December 28th, 2017

Don’t Read This Article (If You Want to Become Deaf Someday)

Hearing Protection DB sound level ear plug muff

“Science tells us that exposure to continuous noise of 85 dB for eight hours is enough to cause permanent hearing loss, and worse, spikes of 130 dB and more can result in permanent hearing damage instantly.”
Source: NRA Blog.

The Risk of Hearing Loss
Hearing loss can be progressive and irreversible. If you are a shooter, this is serious business. As the NRA Blog cautions: “You may not even realize you’re harming your hearing. Hearing loss occurs gradually, and can go effectively unnoticed until symptoms become severe. By then, the damage is done.”

Nobody wants to go deaf. But we often see shooters without effective hearing protection when they are walking around a few yards behind the firing line. That’s bad — even if you are away from the firing line, gunshot noises can damage your hearing. You MUST use effective hearing protection every time you go to the range. Good foam earplugs costs mere pennies but they can prevent deafness in your later years. Many folks also wear muffs over plugs.

Sound Levels for Common Noises:

9mm Luger pistol: 160 dB

Jet aircraft engine (near): 140 dB

.22 LR pistol: 134 dB

Normal human pain threshold: 120 dB

Noisy Nightclub: 110 db

Riding Motorcycle at 65 mph: 103 db

Power Lawnmower: 95 dB

Hearing damage possible: 85 dB (sustained for 8+ hours)

Ringing Telephone: 80 dB

Normal conversation: 60 dB

The Myth of the “Quiet” .22 LR
The NRA Blog notes that “many rimfire shooters, particularly those using the beloved .22 Long Rifle cartridge, argue that the small .22 LR caliber doesn’t produce enough sound to damage your hearing”. So, is that really true … or is it a myth?

In fact, a .22 LR can be much louder than you think — a .22 LR pistol can produce sound levels of 134 dB. That’s well above the normal human pain threshhold.

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Highest Protection NRR 34dB-Rated Ear Muffs

AccurateShooter Deals of Week NRR 34 muffs ear protection 34dB

For under $20.00 you can buy quality ANSI-approved muffs with a 34dB Noise Reduction Rating — the best you can get. Chose the Bright Yellow TR Industrial Muffs at $18.37, or the dark green Walker EXT Range Muffs for $12.11. Both products have padded head-bands which retract. Another dual-shell design with a 34dB NRR rating is the new FNova Muffs priced at just $12.99.

Howard Leight MAX NRR33 Earplugs, Just $7.50 for 50 Pairs.

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20 Pairs
50 Pairs

These Howard Leight NRR33 Max plugs are your Editor’s favorite foam earplugs. Between shooting, motorcycling and mowing lawns, I probably have Max plugs in my ears 2-3 days a week. This is a very good price for a bulk pack of 50 pairs. And if you act soon, you can get free shipping to boot.

Permalink Gear Review, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
December 28th, 2017

Magnified Service Optics — Scope Options for All Budgets

Service Rifle Presidents 100 match camp perry
In the 2016 President’s 100 Match, Match Winner Keith Stephens, runner-up SFC Evan Hess, and third-place Hugh Reich all used scopes, making for an All-Optics Podium. Both Stephens and Reich used the 1-4.5x24mm March.

Are you a Service Rifle shooter or would you like to give Service Rifle competition a try? The big news in this discipline is that magnified optics up to 4.5 max power can now be used. You can still use classic iron sights, but most serious Service Rifle competitors have moved to optics — and nearly all the “top guns” at major matches are running optics. Our friend Dennis Santiago, who is doing a long-term test of the Nightforce SR 4.5x24mm scope, says magnified optics are the future of the Service Rifle Game. If you want to win these days, you need glass.

nightforce 1-4.5x scope Service Rifle
The Nightforce SR Competition 4.5x24mm fixed-power scope retails for $1892.00.

Optics Options from $120 to $2400
You have many optics choices running all the way up to a 1-4.5x24mm March at $2338.00. But you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good optic. Our Systems Admin, Jay Christopherson, will be trying the Konus XTC-30 1-4X24mm sold by Creedmoor Sports and the CMP. Priced at $495.00, the Konus has good glass and parallax set at 200 yards. And if you want the best deal going for a Service Rifle scope, right now Cabela’s offers the Vortex Crossfire II 1-4x24mm scope for just $119.88 with Free Shipping (Promo Code 2017FREE). That’s an incredible deal on a scope that can do double-duty on your hunting rifle. This same Vortex 1-4X optic sells for $188.88 on Amazon.

Super Deal — Vortex 1-4x24mm Scope for $119.88

Service Rifle Optics Vortex Cabela's bargain cabelas Crossfire II

Service Rifle Optics — How They Will Change the Game

Under NRA and CMP Rules first promulgated in 2016, Service Rifle competitors can use a scope with up to 4.5X magnification, and 34mm max objective. This rule revision to allow magnified optics will be a game-changer says Service Rifle shooter Dennis Santiago.

Dennis explains: “Per the 2016 Rulebooks of the CMP and NRA, today’s Service Rifle is now defined to include an M-16/AR-15 variant with an optical sighting system not to exceed 4.5X magnification. So, this optic-equipped rifle goes head-to-head with the match-tuned M-16A2/AR-15A2 iron sight guns in the same class. The rules were updated to take into account that some military branches no longer train service members to shoot iron sights as their primary marksmanship method and have switched to reliance on combat optics. The rules were debated and tried in 2015 and codified at the beginning of 2016. The 2016 Nationals were the first where the old and new generation guns compete side-by-side.

Here is my personal prediction: There will be improved scores by Expert Class shooters who figure out how to work with optics jumping into Master class. At the High Master level, there may be a slight rise in numerical scores but there will be a massive jump in X-Count. EICs will remain the all-out race they’ve always been; whoever makes the fewest mistakes wins the day.”

What to Look For in a Service Rifle Optic

by Johnny Fisher
2016 brought with it a long-anticipated rule change that allows for the use of optics in Service Rifle competition. Thus far, it seems the biggest concerns that Service Rifle shooters have when considering an optic are: quality, repeatability, parallax, reticle choices, and durability.

Parallax Considerations
The vast majority of Service Rifle Rule-compliant scopes currently on the market have a fixed parallax. That means there is no separate focus knob to adjust parallax to target distance. Accordingly, there has been much concern about the potential for parallax error over the three different distances in Across-The-Course competition. It is possible that the repeatably-indexed head position maintained while shooting a Service Rifle, along with a little extra emphasis on sight alignment to ensure that the shooter’s eye is directly behind the scope, can greatly mitigate the potential effects of parallax error. [Editor: However, we have talked with a number of Service Rifle shooters. Most would like adjustable parallax. If the parallax must be fixed, they would like it set at 200-300 yards. 100 yards is too close.]

reticle service rifle reticle

Reticle Choices — Something to Consider
My Nightforce 1-4X scope has the IHR Reticle, which provides a very clear, unobstructed and simple sight picture. The IHR reticle for the NXS 1-4x24mm boasts an illuminated center cross-hair. Unfortunately, the red-color illumination is really only intended for low-light situations and is not bright enough to offer any aid to National Match shooters competing in broad daylight at stationary targets.

Editor: Unlike PRS competitors who (mostly) shoot bright-painted steel plates, Service Rifle competitors aim at traditional black bullseyes. The bullseye target design makes sense for iron sight shooters. With magnified optics you have some kind of black reticle that may not stand out at well against the black bull at 4.5 max power. You probably want to look through a number of different scopes to chose a reticle that works best for your eyes and aiming procedure.

Permalink Competition, Optics 2 Comments »