May 31st, 2019

Lyman Case Prep XPress Review with Video

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

Product Review by F-Class John
Case preparation is critical for precision reloading. One must trim cases, debur/chamfer case mouths, clean necks, spruce up primer pockets and do other important tasks. Complete case prep can involve many separate processes, each requiring its own tools. With each of those tools comes additional cost as well as the need for more storage and bench space. To make case prep easier, faster, and more convenient Lyman created the Case Prep Xpress. The Case Prep Xpress, introduced a few years back, combines up to five prep stages into one well-built, stable, versatile unit. Watch this video to see the machine in action:

The Case Prep Xpress features five (5) independently-turning spindles all with the common 8/32 thread. This allows you to attach multiple tools supplied with the unit PLUS many other screw-on prep tools. For our testing we started out using a variety of the 12 included tools and found they cover the majority of case prep tasks. Lyman supplies deburr and chamfer tools, pocket uniformers, reamers and cleaners, as well as an assortment of neck brushes.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The deburr and chamfer tools worked really well, creating beautiful bevels all while leaving a nice flat edge across the top of the neck which is critical for accuracy and brass life. We found the primer pocket cleaning tool did a good job, but for truly clean pockets we recommend using the primer pocket uniforming tool, which very efficiently removes even hard residues.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test videoLyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The benefit of having interchangeable heads is that you can add your own accessories. We like to use a bore brush with bronze wool wrapped around it for use inside our necks. This worked perfectly once we screwed it in. In fact, we couldn’t think of any 8/32-threaded accessory that wouldn’t work well on this machine. Another great design feature is how all the accessories are oriented straight up. This allows for perfect visual alignment of your cases onto the tools which is critical — especially when performing cutting operations such as primer pocket uniforming.

Along with the five power stations there are six female-threaded storage spots on the sides where tools can be placed to ensure they don’t get lost. We like this feature since there will be more than five accessories you want to use and having them easily available is a great feature. You can keep 11 tools right on the machine (5 on top, 6 on the sides). That way you don’t have to dig through storage bins.

Lyman Case Prep Xpress express chamfer clean machine center review test video

The Case Prep Xpress has a removable front bin to hold brass shavings, and there are two circular trays on either side of the bin. In front is a long tray that holds the provided brush. This makes it relatively easy to clean off brass shavings and other debris from case prep processes.

SUMMARY — Versatile Case Prep Xpress Is A Great Value
For the money, Lyman’s Case Prep Xpress is tough to beat. It performs multiple tasks well while being stable and easy-to-use. Yes there are some multi-spindle prep centers that offer variable or fast/slow RPM spindles while the Lyman’s spindles are all fixed RPM. (See, e.g. the RCBS Brass Boss). However those other systems don’t include all the convenient on-board storage of the Case Prep Xpress, and are more expensive. The Lyman Case Prep Xpress sells for $130-$150 “street price” ($129.59 at Amazon). This makes the Lyman Case Prep Xpress a great value — it offers great versatility while saving space and saving money compared to buying five or more separate, powered tools.

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May 31st, 2019

Eyeball Your Brass — How to Diagnose Flawed Cases

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in this article from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
May 31st, 2019

Five Great Items for Handgun Shooters

Jessie Harrison Pistol ammo aiming

While this site focuses primarily on accurate rifles, we know that most of our readers also own pistols (and many shoot them competitively). After rimfire pistols, probably the most popular handguns in America are 9mm semi-auto pistols. Here are five products we use with our favorite 9mm semi-autos — H&K P7M8 and SIG Sauer P226. You’ll find a great carry case, high-quality electronic muffs, a pistol “range station”, affordable 9mm ammo, and two cool training targets.

1. HQ Issue Handgun Carry Case

HQ Handgun carry case

Do you often take multiple handguns to the range? Here’s a large (16″ x 13″ x 8″) handgun hard case that will easily haul your arsenal. The HQ Issue Case can hold up to eight (8) handguns, or six with room for magazines. Since the foam is customizable, you can also use this case to carry cameras, rangefinders, binoculars, Kestrels, or other valuable hardware. While we wouldn’t drop this in the water, the case does have an O-Ring seal for water resistance, and a manual valve for pressure modulation. NOTE: This nice case is just $34.99 for Sportman’s Guide Buyer’s Club Members.

2. Impact Pro Electronic Muffs 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30

Howard Leight Impact Pro Electronic Muffs NRR 30When shooting pistols indoors we recommend quality muffs with earplugs underneath, offering double protection. When inside an enclosed range, with other shooters blasting away right next to you, you really need effective hearing protection. But you also need to hear range commands and be able to communicate with your fellow shooters. That’s why we recommend electronic muffs with plugs underneath. That gives you serious hearing protection during live fire, with the ability to hear voices and converse.

For pistol shooting, we like the latest Howard Leight Impact Pro Muffs. These offer an impressive 30 dB Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). In addition, these muffs are pretty comfortable and offer Headphone Functionality so you can connect to your smartphone, MP3 player, or other audio device. These muffs are a good value. They are currentely offered for $58.84 on Amazon.com.

