April 10th, 2017
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. Sportsman’s Guide — CCI .22 LR Ammo, $3.49 per Box!
This is the cheapest price we’ve seen in a long time for name-brand .22 LR Rimfire ammo. The sale price of $3.49 per 50-ct box works out to just seven cents a round for this 40gr CCI Blazer rimfire ammo. At that price can enjoy rimfire plinking without worrying about cost — just like the “good old days”. Member price is even lower — $3.32 per box. Grab this CCI Ammo at this rock-bottom price before it sells out.
2. Amazon — Howard Leight Electronic Muffs, $38.76
Every shooter should own a pair of Electronic muffs, even if you prefer shooting with earplugs and/or standard muffs. Electronic muffs are great when you are doing spotting duties or are working near the firing line. They allow you to hear ordinary conversations while still providing vital hearing protection. Right now Amazon.com has the Howard Leight Impact Sport Electronic Muffs on sale for just $38.76, with free Prime Shipping. This is good deal — these NRR 22 muffs are currently Amazon’s #1 seller in the category. See All Price Options. For another $7.99 you can get a handy Zippered Carry Case for these Electronic Muffs
NOTE: For regular, sustained shooting we recommend muffs and/or earplugs with a higher NRR rating.
3. Cabela’s — Sellier & Bellot Primers, $19.99/1000
There’s a new line of primers on the market, produced by Czech factory Sellier & Bellot. You can save up to 30% compared to name-brand American primers. For example, the S&B Small rifle primers are now just $19.99 at Cabelas.com, compared to $28.00 for CCI Small Rifle Primers at Powder Valley. We’ve shot the S&B pistol ammo and it was very reliable so we wouldn’t hesitate to use these primers for practice ammo in rifle or pistol. This is an attractive option for high-volume reloaders.
4. Cabela’s — Winged 1/2″-Padded Shooting Mat, $44.99
This is a very good mat at an attractive price. This thickly-padded mat has twin side wings for gear. Sale priced at $44.99 at Cabela’s, this offers great value for the money. With 1/2″-thick padding, this mat is comfortable, and the large side wings keep your gear off damp, mucky, or dusty ground. The left wing has a zippered compartment while the right wing has a large pouch that can hold ammo box, rangefinder, or other gear. Up front is a handy bipod stop. Deployed, the mat is an ample 73-1/2″ long x 35-1/2″ wide. The mat rolls up into a convenient package complete with adjustable shoulder strap. With a Lifetime Guarantee, this mat has earned very positive user reviews — 4.8 out of 5 stars. One owner declared: “This is a great shooting mat … rivals many other mats in a much higher price range. The added wing area has plenty of room for ammo, elbows and miscellaneous gear. It has two sewn-in bipod stops and the padding is just right. It is very well built, love it!” — LHeffy.
5. Cabela’s — Tikka TSR-1, $1499.99 (McRee Precision Stock)
Here’s a good deal on a modular rifle for the Precision Rifle Series (PRS) Factory Class. This Tikka TSR-1 features a versatile folding McRees Precision Stock. On sale this week for $1499.99 at Cabelas.com, this TSR-1 is $300 Ccheaper than Tikka’s new T3 X TAC A1. In fact the TSR-1 may be preferred by shooters who prefer a slimmer foreend or need a folding stock. ($1798.00 at Eurooptic.com). PRS Factory Class shooters should definitely consider the TSR-1 at $1499.99. Other vendors are currently charging up to $1935.00 for the TSR-1.
6. GSL Technology — $200 Discount on Sound Suppressors
Many guys are putting off purchase of a suppressor in hopes that Congress will eliminate the $200.00 Federal tax stamp currently required for “can” purchases. Relying on poiliticians to perform is problematical to say the least. Here’s an alternative — the folks at GSL Technology are offering $200.00 off high-grade suppressors. So, in effect, the suppressor-maker is picking up the tab for your $200.00 Tax Stamp. NOTE: This special offer is good for Online Purchases Only and the Offer Expires at 11:59 pm on April 30, 2017.
