May 2nd, 2017

SOCOM Considers New 6.5 mm Chamberings for Semi-Auto Rifles

U.S. Special Operations 6.5 Creedmoor .260 Remington SOCOM
Cartridge photo courtesy Rifleshooter.com.

According to Military Times, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) is considering replacing the 7.62×51 NATO in semi-auto sniper rifles with a mid-size 6.5 mm cartridge. The two leading candidates are the 6.5 Creedmoor and the .260 Remington. These 6.5 cartridges would deliver a flatter trajectory, better long-range ballistics, and reduced recoil compared to the 7.62×51 NATO (aka .308 Winchester). While the .260 Rem enjoys a case capacity edge over the 6.5 Creedmoor, in the real world, performance is similar — both cartridge types can push a 130gr bullet to velocities around 2900 fps. (See Sierra 6.5 CM Load Data.)

Military Times Reports:

“Major Aron Hauquitz told Military Times Tuesday that SOCOM is in the preliminary stages of exploring a sniper rifle chambered in the 6.5 mm caliber. The two commercially available rounds being evaluated are the .260 Remington and the 6.5 mm Creedmoor.

Research shows that both rounds will ‘stay supersonic longer, have less wind drift and better terminal performance than 7.62 mm ammunition’, SOCOM officials said.

‘We’re purely in the exploratory phase’. Hauquitz said. ‘We’re trying to see if we can take a weapon that is 7.62 and give it greater range, accuracy and lethality.'”

U.S. Special Operations 6.5 Creedmoor .260 Remington SOCOM

The SOCOM representative indicated that test rifles in 6.5 Creedmoor and/or .260 Remington might be issued to test teams later this year, but there was no issue date in place yet. Hauquitz said the 6.5 mm exploration came out of preliminary results of the Small Arms Ammunition Configuration study, which assesses commercially available ammunition and new ammo technologies.

SOCOM Also Considering Polymer Cartridges
The Military Times report also revealed that SOCOM is considering polymer-cased rifle ammunition, with the goal of reducing load weight. SOCOM’s research shows that a polymer-cased mid-sized 6.5 mm cartridge could be one-third lighter than conventional brass-cased 7.62×51 ammo. That means the next-generation 6.5 mm ammo could “come in at 5.56×45 mm weight ranges”. While SOCOM is seriously looking at this new option, polymer-cased ammo will NOT be required for SOCOM’s new semi-auto rifle. In other words, if the polymer ammo is not ready, that “would not delay potential fielding of a 6.5 mm rifle” according to Maj. Hauquitz.

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May 2nd, 2017

Interview with Bryan Litz — Insight into a Champion

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wife

There’s a great interview with Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics on Mia Rhode’s Life Of A Shooter’s Wife Blog. We recommend you read the full interview. Bryan offers many important insights that can benefit any precision shooter. It’s fascinating to learn about Bryan’s background and how he progressed in competitive shooting, starting with very basic equipment. As a “broke high school kid”, he got started on the cheap, paying for gear with wages from McDonald’s. Now he’s a globally-recognized expert in Ballistics and Long Range precision. You’ll enjoy reading the Full Interview. Here are some highlights…

» Read Full Interview with Bryan Litz

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wifeLOASW: When did you first become interested in shooting?

Bryan: My first memories of shooting were at the age of about 9 or 10. Pellet rifle in the back yard. My Dad taught me to shoot, stressing the importance of accuracy. I was driven to hit targets, mostly small targets at long distance. My grandfather was on the All-Army shooting team back in the ‘50s, and was distinguished in both rifle and pistol. Shooting is part of my family’s DNA and I benefited from that from a young age.

LOASW: What sparked your interest in Competitive Shooting and how old were you when you started competing?