3. Range Station for Pistol Shooters

Pistol Case rolling matt ammo holder handgun range kit

The Range Station combines an ammo compartment with a roll-out mat. Great idea. Some gun ranges only have concrete benches, or shooting stations with horizontal surfaces covered with dirt, powder residues, and other debris. You don’t want to put your $2000 blued Colt Python on that mess. The 12″x24″ Padded Gun Mat stays put on the counter-top and holds guns and gear. The case snaps to either the right or left side of the mat. Interior trays are sized for standard ammo boxes and magazines. Separate compartments hold smaller range gear such as rulers, pens, target markers, and more. When finished, the mat can be rolled and stored neatly and compactly in the case, which fits most range bags.

4. Sellier & Bellot 9x19mm (9mm Luger) Ammunition

Sellier Bellot Ammo ammunition 9mm luger 9x19mm

We have shot thousands of rounds of Sellier & Bellot 9x19mm Ammo through our 9mm Luger handguns. This ammo has proven very reliable, but also very cost effective. Right now Sportsman’s Guide Members can get 1000 rounds for just $167.19 — just 17 cents per round. We also favor Federal American Eagle 9x19mm ammo, which likewise offers excellent “bang for the buck”.

5. High Contrast Pistol Training Targets

pistol training target

Here are two of our favorite pistol targets. The Splatterburst 12″ x 12″ sight-in target works great for handguns in indoor ranges. Bullet holes appear as bright neon yellow halos. And the contrasting grid lines let you quickly estimate your group size. Each target has five diamonds, and the top of each diamond provides a precise aim point for your front sight. The 12″ Bullseye Pistol Diagnostic Target diagnoses common problems based on shot impact zones. While this target is designed for righties, left-handed shooters can use the target too. Just observe the opposite tips.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Handguns, Hot Deals, Shooting Skills No Comments »
May 30th, 2019

Barrels Can Yield More Velocity After 100-150 Rounds

Barrel Velocity Increase Sierra Bullets Blog Speedy Gonzalez Jim See

Editor: Many new barrels will deliver higher velocities with the same load after 100-150 rounds through the bore. The exact reasons for this speed-up are not 100% certain, and velocity increases (if any) will vary from one barrel to the next. But this “speeding up” phenomenon is common, so be prepared if this happens with your next barrel. If you do experience a significant velocity increase you should probably re-tune your load AFTER the velocity stabilizes at the higher level.

From the Sierra Bullets Blog
Article by Mark Walker, Sierra New Product Development Director
In a previous post, I discussed a couple of methods to tune a load to your barrel to help achieve the best accuracy possible. People most often work on load tuning if they get a new rifle or have a different barrel installed. In both instances, the barrel is new and has not been fired very much. According to most competitive shooters, this is the most accurate your barrel will ever be, so getting it tuned and shooting accurately is a priority.

The Speed Up Phenomenon After 100-150 Rounds
Even though after you work up a load and your new barrel is shooting great, a lot of shooters notice that at around 100 to 150 rounds their rifle may stop shooting as accurately. I had this happen to a rifle and I was confused as to why something that worked so well to begin with would all of a sudden quit shooting. I decided to break out the chronograph to do another load work up to see what was going on. To my surprise, the velocity had increased around 80 fps over the original velocity! After performing another ladder test and adjusting the seating depth, the rifle was once again shooting well.

There are several thoughts on why this may happen, however, you can rest assured that it does happen. One thought is that as the barrel breaks in, the tooling marks in the throat of the chamber smooth out and allow less resistance to the bullet as it exits the bore thereby increasing speed. Another idea is that the throat area starts to get a little rough which in turn causes more resistance which increases pressure and therefore more velocity. I’m sure there are some out there who have a better understanding as to why this happens, but it can definitely affect the accuracy of your rifle. So be aware and never be afraid to rework a load to keep your rifle in tune.

Experts Confirm That Barrel Speed-Up Is Common
Barrel Velocity Increase Sierra Bullets Blog Speedy Gonzalez Jim SeeTwo respected shooters have observed an increase in velocity with new barrels, typically after 100 rounds. Gunsmith and Hall-of-Fame benchrest shooter Thomas “Speedy” Gonzalez has documented barrel speed-up with testing. Moreover, Speedy’s bore-scope barrel inspections revealed a smoothing of the barrel lands. Jim See, a top PRS competitor, has encountered barrel speed-up many times. Accordingly, he re-tunes his load at 150 rounds.

“Alex Lipworth and I documented this phenomenon about four years ago and I have told all my customers about this. My son Mikee would shoot 100 rounds through all new barrels we planned on shooting before we would begin to do load development. We had a shooting snail that caught all the bullets set up in front of an indoor bench. We called it a wear-in process because upon careful examination of the bore when the ‘Speed Up’ takes place the cut-rifled bore resembles that more of a button-rifled barrels with the lands taking on more the softer look of a buttoned bore.” — Speedy Gonzalez

“Seen it [barrel velocity increase] too many times to count. All my match barrels get a ‘generic round’ loaded for them, which has worked well in barrels historically. After I hit 150 rounds I fine-tune the load and never look back, until the tube starts to slow down at it’s life end.” — Jim See

Barrel Velocity Increase Sierra Bullets Blog Speedy Gonzalez Jim See

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 30th, 2019

D-Day Match at Talladega Marksmanship Park

CMP Talledega D-Day Garand Match

TALLADEGA, Alabama — The Annual D-Day Anniversary Matches will be held June 6-9, 2019, at the CMP’s Talladega Marksmanship Park in Alabama. The event commemorates the Anniversary of the Allied landing at Normandy in June, 1944. In 2015, the $20-million-dollar Talledega Park celebrated its Grand Opening with its first D-Day Match. That was a great success, and the 2019 D-Day Match promises to be even better. This has become a hugely popular event — recently there were over 250 competitors. For many, this match was their first opportunity to shoot on electronic targets. That speeds up relays AND eliminates the need to do Pit Duty.