7. Amazon — Discovery Scope Level $13-$16 (1″, 30mm)
If you shoot long range, you need a scope level. This Discovery scope level is fully CNC-machined to close tolerances for a good fit. It is available with inner diameters to fit scopes with either 1″ or 30mm main tubes. The 1″ version is just $12.95 while the 30mm model is $13.95. You could easily pay $35.00 or more for a 30mm scope level. Purchasers have praised this product: 89% of verified buyers rated this five stars.
8. Amazon — Ten-Pack of 2″-Diameter Splatter Targets, $8.99
We use these splatter targets for fun shoots and practice at 300 and 400 yards. When hit, each shot displays as a bright, neon-green/yellow circle. That makes it easy to spot your shots, even with relatively low-power optics. These targets also work great for handgun practice at shorter distances. For just $8.99 you get ten sheets each with 16 stick-on circles — a total of 160 target bulls.
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April 10th, 2017
Ever wondered about the stability of the propellants in your reloading room? There are some important things you should know about powder storage, to ensure consistent powder performance and safety. On its website, Western Powders (vendors of Accurate, Norma, and Ramshot powders) published an informative Q & A series entitled Dear Labby: Questions for our Ballistics Lab. Here are some excerpts that pertain to powder storage and shelf life. Worried that your powder may be too old? Western’s experts explain how to check your propellants for warning signs.
Proper Powder Storage
Q: I live in southern Arizona where it is very hot. I am told powders will become unstable if stored in an area not air-conditioned. My wife says no powder or primers in the house. Can powder be stored in a refrigerator? What about using a fireproof safe? I would appreciate your ideas. — M.C.
Lab Answer: SAAMI guidelines are pretty clear on issues of storage. They recommend storing smokeless powder in containers that will not allow pressure to build if the powder is ignited — ruling out gun safes and refrigerators.
CLICK HERE to Read SAAMI Guidelines for Powder Storage (PDF)
In their original containers smokeless powder’s lifespan is quite long, even in your hot, arid climate, typically longer than the average handloader would need to store them. Stored safely in a garage or outbuilding, your powder should last years. If you see the powder developing a reddish tint, or giving off a foul odor, it is time to discard it.
Clumps in Powder Container
Q: I ordered some of your Accurate 1680 powder back about in December. I just now opened it … and it is full of clumps. My knowledge tells me that means moisture. Am I wrong? I just now broke the seal and it has been stored in a ammo can with desiccant packs around it and a dehumidifier running 14-16 hours a day. I can’t imagine this being my fault, if this does indicate moisture. I don’t know if the pink part on the label is suppose to be red or not, but it is definitely pink, so if it was red I am wondering if I was shipped an old container? I hope that this isn’t bad and I am stuck with it…
Lab Answer: All powder contains a certain amount of moisture. When the powder is stored or during shipping, it can go through temperature cycles. During the cycling, the moisture can be pulled to the surface and cause clumping. Clumping can also be caused by static electricity if too dry or the powder has limited graphite content. You can break up the clumps before metering and they shouldn’t be a problem. This will not affect the powder performance, so your product is fine. Accurate 1680 labels are designed in Pink. As a side note, specification for testing powder is at 70° F and 60% humidity.
Shelf Life and Packaging Dates
Q: Does powder ever get to old to use and what identifying marks does your company put on the canister for when it is made, You have helped me out a while ago when I asked about keeping my cowboy shooting under 950 fps and it works great less stress on the hand and the recoil is very minimum. — R.B.
Lab Answer: On one pound bottles, the number is on the corner in a silver box. If the powder was poured today, it would read 012815 followed by a lot number. The whole number would look something like 012815749. Eight pound bottles have a sticker on the bottom with an obvious date code. The lot number appears above the date.
SUMMARY: Powder can have a very long shelf life. You need to watch for changes in smell and color. A reddish tinge, almost like rust on the powder, is a bad sign, as is a foul odor, not to be confused with a normal chemical smell. Either of these signs indicate it is time to dispose of your powder by means other than shooting.