Bryan: Hunting groundhogs in the farm-fields of Pennsylvania through high school is where I truly connected with long-range shooting. My Dad heard of a competition range (The Original Pennsylvania 1000 Yard Benchrest Club in Williamsport, PA). So we visited there one summer and I immediately found my trusty 22-250 inadequate for the job of 1000-yard benchrest shooting. So I saved my McDonald’s wages until I could afford a 7mm Remington Magnum and began competing in my first matches at the age of 15.

Learning with Limited Resources…
… It was a huge mis-match to my situation because benchrest is a highly gear-driven sport, and the winners typically have many $1000s of dollars wrapped up in equipment. I was a broke high school kid who needed my parents to drive me to the range my first year, and my second year, I had to rely on fellow competitors to jump start my old pick-up truck that was always breaking down. Nevertheless I enjoyed the hell out of shooting 1000 yards. I can honestly say that I don’t have any more FUN shooting these days with all the best equipment as compared to those bad ‘ol days when I had maybe $900 total wrapped up in all my gear. Those who remember me from those early days might recall the home-made shooting rest and McDonalds French fry box that I carried all my gear in. Later when I picked up prone/sling shooting, my shooting mat was a piece of carpet (pink, no less), and my shooting coat was a military field jacket with belts sewn in it.

Money was probably my biggest challenge when I started out. I had plenty of fun with my budget kit, but was certainly constrained by lack of access to quality gear. I overcame this with hard work and making the most of what I had. Learning how to mitigate the deficiencies of my equipment was an important stepping stone which has been highly valuable even now when I’ve got better stuff. It’s a good skill to have, to be able to spot something about to come unraveled.

Bryan Litz Interview Applied Ballistics Mia Lee Rhode Shooters wife

LOASW: What advice would you give to someone new to competitive shooting?

Bryan: Find a mentor, someone who lives near you who has experience and is willing to share it. You will cut years off your learning curve if you can get someone to share their experience with you who’s “been there done that”.

» CLICK HERE for REST of Interview with Bryan Litz

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May 2nd, 2017

Supersized BAT Sighted at Bruno Shooters Supply

BAT 50 BMG Action

BAT .50 BMG Model EX– Now That’s an Action!, by GAS
A while back, I stopped into Bruno Shooters Supply for a jug of powder and looked into the display case where the new actions are kept. Amid the usual array of BAT Machine, Kelbly and other actions, there was something unlike any action I’d seen before — all I can call it is the BIG BAT (It’s officially the BAT Model EX 2.5). I wasn’t too surprised at the weight (a beefy 13.7 lbs.), but until you lift it it’s hard to appreciate how solid, chunky, hefty, massive (pick your favorite adjective) this thing really is. The action is a 2.5″-diameter, 12″-long BAT for the .50 BMG cartridge. It is simply the biggest, slickest custom action on the planet. In order to give you some sense of scale, I photographed the action alongside a conventional BAT action for short-range Benchrest shooting and I put a .220 Russian case and a .30-06 case into the picture. I’ve handled and fired other .50 BMG actions/rifles before, but this BAT puts them all to shame, as far as fit and finish go.

BAT 50 BMG Action

The action is actually quite conventional in design and execution. The bolt is fluted and has two front lugs with a conventional, although super-sized, firing pin assembly. Any Remington-style trigger will mount by way of a normal trigger hanger, allowing for simplified maintenance or replacement in the field. The loading port is 5.5″ long and the barrel threads are 1.5″ x 16 tpi — nothing about this beast is small! There is a conventional rocker-type bolt release on the left side of the receiver body and a recoil lug is built into the bottom of the receiver. In reality, the action is very similar to any other BAT except for the size and it adheres to all of BAT’s high standards for quality of design, manufacture, fit, finish and just plain good looks. Slide that bolt back and it feels as tight as a small Benchrest action!

BAT 50 BMG Action

Given the BIG BAT’s $3,125.00 sticker price (before options), not many of us will ever have the opportunity to own or shoot one of these beauties (I certainly won’t). However, it is nice to know they exist and can be bought and enjoyed in many places. CLICK HERE for BAT EX configuration options.

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