June 21st, 2017

Tech Nightmare: CMP Electronic Target Problem at Camp Perry

KTS Electronic Targets failure Camp Perry Excellence Competition EIC

By Steve Cooper, CMP North General Manager & Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
In disappointing fashion to all involved, the CMP [cancelled] its June 17 Excellence-In-Competition match when significant damage was done to the target system following the successful completion of standing and rapid-fire sitting stages at 200 yards by nearly 100 competitors.

KTS Electronic Targets failure Camp Perry Excellence Competition EIC
Nearly 100 competitors took to the firing line on Viale Range for Saturday’s EIC Rifle Match.

The CMP EIC match was the historic debut of the latest in scoring technology on the “big” ranges at the 101-year-old Ohio National Guard training site near Port Clinton. The match fired on Viale Range was a fill-in for a previously cancelled Ohio Rifle & Pistol Association event. CMP is in its second year of operating 10 electronic target lanes at 100 yards for rifle and five lanes for pistol at Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range. CMP also operates two 80-point electronic indoor airgun ranges at Camp Perry and Anniston, AL, respectively.

During the changeover from 200 to 300 yards at the Saturday event, multiple targets were damaged when newly-trained CMP target workers accidentally strained or tore several interconnecting cables on the target line while raising and lowering target carriers. Diagnostics showed several targets were showing errors, but CMP technicians believed many targets could be salvaged and some were repaired.

The loss cut the range from 35 to 19 serviceable targets. CMP staff and competitors agreed to shrink the size of the range, re-squadding shooters into more relays on the remaining working targets. After repairs were made, firing continued with the prone rapid-fire stage at 300 yards. When firing was complete, a handful of shooters received inconsistent information on their monitors. A re-fire was conducted for that group and many of the re-fire group still reported target errors.

KTS Electronic Targets failure Camp Perry Excellence Competition EIC
Members of CMP staff convene to discuss abnormalities during the 300-yard prone rapid-fire stage of the EIC Rifle Match. Moments later, the match was called off after it was determined too many targets were compromised by damaged cables in the Viale Range pits.

It became clear that the initial damage to the target communication system was worse than originally thought. Christie Sewell, CMP Programs Chief, explained to competitors that it was impractical to go any further and had no choice but to cancel the match. CMP offered refunds to all competitors or the option of crediting their entry fees to a future match. The match did not count toward the competitors’ EIC match total for 2017.

The Takeaway from this Experience – CMP is a Pioneer in the Electronic Target World
They say it’s easy to recognize pioneers — they’re the ones with arrows in their backs. It feels that way sometimes at the Civilian Marksmanship Program as we roll out the most sophisticated electronically-scored targets in the world to America’s bullseye rifle and pistol shooters. Sometimes we make mistakes and they cost us time, money and aggravation.

KTS Electronic Targets failure Camp Perry Excellence Competition EIC
Cables carry power + communications from target to target the length of the line. Many places between targets can trap and catch cables. The loss of 1 cable can take out 5 adjacent targets.

But we press on. And the competitors who understand our goals press on with us. We pull the arrows out of each other’s backs, cover shot holes with thick-skin pasters, learn from our mistakes and press on with our mission. That mission includes safety instruction, youth marksmanship fundamentals, growing the sport of bullseye target shooting and providing our competitors the best opportunity to maximize participation in this sport.

What Actually Went Wrong on Saturday
Those familiar with the KTS targets at the CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park know they are hard-wired and mounted to actuators that tilt the targets up and down for use on three different target lines. Shooters fire from a common covered firing line and fire distances of 200, 300 or 600 yards during open public sessions and matches without moving. Those targets are semi-permanent and fit into frames that are bolted to iron brackets mounted on a concrete deck.

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June 21st, 2017

Barrel Cleaning TECH TIPS — Criterion’s Advice for Bore Cleaning

Editor: This article appears on the Criterion Barrels website. It provides good, conservative advice about barrel cleaning. Understand that cleaning methods may need to be adapted to fit the amount and type of fouling (and the particular barrel). In general, we do try to minimize brushing, and we follow the procedures Criterion recommends respecting the crown/muzzle. We have also had very good success using wet patches followed by Wipe-Out bore foam. Along with the practices outlined by Criterion below, you may want to try Wipe-Out foam. Just be sure to use a fitted cleaning rod bore guide, to keep foam out of the action recesses and trigger assembly.