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April 10th, 2017
If your local shooting club wants to attract new members, and provide a new form of competition, consider starting a series of groundhog (varmint) matches. These can employ paper targets, metal silhouette-style targets, or both. Groundhog matches are fun events with straight-forward rules and simple scoring. You don’t need to bring windflags or load at the range, so a Groundhog match is more “laid back” than a registered Benchrest match. Normally there will be three or four rifle classes, so you can compete with a “box-stock” factory gun, or a fancy custom, as you prefer. Many clubs limit the caliber or cartridge size allowed in varmint matches, but that’s just to protect reactive targets and keep ammo costs down. In this article, Gene F. (aka “TenRing” in our Forum), provides a basic intro to Groundhog matches, East-Coast style.
Groundhog Matches Are Growing in Popularity
Though Groundhog matches are very popular in many parts of the country, particularly on the east coast, I’ve found that many otherwise knowledgeable “gun guys” don’t know much about this form of competition. A while back, I ordered custom bullets from a small Midwest bullet-maker. He asked what type of competition the bullets would be used for, and I told him “groundhog shoots”. He had not heard of these. It occurs to me that perhaps many others are unfamiliar with this discipline.
Groundhog matches have grown rapidly in popularity. There are numerous clubs hosting them in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Delaware, as well as other venues. They are usually open to the public. Most Eastern clubs have five to twenty cement benches, and overhead roofs. At this time, there is no central source for match schedules. If you’re interested in going to a groundhog match, post a query in the AccurateShooter Forum Competition Section, and you should get some info on nearby opportunities.
How Matches Are Run — Course of Fire and Scoring
Unlike NRA High Power Matches, there is no nationwide set of standard rules for Groundhog matches. Each club has their own rules, but the basics are pretty similar from club to club. Paper groundhog targets are set at multiple distances. There are normally three yardages in the match. Some clubs place targets at 100, 200, and 300 yards. Other clubs set them at 200, 300, or 400 yards. At my club in Shippensburg, PA, our targets are placed at 200, 300 and 500 meters.
The goal is to score the highest total. The paper targets have concentric scoring rings. The smallest ring is normally worth ten points while the large ring is worth five points. The course of fire varies among the various clubs. Most clubs allow unlimited sighters and five shots on the record target in a given time period. Only those five shots on the scoring rings are counted, so that with three yardages, a perfect score would be 150 points. Tie breakers may be determined by total number of dead center or “X” strikes; or, by smallest group at the farthest distance.
Types of Rifles Used at Groundhog Matches
The same benchrest rigs found at IBS and NBRSA matches can be utilized (though these will typically be put in a ‘custom’ class). Though equipment classes vary from club to club, it is common to separate the hardware into four or five classes. Typical firearm classes can include: factory rifle; deer hunter; light varmint custom (usually a limit of 17 lbs.with scope); and heavy varmint custom (weight unlimited). Some clubs allow barrel tuners, others do not. Scope selection is usually unlimited; however, some restrict hunter class rifle scopes to 20 power. Factory rifles usually cannot be altered in any way.
Good, Simple Fun Shooting — Why Groundhog Shoots Are Popular
Forum member Danny Reever explains the appeal of groundhog matches: “We don’t have a governing organization, or have to pay $50 a year membership just to compete in matches. Sure the rules vary from club to club, but you adapt. If you don’t like one club’s rules, you just don’t shoot there. It’s no big deal.
There are no National records, or Hall of Fame points — just individual range records. If you want to shoot in BIG matches (with big prizes), there is the Hickory Ground Hog Shoot among others. If competition isn’t your bag, many clubs offer mid-week fun matches that you can shoot just for fun. You shoot the same targets but with a more relaxed atmosphere with no time limits.
The best part is you don’t have to shoot perfect at every yardage. You always have a chance because in this sport it really isn’t over until the last shot is fired. Typically ALL the entry money goes to the host club, with much of the cash returned back to the shooters via prizes. Junior shooters often shoot for free, or at a reduced rate. The low entry cost also encourages young guys to get involved who don’t have $4000 custom rifles or the money to buy them.
There isn’t a sea of wind flags to shoot over or to put up and take down. If the range has a couple of flags so much the better, but after all it is a varmint match. No pits to spot shots and slow things down either. If you can’t see your hits through your rifle scope or spotting scope well you are in the same boat as everybody else. That’s what makes it interesting/ sometimes frustrating!
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