was the worst, with a 2.304 MOA average for three, 5-shot groups. CLICK HERE for full accuracy test results.
After accuracy testing, Varminter.com Review Editor Chambers took the Ruger 77/17 on a Groundhog hunt in Northern Ohio. Chambers was successful, bagging this ‘hog’ at 127 yards. The American Eagle 17 WSM ammo did quick work — the groundhog dropped without a twitch (watch video).
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By Gary Anderson, DCM Emeritus
The 2017 CMP competition rules are now approved and posted on the CMP website. The 2017 CMP Highpower Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules and the 2017 CMP Games Rifle and Pistol Competition Rules can be downloaded on the CMP Competition Rules Page.
2017 marks the third consecutive year with major CMP competition rule changes. The 2015 Rules opened Service Pistol shooting to a wider variety of pistols and introduced the popular 22 Rimfire Pistol Distinguished Badge. The 2016 rules authorized limited power optical sights for service and modern military rifles and opened Service Rifle shooting to a wider variety of M16/AR-type rifles.
AR Alternative Rifles Allowed in Highpower Service Rifle Competitions
The 2017 rules authorize residents in states where AR ownership is prohibited to use an Alternative Rifle that is legal in that state. The introduction of an Alternative Rifle rule exemplifies the CMP’s determination to take whatever steps are legally possible to ensure that all competitors in the USA can continue to compete in CMP Highpower Service Rifle competitions.
The new Highpower Alternative Rifle will allow competitors in states where the ownership or possession of M16/AR-type rifles is prohibited to use a rifle that has the same capabilities as an M16/AR-type rifle. Alternative Rifles may be either semi-auto or manually operated and must be chambered for the 5.56 x 45mm NATO cartridge (.223). Optical sights with a manufactured maximum of 4.5X are permitted. These rifles must have a 4.5-pound trigger pull, a maximum barrel length of 20 inches and a fixed sling swivel on their fore-ends. Alternative Rifles may have stocks with the same adjustment capabilities as Service Rifles, that is butt-stock length may be adjustable, but the cheek-piece and butt-plate must be fixed. Stock design and magazine configuration is flexible according to what is permitted in the competitor’s state.
Match Rifles Will Be Allowed in Highpower Matches
The 2017 CMP Rules will also open the door for Match Rifle competitors to shoot in CMP-sanctioned highpower events. Due to the advantages these rifles have (more cartridge options, no trigger limitation, infinite stock adjustments and unlimited optical sight power), competitors with Match Rifles will usually compete in a separate or Open Individual Category, but they will now be welcomed in CMP Highpower Matches. Traditional EIC and National Trophy Match events will still be restricted to Service and Alternative Rifles, but match sponsors can now invite Match Rifle competitors to shoot in CMP-sanctioned events. Except for EIC and National Trophy Matches, which will continue to be no-sighter matches, the 2017 Rules will permit sighters in other matches.
Most Match Rifle competitors have already competed in CMP Matches with Service Rifles and are familiar with CMP requirements that shooters must start rapid-fire series from standing. The CMP regards this requirement to quickly go from standing to sitting or prone and place the natural point of aim on the target as a vital skill that highpower rifle shooters should be able to perform. However, some Match Rifle competitors who have never competed in CMP Matches will find this to be a new … challenge.
New Competition Classification System
The CMP will develop and introduce a new competitor classification system in 2017. The system will be similar to traditional classification systems where competitors are divided into five classes according to current match score averages. CMP classifications will initially be available for use by Highpower and Service Rifle match sponsors. The CMP system will provide for instant, electronic updates of match score data. Match sponsors will be able to confirm competitor classifications through online look-ups.
For those competitors who are over 70 or who have physical impairments, the CMP has lots of experience in making it possible for those competitors to start rapid-fire series in position. Everyone who is able is expected to start rapid-fire from standing, but those who cannot are allowed to start in position. These competitors can win special and class awards as well as CMP Achievement Awards; they just cannot win the match.
Use of Electronic Devices (Airplane Mode OK)
The new rules clarify that the use of “electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets or other hand-held communication devices only to keep time, record shots, or compute sight adjustments” is permitted. However, those devices must not be capable of communicating with other electronic devices (must be placed in airplane mode).
Below are summaries of other rule changes in the 2017 CMP Competition Rules.
On January 19, 2017, the last day of the Obama Administration, Daniel Ashe, Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), issued a surprise Director’s Order calling for a ban on traditional ammunition and tackle in National Wildlife Refuges. FWS Director’s Order No. 219, issued on January 19th, directs the Fish and Wildlife Service to phase in a ban on the use of traditional lead ammunition and fishing tackle for all activities on National Wildlife Refuge lands and waters. According to the NRA, this last-minute “unilateral action was taken without scientific evidence to support it and without consulting state fish and wildlife agencies.”
