August 31st, 2017

Vortex 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle Scope Review by James Mock

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Review by James Mock
If you were charged with building a scope for F-Class or long range Benchrest, what features would you want? Vortex asked that question, received feedback from many competitors, and then set out to build a new high-magnification, zoom comp scope that would set a new “performance for price” standard.

The new Vortex Golden Eagle has features that this shooter really appreciates. It has a power range of 15x to 60x with a 52mm objective lens. Vortex has attempted to keep the weight as low as possible and the cost reasonable. My initial impression is that Vortex spared no expense in developing this scope. The “street price” for this premium scope is a reasonable $1499.00. Plus it has Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. Given its features, performance, and price, I believe that this scope will sell very well.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Here are the important features of the new 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle:

Quality Construction

Premium HD, extra-low dispersion glass
APO (apochromatic) objective lens system with index-matched lenses
XRP multi-coated lenses for max light transmission
ArmorTek extra-hard lens coating to protect lens from dust, dirt, and smudges
Fogproof and Waterproof (Argon gas purged)

Specifications

Field of View at 100 yards: 6.3 feet at 15X; 1.7 feet at 60X
Main Tube: One-piece 30mm
Length: 16.1 inches; Weight is 29.7 ounces
Objective Lens: 52mm
Eye Relief: 3.9 inches
Reticles: SCR-1 FCH; ECR-1 MOA

Testing the Golden Eagle

I recently tested a Golden Eagle with the ECR-1 reticle. On this model the Hash Marks subtend 1 MOA at 40X. There is also a fine crosshair reticle (SCR-1) available. Initial tests with the scope were done on June 28th and I was very impressed with what I saw. With a new scope I always shoot the square (box test) to test tracking and amount of movement. I shot the square today after shooting a 5-shot group at 250 yards (my longest available distance). Below is a picture of the box test target that I shot. Yes, shot #5 went through the exact same hole as shot #1.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Below is the 250-yard target I shot before doing the box test. To get to the 100-yard target, I clicked down 14 clicks (1/8th MOA) and the scope was spot on. It is really a pleasure to use instruments that do exactly what they are supposed to do. With the Louisiana mirage, I shot this orange/white target at 40X instead of the maximum 60X. I did not have any problem seeing the 6mm bullet holes at 40X. The optics in this scope are to my old eyes are as good as any that I have used (regardless of price).

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TRCompetition Test Success — Golden Eagle Delivers a Win
My next use of this scope was at our monthly 600-yard match on July 15th. It was a typical mid-July day in north Louisiana — very hot and humid with light switching winds. The mirage was terrible, but I managed to squeak out a victory with a 188/5X score out of 200/20X possible. I shot the Golden Eagle at 40X all day and it performed perfectly. No one could see bullet holes today, even with the high powered premium spotting scopes. This is a quality scope and it may be a “lucky” scope in that I did not expect a win with a 6mm Dasher barrel with 2500 or more rounds through it.

Point of Aim Test with Hood Scope Checker
I also tested the Golden Eagle for holding Point of Aim (POA). For this procedure, I used the Hood scope checker (loaned to me by Bart Sauter). To use this, one mounts two scopes side by side. Ideally one scope has proven its ability to hold POA. Here I used a Valdada 36X BR model as my control scope. It has proven over an 8-year period of time to hold its point of aim. I mounted these scopes on my BAT/Leonard 6mm PPC and adjusted each to the same point on the target.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

As one can see in the above picture, these are big scopes. After the first shot, I noticed that the reticle dot on the Vortex seemed to be about 1/8th MOA to the right of its original position. I stopped to check for ring slippage (which I had experienced in prior tests). There was no apparent slippage, so I checked the parallax and found that there was some parallax correction needed. This was probably the source of the apparent shift in point of aim, but I cannot be sure of that. I fired three more shots (checking after each) and found no shift.

Vortex Optics Golden Eagle Scope 15-60x52mm review F-Class F-TR

After testing for POA shift, I fired the remaining rounds using different aiming points. I fired 5 rounds (upper left) using the Vortex and 3 rounds to the right of those using the Valdada scope.

CONCLUSION — A Very Fine Optic at a Reasonable Price
While testing this Vortex Golden Eagle scope, I developed a real fondness for it. I appreciate its great optics, eye relief and crispness of adjustments. If I thought that this scope did not hold POA, I would use my old Valdada in the 600-yard matches in which I participate. Further testing has shown no tendency to shift point of aim.

If I am allowed to keep this scope until the fall, I am sure that I will be able to see 6mm bullet holes in the white at 600 yards. Seeing those 6mm holes is very difficult, but that is my dream for a premium high-powered scope. During the summer months in north Louisiana, the air is much too “dirty” to spot small holes at 600 yards. By October, there should be some conditions in which one can use the premium optics to see bullet holes in the white at 600.

In summary, let me say that this scope has become one of my all-time favorites because of its bright, clear images and its great reliability. If you are looking for a great long-range scope that is reasonable in cost, try the Golden Eagle from Vortex.– James Mock

Permalink Gear Review, Optics 5 Comments »
August 31st, 2017

IBS 1000-Yard Nationals in West Virginia This Weekend

Whitehorse Shooting Center WV

IBS logoThe White Horse Center Range near Peeltree, West Virginia, will host the 2017 National IBS 1000-Yard Nationals from September 1-3, 2017. This will be a great match — over 100 shooters have signed up so far, including many of the nation’s top 1K benchrest aces. It’s not too late to sign up. You can register (on-site) up until 5:00 pm on Friday, September 1. The current match fee is $90.00 per gun class, or $175.00 for both classes (Light Gun and Heavy Gun). The White Horse 1000-yard range will be open on Friday for sight-in and practice.

» CLICK HERE for IBS 2017 1000-Yard Nationals Registration Form

This record-setting offset (assymetical) Heavy Gun belongs to talented shooter Mike Gaizauskas.
IBS 1000-Yard Nationals White Horse whitehorse west virginia

2016 IBS 1000-Yard Overall (2-Gun) Champion Tom Mousel (below) will travel to West Virginia to defend his title this weekend at White Horse. Last year Tom posted a stunning 3.356″ Group Agg to win Light Gun Group as well. That’s a 1/3 MOA Agg at 1000 yards — truly remarkable precision.

Tom Mousel IBS 1000 yard national championship

The Deep Creek Tracker stock, with adjustable “keel”, is the hot ticket now in the 17-lb Light Gun class.
IBS 1000-yard nationals white horse WV

Match Schedule and Fees
Whitehorse Shooting Center MapThe 1K Nationals will be a 3-target Aggregate match for both Light Gun (LG) and Heavy Gun (HG) with six (6) targets total. Practice and Sight-in will be available Friday (9/1/2017). NOTE: There will be a $10.00 per target fee during practice days. Match fees for the Nationals are now $90 per gun ($45 per gun for juniors). All registrations MUST be received by 5:00 pm Friday, September 1st. No walk-up registrations will be accepted on match days.

How to Get There
The Center is located 9.7 miles south on State Route 20 from I-79, exit 115 or 10.1 miles north of Route 20 from Buckhannon. Look for a brown and yellow Dept. of Natural Resources sign on Route 20. Take Crouse Road to the next sign, turn right at the sign, and proceed up the hill to the Center. Map coordinates are: 39°, 7′, 11″ North latitude; 80°, 13′, 4″ West longitude. The White Horse Center website has information on area hotels and campgrounds.