Criterion Barrels Cleaning Clean Solvent rod guide Hoppes Wipe-Out

What is the Best Way to Clean a Rifle Barrel?

We are asked this question quite frequently alongside requests for recommended break-in procedures. Improper barrel cleaning methods can damage or destroy a barrel, leading to diminished accuracy or even cause a catastrophic failure. When it comes to barrel maintenance, there are a number of useful techniques that we have not listed. Some techniques may work better with different barrel types. This series of recommendations is designed to incorporate a number of methods that the Criterion Barrels staff has used successfully both in the shop and on their personal rifles. Please feel free to to list your own recommendations in the below comments section.

We recommend the use of the following components during rifle cleaning:

• Cloth patches (sized for the appropriate caliber)
• Brass jag sized properly for your bore
• One-piece coated cleaning rod
• General bore cleaner/solvent (Example: Hoppes #9)
• Copper solvent of your choosing (Example: Sweets/KG 12)
• Fitted cleaning rod bore guide
• Plastic AP brush or toothbrush
• Q-Tips
• Plastic dental picks
• CLP or rust preventative type cleaner

There are a number of schools of thought relating to the frequency in which a barrel should be cleaned. At minimum we recommend cleaning a barrel after each shooting session to remove condensation, copper, and carbon build-up. Condensation is the greatest immediate threat, as it can cause the barrel to rust while the rifle sits in storage. Copper and carbon build-up may negatively impact future barrel performance, increasing the possibility of a failure in feed or function. Fouling should be removed whenever possible.

The below tips will help limit the wear of different parts of your barrel during routine maintenance, helping extend the life of the barrel and improving its performance.

The Crown
The crown is the portion of the barrel where the bullet loses contact with the lands and grooves and proceeds to exit the firearm. The area most critical to accuracy potential is the angle where the bullet last touches the bore of the barrel.

Avoid damage to this area by using a plastic toothbrush and CLP type cleaner to scrub the crown from the exterior of the barrel. Even the most minimal variation in wear to the crown will negatively impact barrel performance, so be careful to avoid nicking or wearing away this part of the barrel.

Reducing Cleaning Rod Wear to the Crown
When running a patch through the barrel, place the muzzle about a ¼” from a hard surface that runs flat at a perpendicular angle to the cleaning rod’s direction of travel, like a wall or the edge of a work bench (pictured). When the jag impacts the hard surface, retract the cleaning rod and remove the patch.

By withdrawing the jag prior to its exit from the barrel, you are limiting the possibility of the brass dragging upon the crown if the rod is at all bent or misaligned. The soft cloth patch will continue to serve as the point of contact between the jag and the barrel, minimizing potential wear.

If possible, insert the rod through the chamber, pushing it forward toward the muzzle. Some rifles, such as the M1 Garand or M14, will require you to insert the cleaning rod through the muzzle. In these situations the use of a cleaning rod guide is recommended to limit the friction placed upon the crown.

Avoid using cleaning rod segments for scraping carbon from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. We used this trick in the Marine Corps to impress the armorers and NCO’s with the cleanliness of our muzzles, but it likely played a significant role in reducing the service life of the rifle barrel in question.

Use a Q-Tip soaked in solvent to remove any copper or carbon residue from the recessed muzzle of an AR-15 barrel. A little bit of remaining carbon on the face of the muzzle will not negatively affect bullet travel so long as the crown edge remains consistent around the circumference of the bore.

The Lands and Grooves
This portion of the barrel may experience reduced efficiency due to copper fouling and cleaning rod damage. If copper fouling takes place during the initial break-in of the rifle, make sure to check our barrel break-in article.

For regular maintenance we suggest using a single piece coated cleaning rod rather than the traditional segmented rod or bore snake. While segmented rods and bore snakes may be convenient for field use, the corners between the segments may bow out and catch on the lands, scraping along the length of the rifling. Residual grit and particles from expended cartridges may also get caught between segments, resulting in an abrasive surface working its way down the length of the barrel. Most bore snakes will remove significant amounts of carbon fouling, but may fall short in the removal residual carbon buildup and copper fouling during deep cleaning. Good rods can be sourced from multiple manufacturers, but we have found good results using both Pro-Shot and Dewey brand products.

General cleaning requires the use of patches rather than nylon or brass bore brushes. Brass brushes may be required when aggressive cleaning is required, but can lead to unnecessary wear on the barrel if used frequently. This is not due to the nature of the soft brushes themselves, but from the abrasive particles of grit that become embedded in the material that is being run repeatedly through the bore. We recommend the use of bore guides when cleaning from both the muzzle and breech. These bore guides will help serve to protect the crown and throat from cleaning rod damage.