In response to this eleventh-hour “back-stabbing” by the FWS, the National Rifle Association (NRA) yesterday called on the U.S. Senate to swiftly confirm Congressman Ryan Zinke (R. Montana) as Secretary of the Interior. The FWS operates under the Department of the Interior. Presumably, FWS Director’s Order no. 219 would not have been issued if Zinke was in charge of the Interior Department. Hopefully Zinke can reverse the damage done, once he is confirmed as Secretary.
“It is more important than ever that we have a Secretary of the Interior who respects the Second Amendment and will stand up for our rights,” said Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action. “On behalf of the NRA’s five million members, I urge the Senate to swiftly confirm President Trump’s nominee for Secretary of the Interior, Congressman Ryan Zinke. The NRA looks forward to working with the Trump administration to reverse this government overreach.”
Operative Provisions of FWS Director’s Order No. 219:
Sec. 5 What steps will the Service take to phase in the use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle?
a. The Service will continue to support targeted research to understand the human, fish, and wildlife health benefits of using nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.
b. The Service will continue to work with states and other partners on education efforts regarding the benefits and effectiveness of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle.
c. To ensure the public experiences a consistent approach to nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle requirements, over the next 24 months, each Regional Director, in coordination with relevant Assistant Directors, should work with individual states, regional state fish and wildlife associations, and tribes to identify opportunities to expand existing state, Federal, or tribal requirements for use of nontoxic ammunition and fishing tackle on Service lands, waters and facilities.
i. Where states have enacted nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle requirements for certain forms of hunting and fishing on state lands such requirements should be expanded to national wildlife refuges in those states through amendments to state or Service regulations, as appropriate.
ii. Where states have enacted nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle requirements for certain forms of hunting and fishing that apply to state, private, and Federal lands throughout their states, Regions should ensure these requirements are enacted and enforced on Service lands, waters, and facilities in those states.
iii. Where individual Federal land units administered by other Federal agencies including the National Park Service, the National Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the Department of Defense, or other agencies, have enacted requirements for the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle, Regions should adopt such requirements on Service lands, waters and facilities in the same states as those units through amendments to Service hunting and fishing regulations, as appropriate.
iv. Where individual tribes have enacted requirements for the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle, the Regions should adopt such requirements on Service lands, waters and facilities in the same states as those tribal lands through amendments to Service hunting and fishing regulations, in consultation with the appropriate tribe and state.
d. When available information indicates negative impacts of lead ammunition or fish tackle on sensitive, vulnerable or Service trust resources, the appropriate Regional Director, in coordination with the appropriate Assistant Director(s), will take steps to expeditiously require the use of nontoxic ammunition or fishing tackle to the fullest extent practical under Service jurisdiction to benefit such species or resources.
e. The Assistant Director, Migratory Birds, in consultation with National Flyway Councils and individual states, will establish a process to phase in a requirement for the use of nontoxic ammunition for recreational hunting of mourning doves and other upland game birds.
Sec. 6 When is this Order effective? This Order is effective immediately. It remains in effect until we incorporate it into the Fish and Wildlife Service Manual, or until we amend, supersede, or revoke it, whichever comes first. If we do not amend, supersede, or revoke it, the provisions of this Order will terminate on July 31, 2018.
[Signed] Daniel M. Ashe, DIRECTOR
Date: January 19, 2017
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Graf & Sons Founded in 1957
For 60 years, Graf & Sons has been devoted to providing knowledge, product and support to all enthusiasts of shooting and reloading. In 1957, Arnold Graf, his wife Velma, and their son Bob purchased a gasoline service station in Mexico, MO. With the Graf family’s love for shooting, they naturally expanded into reloading and now stock over 20,000 products.
“We’re proud of our history and know that our philosophy of treating everyone like family has allowed us to achieve this important milestone,” said Paul Siegfried, President. “This goes for our customers, our employees and our vendors, all of whom we invite to celebrate with us.”
The kick-off for the 60th Anniversary celebration kicks off January 27, 2017 for the drawing for the Ultimate Reloading package. The Winner Winner gets a Hornady Classic Reloading Kit plus a $400 Graf’s gift certificate. NOTE: Thursday, January 26, 2017 is the last day to enter!!
To enter submit a photo of your current reloading set-up or tell us why this package would be perfect for you via Graf’s Social Media Channels: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Graf’s will pick the winner at random on January 27th. You must enter before January 26th, 11:59 p.m. CST on January 26, 2017. CLICK HERE for Contest Rules
On-Going Graf’s 60th Anniversary Promotions Throughout 2017
Graf’s year-long 60th Anniverary celebration will showcase 60 for 60 monthly saving specials (with featured products at 60% off), monthly give-a-ways of reloading supplies, t-shirts, and other swag, and more.