White Horse Shooting Center IBS Nationals 1000 Yard

Permalink Competition, News 2 Comments »
August 30th, 2017

Great Rangefinder for Hunters — Sig Kilo 2000 under $400

Sig Kilo 2000 LRF laser rangefinder one mile

UPDATE: The Amazon price is Back up to $439.99. We told you $376.69 was a good deal!! This just proves you need to strike while the iron’s hot.

Hunting season is coming soon. That means going through your gear check-list before you head to deer country. If you don’t have a quality, compact Laser Rangefinder, here’s a great deal. The 7x25mm SIG Kilo 2000 Rangefinder is now on sale for under $380.00. This is a very accurate LRF, that ranges deer-sized targets at long distances quickly. The scan mode is fast and very effective. The unit is compact and light — a bonus for hunters.

This Sig LRF sold for $500.00 just a year ago. Now you can save 25%, with the Kilo 2000 selling for just $376.69 at Amazon, with Free Shipping. Given its performance, that’s a steal. We have tested a variety of LRFs from Bushnell, Leica, Leupold, Sig, Swarovski, and Zeiss. This Sig Kilo 2000 will run with anything in the sub-$600 price range. If you are looking for a small LRF than can fit in a shirt pocket, this Sig 2000 is a good choice. Glass is good, controls are good, ranging capability is excellent. Light-Wave DSP Technology enables the Kilo 2000 to range faster with increased accuracy. Scan mode refresh rate is an ultra-fast 4 times per second.

Read the reviews on Amazon. Virtually every purchaser gave this thing Five Stars. Here are three typical buyer reports.

SIG Kilo 2000 Verified Buyer Reviews

Five Stars: “AWESOME! Best rangefinder for the money. Easily ranges out to 1100 yards. That is the furthest I have tested it to.” (Review by Kochman, July 2017)

Five Stars: “I will review by comparing it with another 2000-yard rangefinder… a Newcon 2000 which finally broke after about 6 years. This Sig Sauer Kilo 2000 has better optics, faster readings, ranges reflective and non reflective targets farther… it’s much smaller and it’s about $150 cheaper. It has better warranty.” (Review by Hillbilly, April 2017)

Five Stars: “Challenges $3000+ Rangefinders for performance. Let me say right up front that I received zero perks, products, or considerations for the review that follows. It’s strictly the opinion of an old shooter still trying to hit groundhogs in adjacent area codes, nothing more. I’ve used laser rangefinders since they first hit the market in the early 90s and ranged all of 200 yards. I have used and owned $2K rangefinders with built-in ballistic computers.

It’s small — palm-sized. If you’re a backcountry shooter and every ounce counts, you can wear this unit around your neck all day long. In my experience and opinion, the Sig Kilo 2000 is an amazing laser rangefinder at a very reasonable price. When it comes to the raw function of a laser rangefinder, to give accurate, repeatable distance measurements within your target range, the Sig Kilo 2000 blows away anything even remotely close to it in its price range.” (Review by Verified Customer, July 2016)

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Optics No Comments »
August 30th, 2017

Shooting Tips from Top Lady Competitive Shooters

Lady Shooter advice NRABlog.com Tiffany Piper Julie Golob
Photo courtesy NRAFamily.org.

The NRABlog has interviewed seven prominent lady shooters, asking them for tips for other lady shooting sports enthusiasts, particulary new shooters. Top female competitors such as 2016 Bianchi Cup Winner Tiffany Piper and Team S&W Co-Captain Julie Golob offer good advice on competitive shooting as well as using firearms for self-defense. Read the full article here.

Here Are Some of the Top Tips from Leading Ladies:

Tiffany Piper (Action Pistol): The best piece of advice I would give is practice makes perfect. In New Zealand, we barely get enough range time with our noise restrictions so muscle memory and technique are key.muscle memory and technique are key. Study up on shooting techniques, watch YouTube videos of other professional women shooters, and try out what you see. Don’t get intimidated thinking it’s a male’s sport[.]”

Lady Shooter advice NRABlog.com Tiffany Piper Julie Golob

Julie Golob (Team S&W, 3-Gun and Pistol): “If something isn’t clear, just ask about it! Shooters are some of the best people you’ll ever meet, but we can be confusing and use a lot of shooter slang and lingo. When in doubt, ask!”

Tori Nonaka (Team Glock): “I always recommend to new shooters to first concentrate on the basics of gun safety. That way they will be more comfortable when they next learn about the particular gun…. Their confidence will grow as they familiarize themselves with their specific weapon. Then, it’s all about practice at the range.”

Corey Cogdell (Olympic Trap Shooter): “It’s empowering for women to know how to use a firearm in a sporting atmosphere as well as for self-defense. So if you are new to firearms, check out your local gun club and take a lesson! There you’ll find instructors and other shooting sports enthusiasts who will be more than willing to help you.”

Lady Shooter advice NRABlog.com Tiffany Piper Julie Golob

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
August 29th, 2017

How to Get a Garand from the CMP — Ordering Basics

CMP M1 Garand auction store
M1 Garand Springfield Armory July 1941 production. Facebook photo by Shinnosuke Tanaka.

Want an authentic surplus M1 Garand? You can get these classic battle rifles from the Civilian Marksmaship Program (CMP) through direct sales as well as auctions. If you are looking to obtain an authentic, safe-to-shoot M1 Garand, the CMP is your best bet. Each M1 Garand rifle sold by the CMP is an genuine U.S. Government rifle that has been inspected, head-spaced, repaired if necessary, and test fired for function. Each rifle is shipped with safety manual, one 8-round clip, and chamber safety flag. CMP operations, warehousing, inspection & repair, test firing, sales order processing and distribution activities are headquartered in Anniston, Alabama.

CLICK HERE for Garand Ordering Information | CLICK HERE for Garand Grading Information

M1 Garand Manufacturer Codes: SA (Springfield Armory), HRA (Harrington & Richardson Arms), IHC (International Harvester Co.), WRA (Winchester Repeating Arms)

CMP M1 Garand auction store

The federal law that established the new CMP authorizes the Corporation to sell surplus .30 and .22 caliber military rifles, parts and ammunition to qualified U.S. citizens “for marksmanship”. Accordingly, the CMP sells government-surplus M1 Garands, .22 caliber target rifles, and small quantities of other rifles to qualified purchasers.

CMP M1 Garand auction store

How to Order an M1 Garand from the CMP
To purchase an M1 Garand through the CMP, you must be an adult U.S. Citizen, who is a member of an affiliated organization, and who has participated in a “Marksmanship Activity”*. This basically meas you need to join a a gun club and participate in a clinic or match. Proof of club membership and citizenship is mandatory for all ages. However, the marksmanship requirement is waived for those over 60 years. Garands must be ordered by mail or through official CMP Auctions. Orders are filled on a first-come, first-serve basis. Rifles of all grades are packed for shipment purely by “luck of the draw”. Most orders ship within 2-4 weeks. If price has changed after an order has been received, customers will be notified before new prices are charged. Free Shipping except Puerto Rico and P.O. Boxes. CLICK HERE for ordering information.

M1 Garands at CMP Retail Store in Anniston, Alabama.
Garand CMP Sales

CMP Garand Sale

Garands are Going Up in Value
In the past ten years, the M1 Garand, regardless of condition, has become a hot collectors’ item and sound financial investment. The popularity of the M1 Garand continues to grow as hundreds of new Garand “Fun” Matches are being held all across the USA each year.