CMP Talledega D-Day Garand Match

It’s not too late to join the fun — there are still slots available for the event. You can register online. For more information, email shall [at] thecmp.org or phone 256-474-4408 ext. 414.

REGISTRATION FORM | Match PROGRAM with Rules | MAP to Facility | Online Registration

CMP Talledega D-Day Garand Match

Watch Highlights from 2017 Talladega D-Day Match:

EDITOR: Worth Watching! Guys, this nicely-produced video shows multiple disciplines (including Service Rifle, Carbine, Pistol, and Vintage Sniper) and lets you see how the electronic targets work. We highly recommend you watch this video.

Electronic Targets + No Pit Duty = More Fun
Competitors will be firing all matches on electronic targets. The John C. Garand Range has a huge firing line with monitors at all shooting stations. These connect to three banks of electronic targets positioned at 200, 300, and 600 yards. Spectators can view the results in real time on large monitors.

Talladega CMP Marksmanship Park D-Day match

INVITATION: The CMP’s John C. Garand D-Day Anniversary Match is a big event with many different competitions for rifle and pistol shooters. Along with the signature M1 Garand event, a Vintage Sniper Match, EIC Service Rifle Match, .22 Rimfire Pistol Match, EIC Service Pistol Match, and .22 Rimfire Pistol matches will be conducted.

CMP Talledega D-Day Garand Match

State of the Art Shooting Facility in Alabama
The 500-acre CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park is one of the most advanced outdoor shooting facilities in the Western Hemisphere. The facility includes a 600-yard rifle range, a 100-yard multi-purpose range, and a 50-yard pistol range, equipped with Kongsberg electronic targets and scoring monitors that allow shooters to see their shot locations/scores in a matter of seconds. Since the 54 targets at each line register hits and calculate the scores, no pit duty is required at Talladega.

Permalink Competition, News, Tactical No Comments »
May 29th, 2019

Super Shoot Top 20 GEAR — BATs, Kriegers, and Lots of Tuners

Kelbly Kelbly's super shoot benchrest 100 yard 6mm 6PPC
Firing line at 2019 Super Shoot. Photo courtesy Armeria Regina.

What components do world-class, short-range group benchrest shooters use? BAT actions, Krieger barrels, and Bix’n Andy triggers (and Jewells) are the components of choice. And barrel tuners are now widely used by the top shooters. As for powder, Vitavuori N133 is still the choice of virtually all top competitors. And yes the 6PPC definitely rules the roost. Every Top 20 shooter at the 2019 Super Shoot shot a 6PPC. Every one. Read on to learn more about the Top 20 Equipment used at this year’s Super Shoot.

Kelbly Kelbly's super shoot benchrest 100 yard 6mm 6PPC
Click Image to view FULL-SIZE Equipment List.

We recently reviewed the Top 20 Equipment List for the 2019 Super Shoot at the Kelbly’s Range in Ohio. This Top 20 List reveals the gear choices for the 13.5-lb Heavy Varmint Class and the 10.5-lb Light Varmint/Sporter Class (20 entries for each division). Here are notable gear choices for Top 20 Competitors (both divisions) at the 2019 Super Shoot:

Actions: 14 of 20 HV and 16 of 20 LV/SP shooters used BAT actions. So there were 75% BATs for both classes combined.
Barrels: 10 of 13 listed HV barrels and 9 of 12 listed LV/SP barrels were Kriegers. Overall, of the barrels identified in the Top 20 Equipment lists, 76% were Krieger. That’s dominance! [Note: We have been informed that entries with no barrel-maker listed may have been Bartlein barrels.]
Triggers: Notably 10 of 20 HV triggers were Bix’n Andy — 50%. For the other class, 7 of 19 listed triggers were Bix ‘N Andy. All others were Jewells.
Tuners: In HV Class, 12 of 20 shooters used tuners, mostly Bukys. 11 of 20 LV/SP shooters had tuners. Overall that is 57.5% tuner usage for both classes combined.

Barrel Tuner Gene Bukys Shadetree Engineering

Cartridge: For both classes, every single Top 20 competitor shot the 6PPC. ‘Nuf said.
Powders: 19 of 20 HV Shooters used Vihtavuori N133. Likewise 19 of 20 LV/SP shooters used VV N133, with one not reporting. That is total dominance for N133.

Kelbly Kelbly's super shoot benchrest 100 yard 6mm 6PPC

Bullets: There was a wide selection of bullets used in both classes. Custom bullets by “boutique” bullet makers were certainly favored by Top 20 shooters. Sta Moy 65s were popular, as were Hottenstein 68s and Bart’s bullets among others.

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Competition, Gear Review 6 Comments »
May 29th, 2019

Borescopes & Borecams — What They Reveal Inside Your Barrel

Hawkeye borescope POV lens
Lyman BoreCam borescope digital endoscope

Hawkeye borescope POV lensEvery serious shooter shoot have a borescope — whether an classic optical unit, or the newer type with digital camera and viewing screen, such as the Lyman Borecam.