Customers, vendors and media are all invited throughout the year to join Graf & Sons in celebrating their 60th Anniversary. For more information, visit grafs.com or call 800-531-2666. Follow @grafandsons on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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At SHOT Show 2017, Nosler showcased a new .22-caliber cartridge designed for AR-platform rifles. Called the 22 Nosler, the new cartridge resembles a 6.8 SPC necked down to .22 caliber. Comparing Nosler’s ammo specs with Hodgdon load data, it looks like the 22 Nosler can deliver about 250-300 fps more velocity than the standard .223 Rem cartridge. That’s significant for varminters looking for higher performance from an AR15-type rifle. With a 55-grain bullet, highest possible velocity is 3500+ fps with a max load of Hodgdon CFE 223 powder, based on this Nosler Load Chart:
Nosler will produce 22 Nosler ammunition in various bullet weights, starting with 55 grain and 77 grain. To run the 22 Nosler, an AR owner will need a new upper and 6.8 SPC type magazines. This video explains how to convert your AR-platform rifle to run the 22 Nosler.
“Everything Old Is New Again…”
Examining the 22 Nosler cartridge, our friend Grant Ubl had a case of “deja vu”. He thinks the new 22 Nosler bears a striking resemblance to a wildcat from the 1960s: “The .22 Nosler looks like a throwback to the 1963-vintage .224 Winchester E5 experimental cartridge, right down to the rebated rim.” Here is an old Winchester print:
Another poster said this cartridge resembles the “.220 Thunderbolt” a wildcat devised by John Scandale in 2004. Posting on Facebook, Mr. Scandale said the designs were very similar. According to Keystone Accuracy, the .220 Thunderbolt’s “design origin came from the now largely popular 6mm Hagar in its infancy stage back in 2003.” While it looks very similar to a 6.8 SPC necked to .224, the .220 Thunderbolt is different because the 6mm Hagar brass is 0.100″ longer than 6.8 SPC. Read History of .220 Thunderbolt.
Neck-up the 22 Nosler to .25 Caliber?
Dan Z. has inspected in the 22 Nosler ammunition and he’d like to see a .25 Caliber version. On Facebook, Dan posted: “I got my hands on some of the ammo a couple weeks ago. It does look like a .223 that has its body diameter expanded to that of a 6.8. Consequently, it is longer than the 6.8 overall and in the body. I necked a piece of fired brass to 6.8 and it looked like it would provide some improvement in velocity. A more interesting idea might be to neck it to .25 as a .250 Savage performance clone in an AR-15 platform.”
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There’s a notable quote: “Old Age and Treachery will always beat Youth and Exuberance.” (David Mamet). Well, that’s not always true. Recently a 15-year-old marksman beat the entire field of shooters at the CMP’s Talladega 600 M16 match. Here’s the story of that remarkable win…
Report based on story by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
Alabama native Anthony Kissik, one of only two junior competitors in the Talladega 600 M16 EIC Match, was the overall winner with an impressive score of 383-16X. In winning the match, Kissik beat all adult shooters, including many top-flight competitors with decades of experience. With his win, Kissik received his first EIC (Excellence-In-Competition) leg points towards earning his Distinguished Rifleman Badge — a major honor for competitive marksmen.
Last year, Kissik missed the EIC cut mark by only a few points, slipping in his prone rapid stage. It was a mistake he was determined to avoid at the 2016 event. As the 2017 match commenced, Kissik was focused on not making mistakes. “Don’t screw up. Don’t screw up” he told himself. After cleaning the prone slow-fire portion, he felt comfortable with his performance. “And it was good from then on out”.
The M16 EIC Match is fired at the conclusion of the CMP’s Small Arms Firing School, an introductory clinic designed to instruct new and veteran marksmen on rifle safety, fundamentals and techniques. The EIC match gives competitors the chance to earn their first four leg points towards the 30 points needed to earn a revered Distinguished Badge.
From 3P Air Rifle Competition to High Power Rifle at Camp Perry
An Alabama state-level junior champion, Kissik began his shooting career on a sporter 3P air rifle team. He then got started in High Power competition through matches hosted by the Virginia Junior Marksmanship Program. He attended his first High Power match at Fairfax before heading to Quantico in the summertime. Fresh off the air rifle firing line, he had a steep learning curve in the High Power discipline: “When you win in air rifle, it’s fun. In High Power I still have a lot to learn. In order to win in High Power, you have to be very precise.”
Competing at Camp Perry at Age 13
Kissik attended his first National Matches at Camp Perry at age 13, the youngest member of his squad. “Ultimately I want to get to High Master classification, and Distinguished, of course,” he added. As another personal goal, Kissik hopes to someday outshoot his coach, Sam Richardson.
With a new appreciation for High Power, Kissik has worked to hone his skills at CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park, which Kissik now calls home: “The [Talladega] facility is great. No pits, you don’t have to walk. It’s one of the most advanced in the country, and I get to call it my home range.”
The Talladega Marksmanship Park boasts Kongsberg electronic targets at 200, 300, and 600 Yards.
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