Over the past 65 years, most M1 rifles have been arsenal rebuilt, refinished, rebarreled or repaired at least once and often several times. Most will show signs of service (often considerable) and replacement of various parts. They are seldom encountered with all original parts and original finish as delivered from the manufacturer. Such “original” rifles, even in well-used condition, are highly prized by collectors.

Download CMP Catalog
The CMP Catalog lists and describes the current rifles and accessories available.

CMP Garand Sale

State Legal Compliance
IMPORTANT: If your State or locality requires you to first obtain a certificate, license, permit, or Firearms Owner ID card in order to possess or receive a rifle, you must enclose a photocopy of your certificate, license, permit, or card with the application for purchase. Rifle shipments to WA, NY and NJ must be made to a state licensed dealer. You must provide a copy of the dealer’s license with your order form. (As a result of CT Bill 1160 and Bill 13-220) Rifle shipments to CA must be made to a State licensed dealer or may be made to individual homes, providing that a CA Certificate of Eligibility and a Curio and Relic License are provided. Rifle shipments to WA & CT must be made to licensed or dealer or may be shipped directly to the customer if a C&R license is provided.

WA, NY, NJ and CT customers who have already mailed their rifle orders to CMP should provide custserve@thecmp.org with dealer information or order cancellation instructions. Information can also be faxed to 256-835-3527 or mailed to CMP Customer Service, (Attn: FFL Order), 1401 Commerce Blvd., Anniston, AL 36207.


* You must provide proof of participation in a marksmanship-related activity or otherwise show familiarity with the safe handling of firearms and range procedures. Proof of marksmanship participation can be provided by documenting any of the following:

• Completion of a marksmanship clinic that included live fire training (provide a copy of the certificate of completion or a statement from the instructor).
• Participation in a rifle, pistol, air gun or shotgun competition (provide copy of results bulletin).
• Certification from range or club official or LEO witnessing shooting activity.
• Completion of a Hunter Safety Course that included live fire training.
• Firearms Owner Identification Card that includes live fire training.
• Current or past military or law enforcement service.
• Distinguished, Instructor, or Coach status.
• Concealed Carry License.
• FFL or C&R license.

Permalink - Articles, Competition 3 Comments »
August 29th, 2017

NSSF Safety Video: “How to Talk to Your Kids”

Gun Safety Julie Golob NSSF Video

The National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) has produced a very useful educational resource, a video explaining “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety”. The video, starring champion shooter Julie Golob, encourages parents to have “the talk” about firearm safety with their kids sooner rather than later, and provides tips for how to have a helpful discussion.

“As a mother, I know full well how challenging this conversation can be,” Golob said. “It’s crucial that parents set an example and teach their kids about firearm safety so children don’t learn about guns solely from what their friends say or what they see on video games and TV.”

“Too often, children don’t know what to do if they find a gun,” said Steve Sanetti, President and CEO of NSSF, which developed and sponsors the Project ChildSafe firearm safety education program. “This video opens a door for honest conversation and empowers parents to be the authority on gun safety for their kids, whether they have guns in their homes or not.”

The “How to Talk to Your Kids about Firearm Safety” video was created as a resource to start positive and constructive conversations by encouraging discussion rather than lecture, and helps parents responsibly demystify the subject of guns. For more information, visit Projectchildsafe.org.

Permalink - Videos, Shooting Skills No Comments »
August 28th, 2017

Bargain Finder 101: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

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, optics, 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. EuroOptic.com — 12% Off Vortex Scopes, Spotters, LRFs

Eurooptic.com Vortex bargain sale 12% discount

EuroOptic.com is running a special sale this week on a wide selection of Vortex products, including some of the most popular competition scopes, such as the 15-60x52mm Golden Eagle. CLICK HERE to see all the deals. Do your own comparison shopping. You’ll see Eurooptic’s prices are excellent — you can save hundreds on some models. There are over 80 Vortex products on sale, including comp scopes, hunting scopes, tactical scopes, red dots, spotting scopes, and laser rangefinders.

2. Amazon — 34 dB Noise Rating Ear Muffs, $17.45

34dB NRR 32 hearing protection earmuffs

These 34 dB NRR earmuffs provide excellent sound protection without being too heavy and bulky. At at $17.45, they are a great bargain. The lower section of the muff is trimmed for a narrower profile — that helps with rifle and shotgun stocks. The headband is adjustable and has comfortable padding. These Pro For Sho Muffs have earned a 4 1/2 star consumer rating, with over 1,600 Amazon customer reviews. NOTE: These fit pretty tight. If you have a very large hat size you might want a different brand.

3. Lyman — $25.00 Off Top-Selling Products

Lyman rebate mail-in borecam cyclone powder measure, Case Prep Xpress

Rebate Ends August 31, 2017!

With Lyman’s Summer Rebate, you can now get $25.00 Off five of Lyman’s top-selling products: BoreCam, Case Prep Xpress, Gen6 Powder Dispenser, Cyclone Rotary Tumbler, and AutoAdvance Target. With Lyman’s Summer Mail-In Rebate Program, you can earn a $25 rebate per select item bought from any Lyman dealer, online or direct from the Lyman website. Items must be purchased no later than August 31, 2017 to qualify. CLICK HERE for the Rebate Redemption Form.

4. Natchez — Special 5 Reloading Press Kit, $199.99

RCBS Special 5 Reloading Kit

Looking for a great holiday gift for a family member getting started in metallic cartridge reloading? This RCBS Kit has everything a new reloader needs: single-stage press, powder measure, scale, powder trickler, priming tool, cartridge tray, “rocket” chamfer tool, case lube and more. This is an excellent entry-level reloading kit, on sale for just $199.99 at Natchez Shooters Supplies. We like the relatively compact Special 5 press for most reloading duties. Eventually you may want to add an additional, large heavy press, but this will get the job done. For the combined package, with all the tools one needs to hand-load quality ammo — this is a stunningly good deal at $199.99.

5. Amazon — Weaver T-Series 36x40mm Scope, $449.95

Weaver Classic T-Series 36x40mm scope

Benchrest Matches have been won (and many records set) with 36X Weaver T-Series optics. Our friend Boyd Allen observed “You can pay three or four times as much for a scope but not necessarily be more competitive — a 36X front objective Weaver is enough to win with…” The Classic T-Series Weaver has proven to be one of the most reliable high-magnification scopes ever made. The “old-fashioned” adjustable objective works well and the Weaver Micro-Trac turret system delivers precise and repeatable elevation and windage control. You can also save money on rings since the main tube is 1″ diameter. The Weaver T-36 with 1/8 MOA clicks and Target Dot reticle costs $449.95 at Amazon.com with free Prime Shipping.

6. Amazon — RCBS Quick-Change Powder Funnel Kit, $9.99

Amazon RCBS Powder funnel quick kit

This versatile funnel system works with nearly all cartridge types, from 17 Remington up to 500 S&W. Even if you have a fancy metal funnel, it’s worth having one of these RCBS Kits on your reloading bench. The RCBS Quick Change Powder Funnel Kit features five (5) adapters that match case mouth diameter for specific cartridge ranges: 17-20 caliber, 22-264 caliber, 27-284 caliber, 30-375 caliber, 40 caliber and higher. The Funnel Kit includes a handy 4-inch drop tube. Price is $9.99 at Amazon with free shipping on orders over $25 total.