A quality borescope or Borecam lets you look inside your barrel to check the effectiveness of your cleaning and determine how the barrel is wearing. To learn how a borescope can help you diagnose barrel issues, you should read a Rifle Shooter magazine feature story, What the Eye Can See.

In this article, writer Terry Wieland explains how to inspect for defects in new barrels, how to recognize different kinds of fouling (in both barrels and brass), and how to spot throat erosion in its early stages. Terry uses a Gradient Lens HawkEye BoreScope. The current generation of HawkEyes can be attached to a still or video camera to record digital images of your bore. The most interesting part of the article is on the second page. There, author Wieland provides photos of various types of internal flaws that can appear in barrels. This will help you spot pitting, excessive land wear, rust damage, and damage from corrosive primers.

Wieland notes that BoreScopes aren’t just for barrels: “The borescope has other uses as well. It can be used to examine the interior of a cartridge case to look for the beginnings of a case separation or to examine the interior of a loading die that is giving you trouble. When you consider the number of tubular objects that play such an important role in rifle shooting, it is a wonder we were ever able to function without such a method of studying bores.”

This Gradient Lens video shows how to correctly borescope your barrel:

Lyman BoreCam
CLICK HERE for REVIEW of Lyman Borecam.

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May 29th, 2019

Old Guys Rule — Bruce Piatt Wins His 6th Bianchi Cup

Bruce Piatt Bianchi Cup 2019 trophy win Open Class champion

Bruce Piatt Bianchi Cup 2019 trophy win Open Class championBruce Piatt was born in a typical 1961 suburban family, the youngest of 4 boys. Living in New Jersey, Bruce took an interest in his grandfather’s guns. Sometime around age 10 or 11, he began asking his father to take him hunting and shooting.

Fast forward five decades — Bruce Piatt is now one of the world’s best shooters, a World Shooting Championship winner, and the 2019 Bianchi Cup overall match winner. This was Bruce’s sixth Bianchi Cup Victory. Now in his late 50s, Bruce definitely proves that Old Guys Rule!

Last week Bruce Piatt won his sixth NRA Bianchi Cup National Action Pistol Championship with a 1920-179X score. He secured his latest Open Class title one year after shoulder surgery and on the 10th anniversary of his previous Bianchi Cup win. Piatt’s prior Bianchi Cup victories were in 1993, 1997, 1999, 2005, and 2009.

The Bianch Cup competition has four events: the Practical, Barricade, Falling Plates and the Moving Target. Competitors shoot all four events at varying distances and times, prone and standing, use both strong and weak hand. It is very challenging.

Commenting on the pressures of Bianchi Cup compeition, Piatt observed: “When you’re into your final stage with other competitors in contention of winning, the tension is high. That’s when I have to keep the fight between me and the targets.” Piatt added “All of my equipment ran flawlessly[.]”

Bruce Piatt 2019 Bianchi Cup Equipment
Firearm: Caspian Arms 1911 .38 Super customized for Open Division
Optics: Burris Optic Red Dot XTS-135
Bullets: Sierra 115 grain JHP
Brass: Starline .38 Super
Powder: Vihtavuori N320 Powder

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May 28th, 2019

AR Feed Failure — What Is Your Diagnosis?

AR AR15 mag magazine magpul jam misfeed short-stroking jam cartridge

Posting on the 6.5 Creedmoor Group Facebook Page, Russel T. complained that his AR magazine doesn’t like to feed that last few rounds. Russell asked: “Full magazine, no problem cycling. But with five (5) or less in the magazine… this happens. What can cause this?”

It sure looks like he could use a new magazine spring, but there may be buffer-related problems as well. Or maybe a gas system issue. What’s your call? Here are some responses posted by Facebook folks:

“Weak mag spring.” — Josh N.

“Weak mag spring or too heavy of a buffer spring.” — Justin G.

“Try a different mag, if it still jams it’s probably a gas problem, if not chuck the bad mag.” — Otto G.

“Weak mag spring or literally anything that would cause the Bolt Carrier Group to short cycle.” — Reggie W.

“I’ve had the same issue with my 300 BLK when my buffer tube came apart. It would still cycle cheap rounds fine but [not] the Hornadys. Took it apart and found the buffer tube was in pieces.” — Hunter R.

“Could be a weak mag spring or buffer spring, both at the same time.” — John S.

“As mentioned it could be a list of things. However, bolt velocity is too fast/hard and the usual (but not always) culprit is over-gassing.” — Bill F.

“Short cycle — clean and LUBRICATE the weapon.” — Mark H.

“Look to see where the brass is ejecting. That will tell if it’s an over or under gas issue. If that’s ok then look at the mag spring. See Diagram” — Teddy G.

AR AR15 mag magazine magpul jam misfeed short-stroking jam cartridge

“Weak magazine spring, I tossed four brand new ‘bargain mags’ [due to] that very problem.” — John V.E.

“May not be a weak spring or bad mag. Check out a Tubb Precision flatware spring. I swapped mine in a new rifle and solved the problem of short stroking and double feeds.” — Anthony T.

“It might be the follower as well, some designs will dip in the front/rear as rounds are expended. It’s the reason why we didn’t use some service mags with the green followers.” — Chris J.

