July 5th, 2017

How to Point Bullets — Whidden Bullet Pointing Tool Review

whidden bullet pointing die system kit
Jason Baney photo from Whidden Bullet Pointing Die Review.

Gear Review by GS Arizona

This article originally appeared in the Rifleman’s Journal website.
Many of you have doubtlessly read Bryan Litz’s articles in our Daily Bulletin and on his Applied Ballistics website about various current long-range bullets. Bryan’s work carries a great deal of weight in the world of ballistics, so his comments (and mathematical proofs) regarding the benefits of bullet pointing certainly caught my attention. Bullet pointing, like meplat trimming, is an effort to reduce the ballistic inconsistency created by the somewhat jagged tip of the jacket where the bullet forming dies bring it to a point in the manufacturing process. Of course, we could eliminate this problem altogether by shooting closed-tip, open-base bullets like the Lapua D46, but that merely shifts the jacket problem to the other end of the bullet.

Whidden Bullet pointer tool

In any event, hollow point bullets rule the accuracy world today, so John Whidden, multi-time National Long Range Champion and a talented gunsmith to boot, came up with a very handy tool to let us make those hollow points pointier. Let’s have a look at John’s tool and see how it works.

Whidden Bullet pointer tool

The Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System uses a Forster bullet seating die body as its basic structure and that’s a good choice given the quality machining Forster does on these. The real heart of the tool comes in two parts: the caliber sleeve and the pointing die that fits inside the sleeve. In fact, to point up different caliber bullets, you only need to change the caliber sleeve, everything else remains the same. The last item is the bullet base that slips into a standard .308 shellholder and supports the bullet as it goes into the die body.

It took me less than five minutes to get everything set up, including changing the caliber sleeve from 6mm to .30 caliber. John’s instruction sheets are well illustrated and clearly written; you should have no problem getting up and running.

Pointing the bullets is as easy as sizing a piece of brass. You can see in the second photo above the difference between a few pointed bullets and a few un-pointed ones. The innermost pointed bullet in the picture was my first attempt and I adjusted the die a little after that, you can see that the others are closed a little more. John even includes a couple of sample bullets so that you can see one done right and one done wrong. That is a nice addition that can help you achieve the desired results.

This YouTube Video Shows the Whidden Bullet Pointing Die in Action

I think Bryan’s work supports the validity of this concept and John’s tool puts it into practice in a simple-to-use manner that makes it just about impossible to do any damage to the bullet. I have shot pointed bullets in various calibers at many matches now. Pointing is not a “miracle cure”, but I believe that pointing bullet tips can produce long-range accuracy gains, through reduced vertical dispersion, for many popular types of match bullets. The Whidden Bullet Pointing Die System retails for $220.00 (with one insert). Additional die inserts are $42.00 each. Extra caliber sleeves are also $42.00. You can purchase directly from Whidden Gunworks, or from Sinclair International.

Whidden Bullet pointer tool

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July 5th, 2017

Rimfire Revolvers — Guide to Great .22 LR Wheelguns

Smith Wesson Model 617 wheelgun rimfire revolver

Don’t own a quality .22 LR wheelgun yet? Well start saving those pennies. Every serious gun aficionado should have a quality rimfire revolver. A rimfire wheelgun is also very good choice for a first handgun. Indeed, a strong argument could be made that a .22 LR revolver is THE best choice for a new shooter’s first handgun. A .22 LR revolver is easy to shoot, easy to maintain, and will last a lifetime.

TOP FIVE Reasons to Own a Rimfire Revolver:

  • 1. Rimfire .22 LR Ammunition is cheap, and now plentiful again.
  • 2. A good, full-size .22 LR revolver will be MORE ACCURATE than the vast majority of semi-auto rimfire handguns. With no magazines to jam, a good wheelgun will also be more reliable than most self-loading rimfires.
  • 3. A rimfire revolver can shoot tens of thousands of rounds, with just routine maintenance. This gun can last a lifetime and then you can pass it on to your kids.
  • 4. On a S&W revolver, it is very easy to tune the pull weight. You can have a safe double-action pull with a very light, crisp single-action release.
  • 5. It is easy to change grips and sights to suit your preference. You can also mount a scope on the top-strap.

TOP FIVE Rimfire Revolvers (Current Production)

1. Smith & Wesson Model 617, 6″ or 4″ BBL, $829.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 617
10-Shot, Stainless Steel, 44.1 Oz. (6″ barrel), 39 Oz. (4″ barrel)

Smith Wesson model 617 4 inchSmith & Wesson’s Model 617, offered with either 6″ or 4″ barrels, is extremely accurate, with a very crisp trigger, and good sights. You can learn all the fundamentals with this ultra-reliable K-Frame handgun, shooting inexpensive .22 LR ammo. The model 617 is rugged, durable, and can give you a lifetime of shooting fun. Your Editor has owned a 4″ ten-shot Model 617 for over 20 years, and it’s still going strong.

Once you have mastered the basics of shooting with a .22 LR, you can move on to larger caliber handguns suitable for self-defense. Below is a slide-show illustrating a S&W model 617 ten-shot, with 6″ barrel. S&W also makes a 4″-barrel version of this revolver. (See: 4″ 617 Demo Video.)