7. American Eagle Pistol Ammo, 25% OFF Manufacturer Rebate

Federal Premium American Eagle handgun pistol ammo ammunition sale rebate 25% off

Rebate Ends August 31, 2017!

Here’s a great Rebate offer from Federal Premium Ammunition. Now through August 31st, you can get 25% OFF the cost of Federal American Eagle brass-cased pistol ammo. We’ve used this ammo in .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP and we can say it’s good stuff — very reliable and cleaner that some other less-expensive brands. Midsouth Shooters Supply has qualifying American Eagle Ammo in a variety of calibers: .25 ACP, .380 ACP, 9mm Luger, .38 SPL, .357 SIG, .357 Magnum, 40 S&W, .44 Rem Magnum, .45 ACP. Midsouth’s American Eagle Ammo starts at $13.03 for 50 rounds of 9mm Luger. The 25% OFF Rebate reduces the price to just $9.77 per 50-ct box. CLICK HERE for Rebate Form.

8. CDNN — Smith & Wesson Model 617 10-Shot Revolver, $679.99

This Editor’s first really accurate handgun was a Smith & Wesson model 617 that could easily stack ten shots in a dime at 10 yards. It remains my favorite and most-used handgun, and I will never part with it. What can we say about the model 617? Every serious gun guy should own one. The single-action trigger pull is superb, and the accuracy surpasses most any semi-auto rimfire pistol, except for a few, very, very expensive target pistols. We like the 6″ version for the longer site radius, but the 4″-barrel 617 is also very accurate, and it balances better. CDNN’s $679.99 sale price may seem like a lot of money, but MSRP is $829.00 and most dealers are charging $750.00 or more for a new 6″-barrel 617. Get one — you won’t regret it.

9. Home Depot — 72″ Wood Workbench for $77.62

Folding Wood Work Bench Home Deport Reloading

This patented Home Depot workbench assembles in a few minutes. Simply unfold the legs, pop in the shelf, and you are ready to start your project. Made from Premium 2×4 Hemlock fastened with glue and screws, this workbench is a great value. The bench (72″ wide x 35″ high x 22″ deep) can easily be stored when not in use. NOTE: The wood is unfinished (can be painted or stained).

10. Amazon — 630 1″-Diameter Target Spots, $9.65 Delivered

Amazon target dots discount free shipping sight-in target

We use 1″-diameter Target Spots for sight-in and practice at 100-300 yards. These bright red/orange self-adhesive dots are easy to see. At 100 yards the high-contrast black diamond centers provide precise aiming points. We found this 10-pack of target spots on Amazon at a rock-bottom price. You get 630 total stick-on dots for just $9.65 with FREE Shipping. You can also get 360 Birchwood Casey 1″ dots from Midsouth for just $3.15, but shipping is extra. If you’re already ordering something from Midsouth, you may want to add the dots to your order.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
August 27th, 2017

Berger Southwest Nationals 2018 — Registration Opens

Berger Bullets SWN SW Nationals Southwest Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona

Registration has opened for the 2018 Berger Southwest Nationals at the Ben Avery Range in Phoenix, Arizona. This is a GREAT match, the best in the West by far. The match runs February 5-11, 2018. By all means, attend if you can. The Grand Agg filled up last year, so we recommend you register soon.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger’s SWN team reports: “Registrations for the 2018 Southwest Nationals open on Sunday, August 27th, at 6:00 am (PST). CLICK HERE for the Match Program (it is also available on the Desert Sharpshooters website and Berger Bullets website). We are also moving to an online registration this year, and entry fees will be paid online. Please note that due to our capacity limitations, each stage of the match is listed as a separate event. Please be sure to enter each of the stages you plan to participate in. This will allow us to include as many people as possible. If you have any questions, send email to michelle.gallagher [at] bergerbullets.com.”


2018 SWN Match Program PDF | 2018 SWN Online Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Rekindle Old Friendships and Meet New Friends
Some shooters come to to the SW Nationals for the swag (the prize table is amazing). Others come for the sunshine (think warm 75-85° weather). And even more folks come to try out their shiny new toys and to test their skills against the nation’s best shooters.

But we’d say the number one reason most folks make the pilgrimage to Ben Avery every year is the camaraderie — the chance to connect with friends, rekindling connections that may go back decades. Fundamentally, then, the Berger SWN is about the people. For many of us, this is the only time of the year when we get a chance to meet fellow shooters from distant corners of the USA (and other nations).

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Compete Against the Best
If you want to test your mettle against some of the best shooters in the world, get yourself to Ben Avery in February. Here you can compete, shoulder to shoulder, against the best Sling and F-Class shooters on the planet. Guys like Derek Rodgers (newly-crowned F-TR World Champion), John Whidden (reigning Long Range National Champion), Nancy Tompkins (the first women to win the National High Power Championship), and Kenny Adams (past World F-Open Class Champion). If you want to play in the Big Leagues, Ben Avery is the place. Having said that, novice shooters will enjoy the experience as well, because you’ll find that these top shooters are (almost universally) happy to share their knowledge.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Just to whet your appetite, here are videos from recent Berger SW Nationals. Yes, this match is as much fun as it looks!

Berger SW Nationals 2017

The North-by-Southwest team set new National Records in winning the 2017 F-TR team event.
Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger SW Nationals 2016

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger SW Nationals 2015

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

The Brain Trust — Experts Galore
The best minds of the shooting world come to Ben Avery every year. Got a question about ballistics? Well, Ballistics Guru Bryan Litz (photo below) will be happy to answer your questions between relays. Want some expert advice about wind reading? Seek out Mid Tompkins (usually found hanging around the club-house) or Emil Praslick, one of the most knowledgeable wind coaches on the planet. And if you have a gunsmithing question, you’ll find some of the top barrel-fitters and stock makers, including Doan Trevor and Gary Eliseo.

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Berger Southwest South West SW Nationals Ben Avery Phoenix Arizona F-Class Palma Registration

Permalink Competition, News 6 Comments »
August 27th, 2017

Controlling Grip on Bullet — Why Bushing Size is Only One Factor

case neck bushing reloading die tension bullet release

Many novice hand-loaders believe that neck bushing Inside Diameter (ID) size is the only important factor in neck tension. In fact, many different things will influence the grip on your bullet and its ability to release from the case neck. To learn the ins and outs of neck tension, take some time and read this article carefully.

Neck Tension (i.e. Grip on Bullets) Is a Complex Phenomenon
While we certainly have considerable control over neck tension by using tighter or looser bushings (with smaller or bigger Inside Diameters), bushing size is only one factor at work. It’s important to understand the multiple factors that can increase or decrease the resistance to bullet release. Think in terms of overall brass-on-bullet “grip” instead of just bushing size (or the internal neck diameter in non-bushing FL dies).

Bullet grip is affected by many things, such as:

1. Neck-wall thickness.
2. Amount of bullet bearing surface (shank) in the neck.
3. Surface condition inside of neck (residual carbon can act as a lubricant; ultrasonic cleaning makes necks “grabby”).
4. Length of neck (e.g. 6mmBR neck vs. 6mm Dasher).
5. Whether or not the bullets have an anti-friction coating.
6.The springiness of the brass (which is related to degree of work-hardening; number of firings etc.)
7. The bullet jacket material.
8. The outside diameter of the bullet and whether it has a pressure ridge.
9. Time duration between bullet seating and firing (necks can stiffen with time).
10. How often the brass is annealed.
11. Amount (length) of neck sized (e.g. you can size only half the neck).
12. Interior diameter of bushing, or neck section of non-bushing die.