“Weak spring… time for a new magazine…or add a 5-round block and make it a 25-round magazine. But I’m positive it’s a weak spring, which means it’s just a matter of time for failure.” — Steve M.

“Without the weapon in hand I would hate to guess….
Start with the simple stuff and go from there. Trying to diagnose a problem from a photo is just like when your wife or girlfriend tells you the car won’t start. LOL.” — Mark T.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gunsmithing, Tactical, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
May 28th, 2019

Will Carbon Build-Up Inside Cases Raise Load Pressure?

Carbon fouling case cartridge interior Pressure volume ultrasonic

As a cartridge case is reloaded multiple times, burnt powder residue and carbon builds up on the inside of the case. Unless the case interior is cleaned in some fashion, eventually you’ll see a slight reduction in case capacity. One of our Forum members from Australia wonders about the effects of reduced case capacity: “If the capacity of the case decreases as the crud builds up, then it effectively reduces the size of the cartridge (inside). Wouldn’t that change the pressure produced from that of an equivalent clean case?”

Interesting Test of Case Capacity Changes
Forum member Fred Bohl has actual test results that can help answer the above question. Fred proved that, over a 20-reload cycle, the case capacity of uncleaned cases did decline a small amount. However, surprisingly, this did not seem to affect the actual chronographed velocity of the load. Extreme Spread (ES) did increase, but Fred believes the higher ES was due to changes in case-neck tension, rather than due to the slight reduction in case capacity. Fred reports:

“Back when beginning to use ultrasonic case cleaning, part of the motivation was to get the inside clean based on the assumption that allowing burnt residue to build up inside cases would affect capacity, and, ultimately, performance. An experiment was done to test this hypothesis. The load used, 30.5 grains of RL15 behind 107gr SMKs in a 6mmBR, was selected for best group and lowest ES in prior load development. It turned out to be 92% of initial case capacity and neither “full” or compressed. (I would suspect that different powders, load weight, and total case capacity might produce very different results.)

We took 30 cases of identical initial capacity and tracked three lots of 10 each:

LOT 1: No Internal cleaning
LOT 2: Cleaned with media in tumbler
LOT 3: Cleaned with Ultrasound machine

Each case (in each lot) was shot and reloaded 20 times. The simplified results after 20 reloads of each lot were as follows:

Lot 1 (not cleaned) – 0.3 to 0.4 gr. loss of capacity, 5 to 8 fps greater ES.
Lot 2 (tumble cleaned) – 0.1 to 0.3 gr. loss of capacity, 4 to 6 fps greater ES.
Lot 3 (ultrasonic cleaned) – no loss of capacity, no detectable change in ES.

FINDINGS
There was no detectable correlation of velocity change to the lots. An oddity was that on very hot days Lot 1 velocities were, occasionally, slightly higher. From results of another ongoing test, I believe the above differences in ES are probably due more to variance in bullet grip tension than case capacity. The ultrasound cleaned cases (LOT 3) did maintain the lowest ES, but we are not 100% sure of the reasons why. More consistent bullet seating might be the reason.”

Carbon fouling case cartridge interior Pressure volume ultrasonic

Editor’s NOTE: Fred’s results do suggest that carbon build-up inside the uncleaned cases might cause a slight increase in pressure that shows up on hot days. Fred has posted that: “A local shooter reported doing the 20 reload, no-clean test on a .308 that gave a loss of capacity of 2.0 grains, doubled ES and significant velocity changes. However, I don’t have any details on his load weight or powder.” Obviously a lot of carbon can build up with 20 reloads. Many shooters retire their brass before then.

Ultrasonic Cleaning and Neck Lube
Some time ago, Jason Baney did a lengthy test on ultrasonic cleaning. Jason found that with his ultrasonically-cleaned cases, the inside of the necks got so “squeaky clean” that he needed to use dry lube in the necks. Jason uses the $10.95 dry lube kit from Neconos.com. This applies ultra-fine Moly powder to the neck using small carbon steel balls.

Neconos.com moly neck lube

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
May 28th, 2019

Not Too Late to Save — Memorial Day Sales Are Still Running

memorial day 10% off sale discount code brownells saving

Did you overlook your Memorial Day weekend shopping? There were some great bargains to be had at many of the USA’s best online vendors. But don’t fret. Many sales are still running, so you can take advantage of great sale prices. Here are SIX SALES that run through May 28th at 11:59 pm (or even later). But don’t hesitate too long.

1. Brownells — 10% Off $99+ and FREE Shipping

memorial day 10% off sale discount code brownells saving

Brownells is effectively extending its Memorial Day Sale by 24 hours. Through 11:59 PM CDT on May 28th, you can get 10% Off Orders $99+ with Free Shipping. this applies to ALL products — Use Code PTD.

2. SWFA — 10% Off EVERYTHING — Optics, Rifles, Ammo & More

SWFA 10% off sale guns ammo scopes Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovksi, Zeiss, U.S. Optics, Leupold, Leica, Nikon, Burris, IOR Valdada

SWFA carries most of the top optics brands including Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovski, Zeiss, U.S. Optics, Leupold, Leica, Nikon, Burris, IOR Valdada and more. SWFA also has a wide selection of rifles and pistols Everything in the store is 10% off through 11:59 PM CST 5/28/19. Plus FREE Shipping for $99.99+ purchases with code SHIP99.