2. Ruger GP100 .22 LR, 5.5″ or 4″ BBL, $829.00 MSRP

Ruger GP-100 5.5
10-Shot, Stainless Steel, 42 Oz., 5.5″ Barrel

Ruger introduced the .22 LR GP100 two years ago. Since then, it has become a good seller. This 10-shot revolver with 5.5″ barrel has a comfortable grip and triple-locking cylinder (locked into the frame at the front, rear and bottom). Many shooters like the fact that the 5.5″-barrel GP100 carries its heft more to the rear than S&W’s 6″ 617. However, we’d give the edge to the 617’s trigger. NOTE: Davidson’s also has a limited edition GP100 with shorter 4″ barrel. This Davidson’s exclusive edition 4″ GP100 is handier to carry and balances better.

3. Smith & Wesson Model 17 Masterpiece, 6″ BBL, $989.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 617 wheelgun rimfire revolver
6-Shot, Carbon (Blued) Steel, 39.9 Oz., 6″ Barrel

Smith & Wesson recently re-introduced its Model 17 Masterpiece revolver. This Blued 6-shot classic has been “re-released” with a retro-style grip. It still offers outstanding accuracy and a sweet trigger pull. For those who like the look of the original K-22 revolvers this can fill the bill. With a non-underlug 6″ barrel, this is 4.2 ounces lighter than the 6″ Model 617. The price, $989.00 MSRP, is pretty steep. It you look around you may be able to find an original K-22 for a few hundred dollars less. We’ve seen some decent examples on Gunbroker in the $700 range, but pristine K-22s are selling for over $1000 now.

4. Smith & Wesson Model 63, 3″ BBL, $769.00 MSRP

Smith Wesson Model 63 wheelgun .22 LR rimfire revolver
8-Shot, Stainless Steel, 25.8 Oz., 3″ barrel

The 8-Shot Smith & Wesson Model 63 may be one of the most versatile revolvers on the market. With a 3″ barrel, it balances well and is easy to hold. This makes this a great training pistol for a new shooter, even a junior or a lady with small hands. The latest 8-shot version offers nice big sights with fiber-optic front insert. While we consider this a great training and plinking handgun, it can also do double-duty for concealed carry. No the .22 LR won’t match the stopping power of a .357 Magnum, but better armed than not.

5. Ruger LCRx, 3″ BBL, $579.00 MSRP

Ruger LCRX LCR-X revolver polymer composite handgun .22LR rimfire
8-Shot, Steel/Aluminum/Polymer, 17.3 Oz., 3″ barrel

The new Ruger LCRx Revolver combines traditional wheelgun features with modern composite construction. The 3″ barrel and cylinder are steel. The “frame” housing the barrel and cylinder are aerospace-grade aluminum. The rear/lower section of the pistol, what Ruger calls the “fire control housing”, is made of polymer. This cuts weight and tames felt reoil. That fire control housing holds the hammer/trigger assemblies and provides a mount for the interchangeable grips. This is really a very innovative pistol. Thanks to its weight-saving features, Ruger’s LCRx is 8.5 ounces lighter than S&W’s Model 63, though both have 3″-long barrels.

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July 5th, 2017

Gun Industry Trends Revealed in Shooting Industry Magazine

Shooting Industry Magazine July 2017 NICS sales trends top manufacturers

The data-packed July issue of Shooting Industry magazine reveals key gun industry metrics — such as background checks, financial results from publicly-traded gun-makers, and the latest U.S. firearms manufacturing production data. The annual U.S. Firearms Today Report presents a comprehensive review of gun industry activity, including data on firearm production by caliber, shifts in export/import totals and the top 25 U.S. firearm manufacturers from 2015 (the latest data available).

CLICK HERE for July 2017 Shooting Industry Digital Edition »

As indicated by the ATF’s 2015 Annual Firearms Manufacturing and Export, the industry rebounded across several categories after a challenging 2014. Total firearms production increased from 8,692,461 in 2014 to 8,911,530 in 2015, growth of 2.5 percent. For the eighth year in a row, Ruger was the top overall U.S. firearms manufacturer with 1,667,820 firearms produced in 2015, while Smith & Wesson and Remington were the leading handgun and long-gun manufacturers, respectively. One notable trend is that Savage Arms significantly increased its production output compared to other leading rifle-makers.

Here are the top three rifle makers in 2015 with percentage change from 2014:

• Remington: 774,180 (-16.7%) | Ruger: 662,444 (-6.2%) | Savage Arms: 381,695 (+24.8%)

Shooting Industry Magazine July 2017 NICS sales trends top manufacturers

Gun Sales Trends in 2017 Compared to 2015
The Firearms Today Report reports that, contrary to some perceptions, gun sales remain strong: “Comparing the first five months of 2017 to 2015 (which was the second-largest year for U.S. firearms manufacturing), the industry is performing well. NICS background checks increased by 6.7 percent (from 5,427,494 to 5,793,571) from January through May 2017 compared to the corresponding months in 2015.”

The lastest issue of Shooting Industry (and all 2017 and 2016 monthly issues) can be accessed in their entirety online at www.shootingindustry.com/digital-version. CLICK HERE for July 2017 Digital Edition.

Story Lead from EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
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