January 22nd, 2017

U.S. Army Adopts SIG XM17 (P320) Pistol to Replace Beretta M9

Beretta M9 M17 XM17 Sig Sauer Modular Pistol System

The U.S. Army has selected variants of the SIG Sauer P320 pistol to replace the venerable M9 pistol from Beretta. The Army will purchase the new 9mm striker-fired SIG handgun, designated the XM17, in both compact and full-size versions. The Army will purchase a minimum of 280,000 handguns, with options for another 212,000. This represents a huge contract, worth $580,000,000 through budget year 2027. According to American Rifleman: “The XM17 will likely lose the ‘X’ and be made by American workers in an American factory for American soldiers.”

In adopting the new SIG XM17, the U.S. Army has chosen its first new handgun in three decades. The lengthy Modular Handgun System (MHS) selection process took two years and $17 million, with twelve different candidates vying to be chosen as the Army’s new sidearm. SIG Sauer triumphed over other major pistol-makers (including Beretta, CZ, Glock, FNH, and S&W), by best fulfilling a complex set of requirements. According to Popular Mechanics: “The bureaucracy surrounding the M17 Modular Handgun System contract was oppressive. The Army’s Final Solicitation document, which spelled out the terms of the competition, was whopping 351 pages long. Senator John McCain of Arizona described the rules as ‘byzantine.’ Then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates complained, ‘This is absurd — it’s a handgun for God’s sake’.”

The Army’s new XM17 is fully ambidextrous, with safety and slide release levers on both sides. Importantly, unlike Glock pistols, the new SIG XM17 can be taken down without pulling the trigger. In accordance with the XM17 design protocols, the new SIG features a front Picatinny rail for accessories, as well as interchangeable grip panels to fit various hand sizes. There will be threaded barrel options for use with a suppressor. The Army’s selection of the SIG Sauer XM17 was announced this past week at SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

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January 22nd, 2017

Nightforce 7-35x56mm ATACR FFP Scope

Nightforce Atacr 7-35x56mm tactical FFP scope

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.

Nightforce Atacr 7-35x56mm tactical FFP scope

With a fat 34mm main tube, the 39.3 ounce 7-35x56mm ATACR offers 60 MOA of windage adjustment and a whopping 100 MOA of total elevation adjustment. The elevation turret includes a ZeroStop. Nightforce notes: “With parallax adjustment down to 10 meters and 100 MOA of elevation travel, precision is attainable from short range distances to … extreme long range[.] This riflescope offers an incredible field of view across the entire magnification range[.].”

The new 7-35X ATACR is offered with either 1/4 MOA or 0.1 Mil click values and three reticle choices: Mil-R F1, MOAR F1, TReMoR3 F1. The illuminated MIL-R and MOAR reticles are shown below. Note that the MOAR offers 80 MOA of hold-over below center.

Nightforce Atacr 7-35x56mm tactical FFP scope

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January 22nd, 2017

Case Prep Tips from Western Powders

Western Powders Case Preparation prep inspection flash holes primer pockets reloading

Western Powders (which sells Accurate, Ramshot, and Norma powders) has published an article on case inspection and preparation. There are many tips in this article that can be useful to precision hand-loaders. For example, every time you open a new box of cartridge brass (particularly from domestic makers), you should inspect each case for flaws.

TIP ONE: Visual Inspection — Finding Flaws
Cases are mass-produced items and malformed ones are relatively common. Inspect each case carefully looking for obvious defects. A bench-mounted magnifying glass with light is a real help for the over-40 crowd. The main defects will be cracks in the neck or case body, crushed shoulders or deep creases in the neck. Next check the primer pocket. It is also fairly common to find flash holes that are damaged or, more rarely, not concentric to the primer pocket.

Western Powders Case Preparation prep inspection flash holes primer pockets reloading

Imperfections like small dings in the case body, or necks that are not completely symmetrical do not have to be eliminated at this step. Damage of this sort is usually from loose packaging and usually has not seriously damaged the brass. [Running an expander mandrel in the neck] and fire-forming will iron out these largely cosmetic issues.

The Western Powder article also talks about primer pocket uniforming. We do NOT normally uniform the pockets for Lapua or RWS brass from the start. However, pocket uniforming can be beneficial with some other brands of brass, including Lake City, Remington, and Winchester. If you shoot milsurp brass, set time aside for pocket uniforming.

TIP TWO: Primer Pocket Uniforming
Western Powders Case Preparation inspection flash holes primer pockets reloadingLike flash holes, primer pockets are mass-produced and prone to small dimensional changes. A uniforming tool is used to make the depth of each primer pocket consistent. In turn this allows similar firing pin strike depths on the primer which creates more consistent ignition characteristics.

A good uniforming tool should have a shoulder, or another positive stop, that sets the cutter’s depth. Its use is pretty straightforward. The cutter is inserted into the pocket and turned clockwise several times until the stop in flush with the case head and no more brass is removed from the juncture of the pocket’s base and sidewall. This a job best done by hand. You will feel when the cutting is finished by a change in how smoothly the cutter turns in the pocket. Very little material is actually removed; usually just enough to square the radius at the bottom of the pocket.

READ Full Case Prep Article in Western Powders Blog.

Western Powders Blog Case Prep Neck turning

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