3. Palmetto State Armory — 10% Off Guns and Ammo

Save on AR components, accessories, and ammo with Palmetto State Armory’s Memorial Day Sale running through 11:59 pm on May 28th (Tuesday). Get a stripped lower for just $39.99, or a complete lower with MagPul stock for just $149.99. There are dozens of other great deals.

4. Precision Reloading — $10 Off $100 or $30 Off $300

Through the end of the day today 5/28/19, at PrecisionReloading.com you can save $10 with Promo Code MD191 (for $100+ purchase) or $30 with Promo Code MD193 (for $300+ purchase).

5. Creedmoor Sports — Free S/H + 10% Off Creedmoor Items

The Memorial Day Sale at Creedmoor Sports is still underway. You get Free Ground Shipping and 10% Off Creedmoor-brand items. In addition, many other items are on sale.

6. Cabela’s — $10% Off Tuesday for Entire Order

This is a regular Cabela’s Promotion. Club members get 10% OFF the entire order with Code 19CLUB528. NOTE: You must be a Club Member.

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May 27th, 2019

On This Memorial Day, Remember the Fallen…

Memorial Day Quote Remembrance Holiday Soldier Veteran grave remember

Each year, on the last Monday in May, Americans honor the sacrifices of military men and women who paid the ultimate price in their service to our nation. More than one million American men and women have died in military service during wartime, including more than 666,000 battle deaths. On May 27, 2019, we again pay tribute to these men and women and remember their service to their country.

Memorial day remembrance flag ceremony

This is what Memorial Day symbolizes — a time Americans take a clear look at both our past and our future. One day each year, when we acknowledge the debt we owe to those men and women who — because they so cherished peace — chose to live as warriors.

Could anything be more contradictory than the lives of our soldiers? They love America, so they spend long years in foreign lands far from her shores. They revere freedom, so they sacrifice their own that we may be free. They defend our right to live as individuals, yet yield their individuality in that cause. Perhaps most paradoxically of all, they value life, and so bravely ready themselves to die in the service of our country. — Deborah Y. Parker

Moment of Remembrance
Memorial Day Observances will range from parades to memorial ceremonies and organized moments of silence. The Memorial Day National Moment of Remembrance honors America’s fallen warrriors. Established by Congress in 2000, the “Moment” asks Americans, wherever they are at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day, to pause for one minute, in an act of national unity and respect for the fallen.

What Is Memorial Day?
Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the country’s armed forces. The holiday, which is celebrated every year on the last Monday of May, was formerly known as Decoration Day and originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the war. By the 20th century, Memorial Day had been extended to honor all Americans who have died while in the military service.

On Memorial Day, the United States flag is traditionally raised to the top of the staff, then solemnly lowered to half-staff position until noon, when it is raised again to full-staff for the rest of the day. The half-staff position is to remember the more than one million men and women who have given their lives for this country.

Six Things Every American Should Know About Memorial Day.

Memorial Day
Flags and flower leis adorn each grave in the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in observance of Memorial Day, 1991. (U.S. Navy photo by OS2 John Bouvia, released).

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Many volunteers place an American flag on each grave in national cemeteries.

“The fallen warriors we honor on Memorial Day cherished liberty and freedom enough to lay down their lives to preserve our way of life,” said past Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “We owe them eternal gratitude and we must pass those sentiments on to future generations.”

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May 27th, 2019

TECH Tip: How to Verify Your Scope’s True Click Values

Click Optics MOA turrent verification test

Let’s say you’ve purchased a new scope, and the spec-sheet indicates it is calibrated for quarter-MOA clicks. One MOA is 1.047″ inches at 100 yards, so you figure that’s how far your point of impact (POI) will move with four clicks. Well, unfortunately, you may be wrong. You can’t necessarily rely on what the manufacturer says. Production tolerances being what they are, you should test your scope to determine how much movement it actually delivers with each click of the turret. It may move a quarter-MOA, or maybe a quarter-inch, or maybe something else entirely. (Likewise scopes advertised as having 1/8-MOA clicks may deliver more or less than 1 actual MOA for 8 clicks.)

Nightforce scope turretReader Lindy explains how to check your clicks: “First, make sure the rifle is not loaded. Take a 40″ or longer carpenter’s ruler, and put a very visible mark (such as the center of an orange Shoot’N’C dot), at 37.7 inches. (On mine, I placed two dots side by side every 5 inches, so I could quickly count the dots.) Mount the ruler vertically (zero at top) exactly 100 yards away, carefully measured.

Place the rifle in a good hold on sandbags or other rest. With your hundred-yard zero on the rifle, using max magnification, carefully aim your center crosshairs at the top of the ruler (zero end-point). Have an assistant crank on 36 (indicated) MOA (i.e. 144 clicks), being careful not to move the rifle. (You really do need a helper, it’s very difficult to keep the rifle motionless if you crank the knobs yourself.) With each click, the reticle will move a bit down toward the bottom of the ruler. Note where the center crosshairs rest when your helper is done clicking. If the scope is accurately calibrated, it should be right at that 37.7 inch mark. If not, record where 144 clicks puts you on the ruler, to figure out what your actual click value is. (Repeat this several times as necessary, to get a “rock-solid”, repeatable value.) You now know, for that scope, how much each click actually moves the reticle at 100 yards–and, of course, that will scale proportionally at longer distances. This optical method is better than shooting, because you don’t have the uncertainly associated with determining a group center.