— and there are others…

One needs to understand that bushing size isn’t the beginning and end of neck tension questions, because, even if bushing size is held constant, the amount of bullet “grip” can change dramatically as the condition of your brass changes. Bullet “grip” can also change if you alter your seating depth, and it can even change if you ultrasonically clean your cases.

Redding neck bushingsIn our Shooters’ Forum a reader recently asked: “How much neck tension should I use?” This prompted a Forum discussion in which other Forum members recommended a specific number based on their experience, such as .001″, .002″, or .003″. These numbers, as commonly used, correspond to the difference between case-neck OD after sizing and the neck OD of a loaded round, with bullet in place. In other words, the numbers refer to the nominal amount of interference fit (after sizing).

While these commonly-used “tension numbers” (of .001″, .002″ etc.) can be useful as starting points, neck tension is actually a fairly complex subject. The actual amount of “grip” on the bullet is a function of many factors, of which neck-OD reduction during sizing is just one. Understanding these many factors will help you maintain consistent neck tension as your brass “evolves” over the course of multiple reloadings.

Seating Depth Changes Can Increase or Decrease Grip on Bullet
You can do this simple experiment. Seat a boat-tail bullet in your sized neck with .150″ of bearing surface (shank) in the neck. Now remove the bullet with an impact hammer. Next, take another identical bullet and seat it with .300″ of bearing surface in another sized case (same bushing size/same nominal tension). You’ll find the deeper-seated bullet is gripped much harder.

PPC lapua brassNeck-Wall Thickness is Important Too
I have also found that thinner necks, particularly the very thin necks used by many PPC shooters, require more sizing to give equivalent “grip”. Again, do your own experiment. Seat a bullet in a case turned to .008″ neckwall thickness and sized down .003″. Now compare that to a case with .014″ neckwall thickness and sized down .0015″. You may find that the bullet in the thin necks actually pulls out easier, though it supposedly has more “neck tension”, if one were to consider bushing size alone.

In practical terms, because thick necks are less elastic than very thin necks, when you turn necks you may need to run tighter bushings to maintain the same amount of actual grip on the bullets (as compared to no-turn brass). Consequently, I suspect the guys using .0015″ “tension” on no-turn brass may be a lot closer to the guys using .003″ “tension” on turned necks than either group may realize.

Toward a Better Definition of Neck Tension
As a convenient short-cut, we tend to describe neck tension by bushing size alone. When a guy says, “I run .002 neck tension”, that normally means he is using a die/bushing that sizes the necks .002″ smaller than a loaded round. Well we know something about his post-sizing neck OD, but do we really have a reliable idea about how much force is required to release his bullets? Maybe not… This use of the term “neck tension” when we are really only describing the amount of neck diameter reduction with a die/bushing is really kind of incomplete.

My point here is that it is overly simplistic to ask, “should I load with .001 tension or .003?” In reality, an .001″ reduction (after springback) on a thick neck might provide MORE “grip” on a deep-seated bullet than an .003″ reduction on a very thin-walled neck holding a bullet with minimal bearing surface in the neck. Bushing ID is something we can easily measure and verify. We use bushing size as a descriptor of neck tension because it is convenient and because the other important factors are hard to quantify. But those factors shouldn’t be ignored if you want to maintain consistent neck tension for optimal accuracy.

Consistency and accuracy — that’s really what this all about isn’t it? We want to find the best neck tension for accuracy, and then maintain that amount of grip-on-bullet over time. To do that you need to look not only at your bushing size, but also at how your brass has changed (work-hardened) with time, and whether other variables (such as the amount of carbon in the neck) have changed. Ultimately, optimal neck tension must be ascertained experimentally. You have to go out and test empirically to see what works, in YOUR rifle, with YOUR bullets and YOUR brass. And you may have to change the nominal tension setting (i.e. bushing size) as your brass work-hardens or IF YOU CHANGE SEATING DEPTHS.

Remember that bushing size alone does not tell us all we need to know about the neck’s true “holding power” on a bullet, or the energy required for bullet release. True bullet grip is a more complicated phenomenon, one that is affected by numerous factors, some of which are very hard to quantify.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 5 Comments »
August 26th, 2017

17 HMR Spotlight — Affordable Ammo and Accurate Varmint Rifles

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Everyone should own a rifle chambered for the 17 HMR. This is an inherently accurate cartridge, with minimal recoil. The 17 HMR, loaded with 17- or 20-grain bullets, is effective on small varmints well past 150 yards. The ballistics are way better than the .22 LR and .22 WMR. There are also a variety of good factory rifles available, including Savage’s innovative A17, now available in a nice, thumbhole laminated stock. And most importantly, the ammo is becoming more affordable. You can now get good 17 HMR ammo for under twenty cents per round.

The laminated thumbhole stock version of the Savage A17 is a great carry-around varminter.
Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfire

Savage A17 varmint rifle 17 hmr rimfireThere are great deals to be had right now on 17 HMR — you can pick up a 50-round box for under $9.00. A couple seasons back you might have to pay $12-$15 for the same stuff. The best deal we’ve found is at Midsouth Shooters Supply, which has Hornady 17 HMR ammo loaded with 17-grain V-Max bullets, for just $8.69 (17.4 cents/round).

Here are other current good deals, as found with the WikiArms.com ammo search engine:

Federal 17 HMR, 17gr TNT (50 rd), $8.99 at Outdoor Limited
CCI 17 HMR, 17gr V-Max (50 rd), $9.49 at Outdoor Limited
Hornady 17 HMR, 20gr XTP (50 rd), $9.99 at Outdoor Limited.
CCI 17 HMR, 20gr Game Point (50 rd), $10.24 at Bud’s Gun Shop

Volquartsen 17 HMR dustin ellermann

A while back we tested a variety of 17 HMR ammo types in a pair of 17 HMR rifles, a Ruger 77/17 and a Volquartsen (above), chronographing the ammo samples in both guns. Here are our chrono test results.

17 HMR data chrono chronograph

Dustin Ellermann (past Top Shot Champion) has tested both normal and subsonic 17 HMR ammo in another Volquartsen rifle. He got the best accuracy with the CCI-brand A17 ammo, which is optimized for the Savage A17 rifle. This impressive 100-yard group was shot with A17 ammo:

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Dustin 17 HMR CCI suppressed ammo ammunition

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting 3 Comments »
August 26th, 2017

Great Resource for Airgunners — Air Rifle Buyer’s Guide

Air Rifle book olympic

We like air rifles both for fun shooting and for competition. However, so many options are now available that is easy to get over-whelmed with the choices. Thankfully, there is a good book that helps air rifle shooters make informed decisions about air guns and gear. Steve Markwith’s new title, Air Rifles: A Buyer’s and Shooter’s Guide offers a wealth of useful information. This 154-page paperback book is now available for $12.95. The book is also offered as a FREE Kindle download for Amazon Prime and Kindle Unlimited members. Check it out — you may be able to get the book for free.

Steve Markwith Air Rifle Pneumatic airgun book Amazon.com Free downloand

This is a very informative book explaining the ins and outs of air rifles, their capabilities and limitations. I highly recommend this book to anyone considering purchasing an air rifle for marksmanship practice or small game hunting.” – L. Stanek, Verified Amazon Reviewer

Read Free Sample Chapters Online
If you go to Amazon.com and click on the cover of this book, you can view a FREE preview with extensive samples from many chapters. The book covers all the most important types of air rifle systems, both pre-charged pneumatics and other self-charging guns. Markwith reviews the wide variety of pellets available, offering suggestions for particular applications. You’ll also find a useful discussion of Airgun Power, Range, and Accuracy. This will help you pick the right air rifle for your application.