If significant resistance develops while running the cleaning rod through the bore, no attempt should be made to force it in further. Back the rod out and inspect the barrel to determine the cause of the resistance. The jag may be pushing between a bore obstruction and the rifling, digging a divot into the barrel before pushing the obstruction back through the muzzle. One way to minimize the risk of a stuck rod is by utilizing a slightly smaller patch during the initial push.

The process of cleaning the length of the rifling is relatively straightforward:

1. Check to make sure the rifle is safely unloaded.
2. Carry out any necessary disassembly procedures prior to cleaning.
3. Remove bolt (if possible) and insert fitted cleaning rod bore guide in action.
4. Soak a patch in bore solvent (similar to Hoppes #9).
5. Center and affix the patch on the brass jag, inserting it into the chamber end of the barrel. A misaligned patch may cause the jag to damage the lands of the rifling, so make sure the patch is centered on the jag.
6. Run the patch the full length of the barrel, retracting it upon reaching the end of the muzzle.
7. Let the solvent sit for a minute.
8. Continue to run patches through the bore until carbon residue is minimized.
9. Run a dry patch through the bore to ensure carbon residue has been removed.
10. Soak a patch in copper solvent (Sweet’s or KG-12).
11. Run the patch through the bore, leaving it to sit for 3-5 minutes (do not let solvent sit for more than 15 minutes.*)
12. Repeat this process until no blue residue remains on the patches.
13. Run a patch of Hoppes #9 and a dry patch through the bore to neutralize the copper solvent.
14. Inspect the barrel prior to reassembling the rifle, verifying that no bore obstructions remain.

*Please note that some ammonia-based copper solvents may prove to be corrosive if left sitting in the barrel for an extended period of time. It is essential that these solvents be removed within 15 minutes to avoid ruining the bore.

The Chamber
Proper cleaning of the chamber is a critical component of a general cleaning procedure. Carbon rings can build up near the neck and throat of the chamber wall, leading to feeding malfunctions and pressure spikes inside the chamber.

The chamber can be the trickiest part of the barrel to effectively clean, due to its fluctuation in size and the awkward ergonomics often required to remove carbon residue. Numerous chamber specific devices have been created to address this problem, and while some should be avoided (steel chamber brushes), others can be used to great effect (cleaning stars and plastic dental picks). The simplest approach to cleaning a chamber is to apply solvent to a couple patches, and use the cleaning rod to spin the wadded up patches inside the confines of the chamber. This should aid in removing any excess carbon. A Q-Tip can be used to reach portions of the chamber unreached by patches.

The Barrel Exterior
While the condition of the crown, rifling, and chamber are essential to firearm performance, the finish of the exterior should also be cleaned after handling. Condensation, humidity, direct water contact, and salt residue from skin contact can cause rust or corrosion. An application of anti-corrosion products is recommended when placing a firearm into deep storage for an extended period of time. [Editor: AccurateShooter.com recommends Corrosion-X or Eezox, but other products work well too.]

Finding Cleaning Components
While most cleaning components can be found at your local gun shop, some specialty items may need to be sourced through online retailers such as Brownell’s. Criterion utilizes both Dewey and Pro-Shot brand cleaning components during our day-to-day operations.

Do you have any rifle cleaning tips or tricks not mentioned in the above article? We’d love to hear about them. You can post your comments below.

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June 21st, 2017

Get a 22-Gun Safe for Under $350.00 at Wally World

Walmart gun safe $344 Stack-On

We know some of our readers still don’t own a gun safe, even a small one. We’ll now there’s no excuse. Here’s a killer deal on a Stack-On gun vault at WalMart. This 22-gun safe can’t compare to a large, heavy-gauge $1500+ safe, but it will be worlds better than storing your firearms under the bed or in a closet. Bottom line, your firearms need to be locked up when not in use. Priced at just $344.97 this is a great deal. And the shipping charge is just another $9.99.

Measuring 55″ tall x 26.8″ wide x 17.6″ deep, this Stack-On safe is rated for 22 long guns up to 54″ tall. In reality, you’ll be lucky to fit a 13-14 scoped rifles comfortably in this safe, but that’s enough for many guys. This is also a good “second safe” for your loading room or bedroom.

CLICK HERE to Go to Product Description Page

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