Using this method, I discovered that my Leupold 6.5-20X50 M1 has click values that are calibrated in what I called ‘Shooter’s MOA’, rather than true MOA. That is to say, 4 clicks moved POI 1.000″, rather than 1.047″ (true MOA). That’s about a 5% error.

I’ve tested bunches of scopes, and lots have click values which are significantly off what the manufacturer has advertised. You can’t rely on printed specifications–each scope is different. Until you check your particular scope, you can’t be sure how much it really moves with each click.

I’ve found the true click value varies not only by manufacturer, but by model and individual unit. My Leupold 3.5-10 M3LR was dead on. So was my U.S.O. SN-3 with an H25 reticle, but other SN-3s have been off, and so is my Leupold 6.5-20X50M1. So, check ‘em all, is my policy.”

From the Expert: “…Very good and important article, especially from a ballistics point of view. If a ballistics program predicts 30 MOA of drop at 1000 yards for example, and you dial 30 MOA on your scope and hit high or low, it’s easy to begin questioning BCs, MVs, and everything else under the sun. In my experience, more than 50% of the time error in trajectory prediction at long range is actually scope adjustment error. For serious long range shooting, the test described in this article is a MUST!” — Bryan Litz, Applied Ballistics for Long-Range Shooting.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 9 Comments »
May 27th, 2019

‘Sights, Wind and Mirage’ in Shooting Sports USA Archives

Wind Reading Quadrant High Power

Vand Zande wind readingIn the digital archives of Shooting Sports USA, we’ve found some great features that deserve a second look. A few years back, Shooting Sports USA published Sights, Wind and Mirage, an outstanding article that explains how to judge wind speed/direction and adjust your sights accordingly. Authored by highly respected shooter Ernest (Ernie) Vande Zande, this article is a definite “must-read” for all competitive rifle shooters — even those who shoot with a scope rather than irons. Vande Zande’s discussion of mirage alone makes the article well worth reading. Highly recommended.

CLICK HERE to Read “Sights, Wind and Mirage”
by Ernie Vande Zande

Invaluable Insights from a World-Class Shooter
The article covers a wide variety of topics including Wind Reading, Mirage, Effects of Sight Canting, Quadrant Shooting, and Sight Adjustment Sequencing. Vande Zande offers many jewels of insight from his decades of experience shooting and coaching in top level tournaments. U.S. Shooting Team Leader at the 1996 Olympics, Vande Zande has set more than 200 records in National and International competition. He was the Smallbore Rifle Prone Champion at Camp Perry in 1980. An International Distinguished shooter, Ernie has been on nine Dewar teams and he was a member of the USAR Shooting Team from 1982. No matter what your discipline, if you are a competitive rifle shooter, you should CLICK HERE to read Sights, Wind, and Mirage.

Vand Zande wind reading

Permalink Competition, Shooting Skills 1 Comment »
May 26th, 2019

Bargain-Finder 192: 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.

SUNDAY Special — We normally we release our Deals of the Week on Monday. However, because there are so many Memorial Day Specials that expire Monday night (or on Tuesday), we wanted to release this Deals Edition a day early. That gives our readers more time to take advantage of these great deals.

1. EuroOptic — 20% Off Nightforce NXS Scopes Through 5/28/19

Nightforce NXS scope sale 20% Off discount Memorial day

Nightforce Optics scopes almost never go on sale. This weekend is one of those rare opportunities to acquire a Nightforce scope at a significant discount — 20% off. From May 23 through May 28, 2019, you can SAVE 20% on all Nightforce NXS scopes. This promotion covers the entire NXS line-up:

2.5-10x42mm | 3.5-15x50mm | 5.5-22x50mm | 5.5-22x56mm | 8-32x56mm

You can purchase Nightforce NXS scopes from major retailers including EuroOptic.com, Brownells, Bruno Shooters Supply, Cabelas.com, and Midway USA.

2. SWFA — 10% OFF Everything Including Optics, Ammo, Rifles

SWFA 10% off sale guns ammo scopes Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovksi, Zeiss, U.S. Optics, Leupold, Leica, Nikon, Burris, IOR Valdada

Wow — EVERYthing on the SWFA website (including big brand optics) is 10% Off now through 11:59 PM on May 28, 2019. Save on scopes, ammo, guns, and shooting accessories. SWFA carries top optics brands including Vortex, Schmidt & Bender, Kahles, Swarovski, Zeiss, U.S. Optics, Leupold, Leica, Nikon, Burris, IOR Valdada and more. If you are considering any of these brands, or a SWFA house-label optic, get over to SWFA.com. Along with a huge range of optics, SWFA also sells firearms including Howa (Legacy), Masterpiece Arms (MPA), Tikka, Ruger, Remington, Savage, and Weatherby rifles. And SWFA sells H&K, SIG Sauer, Smith & Wesson, and Walther handguns (to name a few). SWFA’s 10% Off Sale runs through 5/28/19 at 11:59 pm. NOTE: You even get FREE Shipping for $99.99+ purchases.

3. Precision Reloading — Intellidropper $189.99 with Code

powder scale dispenser chargemaster intellidropper intell-dropper frankford arsenal smart mobile app bluetooth

powder scale dispenser chargemaster intellidropper intell-dropper frankford arsenal smart mobile app bluetoothThe impressive new Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper™ powder scale/dispenser can be controlled by your mobile device. And right now you can get the Intellidropper for just $189.99 at Precision Reloading. It’s sale-priced at $199.99 but you get an additional $10.00 Off with Code MD191 Code (good through 5/18/19).