Markwith explains the many attractions of airguns. They are not considered firearms (in most jurisdictions) so they can be purchased at local shops or mail-order outlets without FFL fees or background checks. You’ll find a huge online selection of airguns at PyramydAir.com that can ship direct to you — no FFL required. Air rifles are also quiet and very inexpensive to shoot. While .177 and .22 caliber air rifles are most common, there are also larger-caliber airguns offered for hunting or special applications.

Steve Markwith Air Rifle Pneumatic airgun book Amazon.com Free downloand

Permalink Gear Review, News 1 Comment »
August 25th, 2017

The Joy of Vintage Rifle Shooting… CMP Report from Perry

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP
Brian Williams set a new National Match record for the National Vintage Military Rifle Match. After the match, he posed with his two sons, Andrew and Collin Williams.

Story based on report by Ashley Brugnone, CMP Writer
The CMP Games attract hundreds of competitors to Camp Perry each summer. Among the many CMP rifle events, the matches for vintage rifles (Garand, Springfield etc.) are hugely popular. This year Brian Williams set a new National Record with his K-31 Swiss in the National Vintage Military Rifle Match, firing a score of 294-13X. Williams broke the previous record of 293-4X, which had stood since 2010.

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP
K-31 Swiss rifle photo courtesy AIMSurplus.com.

PVT Sammy Richardson Wins 3-Gun Agg (Springfield, Garand, Vintage Military)
Also breaking the existing record but finishing second place was PVT Sammy Richardson (U.S. Army Reserve) with a score of 293-11X. Richardson also won the National Springfield Match with a score of 296-12. PVT Richardson fired a stellar combined score of 779-28X in the Springfield, Vintage Military, and John C. Garand matches. With these outstanding performances, Richardson won the overall 3-Gun Aggregate title, an impressive accomplishment.

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP

Vintage Sniper Rifle Match Draws Big Crowd

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP

The Vintage Sniper Match was again one of the most popular matches at the CMP Games at Camp Perry. Team Hard Leg 1, with members Paul Patel and Terrence McCoy, won the match with a score of 397-20X. That was just one point shy of the Vintage Sniper Rifle Match record in the bolt-action division. Also noteworthy — the father and son duo of John D. Mitchell and John C. Mitchell recorded a 372-7X score to capture the semi-automatic class with their M1-D rifle.

Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP

COMMENT: It’s great to see a father and son shooting together… and winning together. In how many sports can a father and son be actual team-mates? This is one of the great things about CMP matches, and the shooting sports in general. Both young and old shooters can compete side by side.

The CMP Games appeal to shooters of all ages, young and old alike.
Vintage Military Rifle Springfield Sniper Rifle K-31 Carbine Match Camp Perry CMP

Carbine Match Was a Family Affair — The Stout Clan
Mark, Mark II, and Connor Stout have made their names known in the Carbine Match, earning high honors for the past few years. In the As-Issued Carbine event, Mark Stout, 48, of Waterford, MI, topped the match for the second consecutive year with a National Record total score of 380-7X. His son, Mark Stout II, 19, was the High Junior of the event for the second time, with a score of 342-3X. Younger brother Connor Stout, 15, finished as the fourth overall junior. Next year, Mark II will compete as an adult against his father, leaving the High Junior spot up for grabs for Connor.

Garand Match Shortened by Storms
Due to bad weather, the John C. Garand Match was condensed from a 3-stage event to only two — removing the standing portion. Winning the Garand Match was Stephen Skowronek with a score of 199-11X. Stephen shot great, dropping only one point in the slow-fire prone series. Skowronek had previously won the event in 2005 and looks forward to coming to the Games Matches each year with his father and a group of fellow marksmen from their Pennsylvania gun club.

CLICK HERE for complete list of CMP Games Results

Visit the CMP Zenfolio page for more photos: http://cmp1.zenfolio.com/f308381592.

Permalink Competition, News 5 Comments »
August 25th, 2017

Creedmoor Sports Offers New “Scope Kennel” Scope Protector

Creedmoor sports scope kennel scope protector ar16 dennis demille

New Creedmoor “Scope Kennel” Padded Rifle Scope Protector
Creedmoor Sports has developed a deluxe scope protector that looks good. Made with thick padding and heavy webbing, this can definitely help shield expensive optics from impact damage or scrapes, protecting your investment.

The new Creedmoor Scope Kennel padded rifle scope protector fits any scope shorter than 13 inches, and protects your rifle scope while you’re on the range, stowing your rifle in a gun safe, or working on/cleaning your rifle. As you can see, the cover allows the use of an Empty Chamber Indicator.

The Scope Kennel is securely held in place by two heavy-duty adjustable straps, and is available with either Velcro closures or buckle closures. Made from tough 1000-dernier Cordura (with a soft, lined interior), this cover is offered in your choice of 24 different colors (e.g. tan, camo, red, blue, green) for $59.95. Made in the USA by Creedmoor’s own fabric wizards, the Scope Kennel can be customized with your name embroidered on the sides. The Scope Kennel was designed specifically for AR-platform rifles, but you can call 800-273-3366 to order for other types of rifles.

To demonstrate the strength of the Scope Kennel, Creedmoor GM Dennis DeMille did a pull-up with a red Scope Kennel hooked on a fork-lift blade.

Creedmoor sports scope kennel scope protector ar16 dennis demille

Permalink Gear Review, New Product 4 Comments »
August 24th, 2017

Burris Signature Zee Rings — Low Cost, High Performance

Burris Signature Zee rings

Burris Signature Zee ringsMore and more folks are using Burris Signature Rings these days. These unique rings feature polymer inserts. That allows you to pre-load some elevation in your scope set-up, or you can center-up the windage. Additionally, the polymer inserts hold your scope securely without leaving marks on the tube. Lastly, some folks believe that Signature rings may offer advantages for benchrest competition. Rodney Wagner shot the best 600-yard group in history using Burris Signature Zee Rings (“Zee” denotes the Weaver-rail model). James O’Hara set multiple IBS 1000-yard records using Burris Signature Zee Rings. James will tell you he thinks “all his guns seem to shoot best with these rings”.

Records Have Been Set with Signature Zee Rings
Are Signature Zees good enough for competition? Absolutely. Some folks scoff at these Burris rings, given their low price. A set of 1″-diameter Sig Zees cost just $38.79 at Grafs.com. But consider this, Rodney Wagner shot the smallest 600-yard group in history, a 0.336″ 5-shot stunner, using Signature Zee Rings on his IBS Light Gun. Here’s a photo of Rodney showing the record-setting rifle, outfitted with affordable Signature Zee 30mm rings.

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Vendors Have Burris Signature Rings in Stock Now
A quick search of webstores shows that various models of Burris Signature Rings are available from many vendors. NOTE: You may have to check with more than one seller to get the exact size, height, and model you prefer. But right now these vendors have pretty good selections of Signature Zees, including the hard-to-find 30mm High and Extra High models. If you check all three sellers, you’ll probably find what you need.

Midsouth Shooters Supply Grafs.com Bruno Shooters’ Supply

Signature Zee Rings Burris

Permalink Competition, Optics 12 Comments »
August 24th, 2017

Are These Really the TEN BEST Bolt-Action Rifles?

Ten 10 best bolt action rifles shooter

A while back, RifleShooter online magazine published a list of the purported Ten Best Bolt-Action Rifles of All Time. Ten classic rifle designs (including the Remington 700 and Winchester Model 70) were featured with a paragraph or two explaining their notable features.

“Best” Lists Stir Controversy…
These Top 10 lists are always controversial. While most readers might approve of half the entries, there are always some items on the Top 10 list that some readers would challenge. Here is RifleShooter’s Top 10 list. What do you think? Are there some other bolt-actions that are more deserving?

1. Springfield M1903
2. Mauser 98
3. Winchester Model 70
4. Remington Model 700
5. Weatherby V

6. Sako L61/AV
7. Savage Model 110
8. Ruger M77
9. Tikka T3
10. Mannlicher-Schonauer

10bolt1402.

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing 18 Comments »
August 23rd, 2017

Shooting USA Spotlights Texas Benchrest Varmint Silhouette

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

If you like accurate rifles and reactive targets, you’ll enjoy this episode of Shooting USA TV, which features long-range varmint silhouette competition in Texas, the Lone Star State. We have participated in these kind of matches on the West Coast — they are definitely a ton of fun. The sport combines the pure accuracy of benchrest competition with the fun of knocking down critter targets. These are smaller than standard silhouettes, so it’s quite a challenge to hit them at 300 yards and beyond. In this episode, host John Scoutten competes with his 6.5 Creedmoor PRS rifle. He found that 1-MOA Coyotes offered plenty of challenge at 385 meters! Most shooters use benchrest-grade rifles with premium front rests.

EDITOR: We strongly recommend you take the time to watch this Shooting USA feature — it shows some top-flight benchrest rifles, and also covers the origins of benchrest varmint silhouette in Pennsylvania. There are even some AccurateShooter Forum members on screen. John Scoutten also does nice job explaining the challenges of shooting this discipline with a PRS rig. We think any benchrest or tactical shooter will really enjoy watching this video.

Full 48-Minute Episode of Shooting USA featuring TX Varmint Silhouette:

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

Travis Frazier of Field & Cave Outfitters says shooters love the reactive targets: “The most exciting thing is seeing your hits — these [targets] really go airborne”. Yep, that’s the best thing about Varmint Silhouette matches — hits deliver instant gratification. Travis designs and produces these steel targets.

This Texas match features multiple target shapes, 10 at each distance: Tiny Prairie Dogs at 200m, 3″x3″ Armadillos at 300m; 3″x5″ Coyotes at 385m; 5″x4″ Hogs at 500m; Chickens (on swingers) at 600 yards; and Pigs (on Swingers) at 750 yards. Competitors are allowed 10 rounds and 10 minutes to hit each set of targets.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

BONUS Features in this Shooting USA Episode

Rimfire Challenge World Championship
This episode also includes the Rimfire Challenge World Championship in Alabama (starting at 33:25). This event attracts hundreds of shooters who ring steel with .22 LR rifles and pistols. This may be the ultimate fun match for the whole family. Many of the top shooters are juniors, who can run the all-steel stages in three seconds. The 16 stages each have 5 to 8 steel targets that can be shot in any order, but the last round must go on the red-marked “Stop Plate”.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten

History of the Gun: Remington 700
This week’s gun history segment of Shooting USA features the Remington 700, one of the most successful bolt-action rifles ever, with over 5 million produced. The Rem 700 has served hunters, military marksmen, and Rem 700 actions have been used for countless competition rifles.

Shooting USA TV show varmint silhouette Texas benchrest Travis Frazier John Scoutten.

Permalink - Videos, Competition, Hunting/Varminting, Tactical No Comments »
August 23rd, 2017

Seventy Years of Sierra Bullets — The Company History

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket
Here is the original Sierra manufacturing facility in Whittier, CA.

On August 22, 2017 it was announced that Sierra Bullets has been sold to Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ: CLAR), a Utah-based holding company that also owns Black Diamond Equipment Ltd., makers of ski and mountain gear/apparel. Given the importance of this acquisition, we thought our readers might want to learn more about Sierra’s history, and how it makes its bullets…

Sierra Bullets — How It Got Started

Report Based on Story by Carroll Pilant, Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager
What became Sierra Bullets started in the late 1940s in a Quonset hut in California. In 1947, three aircraft machinists, Frank Snow, Jim Spivey, and Loren Harbor, rented machine space to produce rivets for the aircraft industry along with fishing rod guides and rifle front sight ramps. In the post-WWII years, sport shooting was becoming hugely popular, but quality ammunition was in short supply. For shooting enthusiasts, reloading was the solution to the ammo supply shortage. Snow, Spivey, and Harbor recognized this, creating Sierra Bullets to help fill the void. Before long, they were selling a 53-grain match bullet to the Hollywood Gun Shop. These bullets are still in production today as the Sierra #1400 53-grain MatchKing.

A few years later, an accomplished competitive shooter named Martin Hull joined Sierra. Hull helped develop new bullet types and served as manager of Sierra’s ballistics laboratory for nearly 20 years. With Hull’s help, Sierra’s output grew rapidly. The California company outgrew several locations before it moved to a large facility in Santa Fe Springs, CA, in 1963.

New Owners and New President in the Late Sixties
In 1968, the Leisure Group bought Sierra Bullets. Other Leisure Group companies included Lyman Reloading, High Standard Manufacturing Company, Yard Man, Thompson Sprinkler Systems, Flexible Flyer Sleds, and Dodge Trophies (Which made the Oscar and Rose Bowl Game trophies).

Soon after purchasing Sierra, the Leisure Group hired Robert Hayden as President and General Manager. Hayden was a mechanical engineer who had worked for Remington Arms. Hayden remained the president of Sierra for 42 years, retiring in 2012 when Pat Daly became president.

Sierra Moves to Missouri
In 1990, Sierra relocated to Sedalia, Missouri, where the company remains today. Sierra Bullets now employs over 100 people including five full-time ballistic technicians who answer daily reloading and firearms questions by both phone and e-mail.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

The Making of MatchKings — How Sierra Produces SMKs

All Sierra bullets begin life as a strip of gilding metal, an alloy consisting of 95% copper and 5% zinc. To meet Sierra’s strict quality requirements, the gilding metal requires three times more dimensional and quality control standards than is considered standard in the copper manufacturing industry.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

A blanking press stamps out a uniform disc and forms the cup that will be drawn into the MatchKing jacket. The cup is then polished and sent to a draw press to be drawn into a jacket that is longer than needed for the future MatchKing, thus allowing for the trim process. Press operators constantly check concentricity to make sure we have only quality jackets. The jackets then go to a trimmer where they are visually inspected again.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

After being polished a second time, the jacket travels to the bullet press. In the meantime, 80-pound lead billets are being extruded into lead wire for the cores where great care is taken so that the core wire is not stretched. The core wire is lightly oiled before continuing to the bullet press to be swaged.

The lead core wire and trimmed jacket meet at the bullet press where the first stage forms a boattail on the jacket. The lead core is then formed on top of the bullet press and fed down into the jacket. In one stroke of the press, the MatchKing is formed.

Sierra Bullets Carroll Pilant MatchKing Bullet SMK Bullet-making Jacket

Quality control technicians pull samples from each lot of MatchKings to make sure they meet Sierra’s stringent standards. Samples are then sent to Sierra’s 300-meter underground test range (shown below) to be shot for accuracy on mechanical mounts referred to as “unrestricted return to battery rests” that Sierra designed and built in-house.

Sierra Underground Tunnel test facility Sedalia, Missouri

Sierra bullet sale Clarus Corporation

After inspection, the bullets are placed in the familiar green box along with reloading labels. They are then shrink-wrapped and shipped all over the world.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo 2 Comments »
August 22nd, 2017

Sierra Bullets Sold to Clarus Corporation

Sierra Bullets Acquired Sold Clarus Corp. Black Diamond

Sierra Bullets has been acquired by Clarus Corporation (NASDAQ: CLAR) for the sum of $79,000,000, “subject to a post-closing working capital adjustment”. Sierra is one of the world’s leading producers of bullets for hunters, sportsmen, and target shooters. With revenues topping $30,000,000 per year, Sierra has long been a major force in the firearms world. Clarus, formerly Black Diamond Inc., is a Utah-based holding company which “seeks opportunities to acquire and grow businesses that can generate attractive shareholder returns”. Clarus also owns Black Diamond Equipment, Ltd., maker of outdoor equipment/clothing for the climbing, skiing and mountain sports markets.

Read Official Press Release » | Forum Discussion of Sierra Sale »

StreetInsider.com reports: “The transaction is expected to be immediately accretive to Clarus’ earnings per share. For the unaudited 12 months ended June 30, 2017, Sierra’s total revenues were approximately $32 million with EBITDA of approximately $12.5 million, representing a purchase price multiple of approximately 6.3x EBITDA. Sierra has a strong cash flow profile, generating free cash flow conversion of approximately 95% with limited ongoing capex requirements.”

“The team at Sierra has continued building on a 70-year legacy dedicated to the highest-level of precision in design, world-class manufacturing and quality control,” said Warren B. Kanders, executive chairman of Clarus. “These attributes have cultivated a diverse customer base of enthusiasts and industry OEMs that drive high recurring revenue and strong cash flow, which we expect to maximize through the utilization of our net operating loss carry forwards.”

Sierra’s President Pat Daly commented: “Our team takes great pride in developing and manufacturing the most precise and accurate bullets in the world. This is supported by our deep institutional knowledge of highly-specialized manufacturing processes that have produced leading products and created a significant competitive advantage. As the only pure-play bullet brand, it was important for us to partner with a team that shares our values and commitment to excellence, and we are excited to join the Clarus family. I look forward to staying on to continue driving our brand growth.” All senior management are expected to remain with Sierra under Clarus’ ownership.

Sierra Bullets

About Sierra Bullets
Founded in 1947 in California, Sierra Bullets is an American manufacturer of bullets. Based in Sedalia, Missouri since 1990, Sierra manufactures a wide range of bullets for both rifles and pistols. Sierra’s product line, recognized by iconic “green box” packaging, includes popular brands such as MatchKing, GameKing, and BlitzKing. Sierra bullets are used for precision target shooting, hunting, and defense purposes. For more information, visit SierraBullets.com.

News Tip from Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News 4 Comments »
August 22nd, 2017

How To Calculate True Elevation Changes with Burris Sig Rings

Burris signature rings inserts

Burris Signature Rings with polymer inserts are an excellent product. The inserts allow you to clamp your scope securely without ring marks. Moreover, using the matched offset inserts you can “pre-load” your scope to add additional elevation. This helps keep the scope centered in its elevation range while shooting at long range. Additionally, with a -20 insert set in the front and a +20 insert set in the rear, you may be able to zero at very long ranges without using an angled scope base — and that can save money. (To move your point of impact upwards, you lower the front of the scope relative to the bore axis, while raising the rear of the scope.)

Burris Signature Rings

Insert Elevation Values and Ring Spacing
People are sometimes confused when they employ the Burris inserts. The inset numbers (-10, +10, -20, +20 etc.) refer to hundredths of inch shim values, rather than to MOA. And you need the correct, matched top/bottom pair of inserts to give you the marked thousandth value. Importantly, the actual amount of elevation you get with Burris inserts will depend BOTH on the insert value AND the spacing between ring centers.

Forum member Gunamonth has explained this in our Shooters’ Forum:

Working with Burris Signature Rings
Burris inserts are [marked] in thousandths of an inch, not MOA. To know how many MOA you gain you also need to know the ring spacing. For example, with a -20 thou insert set in the front and a +20 thou insert set in the rear, if the ring spacing is 6″, the elevation change will be approximately +24 MOA upwards.

Here’s how we calculate that. If you have a 2 X 0.020″ “lift” over a distance of 6 inches (i.e. 0.040″ total offset at 0.5 feet) that’s equivalent to 0.080″ “lift” over 12 inches (one foot). There are 300 feet in 100 yards so we multiply 0.080″ X 300 and get 24″ for the total elevation increase at 100 yard. (Note: One inch at 100 yards isn’t exactly a MOA but it’s fairly close.)

Here’s a formula, with all units in inches:

Total Ring Offset
——————– X 3600 = Change @ 100 yards
Ring Spacing

(.020 + .020)
—————– X 3600 = 24 inches at 100 yards
6

NOTE: Using the above formula, the only time the marked insert offset will equal the actual MOA shift is when the center to center ring spacing is 3.60″. Of course, you are not required to use 3.60″ spacing, but if you have a different spacing your elevation “lift” will be more or less than the values on the inserts.

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August 22nd, 2017

The Evolution of the Modern F-TR Rifle

F-TR Rifle laminated stock X-Ring Borden Action SEB Joy-Pod
A carpet is used up front for smoother tracking with the Joy-Pod’s flat, ski-style feet. The arms of the Joy-Pod were painted to match the stock. The rear bag features low-drag material on the ears.

The F-Class World Championships recently concluded in Canada. Our friend Derek Rodgers won the individual F-TR Championship using a rifle with a McMillan Xit stock and Kelbly F-Class Panda action. If you’re wondering what a modern F-TR competition rifle looks like, here is a new F-TR build from Forum member DM.Oakes.

F-TR Rifle laminated stock X-Ring Borden Action SEB Joy-Pod

Modern F-TR Rig with Borden Action, Krieger Barrel, and SEB Joy-Pod
This handsome .308 Win F-TR rig features a smooth-running Borden BRM action, 30-inch 1:10″-twist Krieger barrel, and an X-Ring Laminated Wood stock. Up front is a coaxial “Joy-Pod” joystick bipod. This is a state-of-the art, wide footprint bipod used by many competitors at the Worlds in Canada. The long joystick allows the “driver” to quickly adjust both elevation and windage in a smooth, continuous motion. The Joy-Pod can be adjusted so it will hold setting during the shot — you don’t have to “hard-hold” the joystick. Many shooters let the joystick slide through their fingers as the rifle moves back on recoil. With a little practice (and careful placement of the rear sand-bag), the tracking is excellent and you can slide the gun right back to point of aim after each shot.

Action: Borden BRM
Trigger: Blue-printed Jewell BR
Barrel: Krieger 30″ / 4-Grove / 1:10″ twist (.30 Cal)
Chamber: .308 Winchester with 0.170 Freebore
Stock: X-Ring Laminated F-Class
Scope: Nightforce 12-42x56mm Competition
Potential Name: Blue Thunder

F-TR Rifle laminated stock X-Ring Borden Action SEB Joy-Pod
This F-TR rifle is shown during load testing with a LabRadar chronograph.

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