The Intellidropper features an advanced brain that can “talk” to a Mobile App on your smartphone via BlueTooth. This way you can store powder and load information on your smartphone and then control the scale/dispenser from the App. The App also has bullet, cartridge, and powder databases. The Intelli-dropper can also manually trickle.

4. Graf and Sons — 10% Off All Lyman Products

Lyman Graf's graf case prep reloading press 10% off Memorial day BoreCam Xpress

Last year, Lyman Products rolled out three great new reloading presses — an 8-station turret press, a beefy O-frame press, and a versatile C-Frame compact press. This year, Lyman introduced a cool variable-speed case trimmer along with a high-quality shooting mat. There are many Lyman products we like and use, including Reloading Presses, the Case Prep Center, the Lyman BoreCam, and the new Case Trimmer. Here’s your chance to save on the full line of Lyman Products — Grafs.com is offering 10% Off all Lyman products. For example, the Case Prep Xpress is marked down from $149.99 to $134.99. To sweeten the deal even more, if you buy at least $100 of Lyman products you get a Universal Bore Guide for FREE.

5. Natchez — 10% OFF, OR Free Hazmat, OR Free Shipping

Accurateshooter Bargain Finder Deals of Week

Natchez offers three ways to save with this Memorial Day Promotion. With a $99.99+ purchase you can either: 1) Get 10% off the purchase price; OR 2) Get FREE HazMat for primer/powder purchases; OR 3) Get FREE Shipping for your entire order. You, as the customer, decide which option saves you the most money (there are different discount codes for each offer). That FREE Hazmat is good for at least $20.00 savings, but the 10% off saves you more if you buy an item over $200.00. NOTE: Don’t delay, act soon. This triple-option promo ENDS Monday May 27, 2019 at 11:59 pm EST.

6. Midsouth — Hornady 6.5mm Bullets, $59.99 for 250

Hornady HPBT 123gr 6.5mm Creedmoor bullet sale

If you shoot a 6.5 Creedmoor or 6.5×47 Lapua in PRS or Tactical matches, these Hornady 123gr bullets may perform quite well, while saving you money. Yes the BC is a bit lower than the 140gr class of 6.5mm bullets, but these 123-grainers are accurate, and not “fussy” about seating depths. Plus you can drive them much faster than 140s, even at modest pressures. Get some H4350 or Reloder 16, and you’re good. You may be surprised that you get better accuracy, with less recoil, than the 140s. Right now with this Midsouth deal you get 250 bullets for $59.99. That’s just 24 cents each, or $24 per hundred — half what you might pay for other 6.5mm match bullets.

7. Remington — $75 Cash Back on Rem 700 Varmint Rifles

Remington Rifle Rebate 2017 summer Rem 700 varmint rifle

Right now Remington is offering $75 Cash Back on all Model 700 Varmint rifles purchased from May 1st through the end of July, 2019. Many different configurations are available. For example you can choose either a synthetic stock or a wood laminated stock. NOTE: This Rebate Offer is valid on Rem 700 Varmint rifle purchases made from 5/1/19 through 7/31/19. All requests must be postmarked by 8/31/19. Important — Firearms Consumer Rebates are MAIL-IN ONLY. You MUST include your original cash register receipt AND the barcode from your owners manual (no exceptions). CLICK HERE for REBATE FORM (PDF).

8. Mc3 Stocks — 20% Off All Mc3 Stocks with Code

McMillan Mc3 Memorial day sale 20% Off

Mc3™ Stocks is running a big Memorial Day sale. Now through May 28, 2019 ALL Mc3 stocks are available for 20% OFF with promo code Memorial19. All Mc3 stocks come from the factory with precision inletting and aluminum pillars for a precise, drop-in fit. Mc3 stocks combine field-proven designs with advanced materials to deliver a custom feel in a cost-conscious package. Visit www.MC3STOCKS.com and use promo code MEMORIAL19 at checkout to receive 20% OFF.

9. Palmetto State Armory — Memorial Day Sale on AR Stuff

Palmetto State Armory bargain discount AR15 Black Rifle Sale Memorial Day

Save on AR components, accessories, and ammo with Palmetto State Armory’s big Memorial Day Sale. Get a stripped lower for just $39.99, or a complete lower with MagPul stock for just $149.99. There are dozens of other great deals. Put the money you save into a premium barrel and first-rate optics. In addition, a wide variety of ammunition is on sale. Some of the .223 Rem ammo is so inexpensive, you may think twice about loading your own.

10. Gensec Armament — 17 HMR Rossi RB17 Rifle, $125.60

Rossi RB17 17 HMR sale rifle varmint Hornady Magnum rimfire varminter

If you enjoy hunting small varmints (such as ground squirrels), or plinking out to 200 yards, you really should get a 17 HMR. This little rimfire cartridge is very effective on small varmints and is much flatter shooting than a .22 LR. What 17 HMR to buy? Well if you’re on a tight budget, consider the Rossi RB17. This handy bolt gun boasts a nicely designed stock, a 5-round magazine, 21″ barrel, plus scope bases attached to the action. And you can get one for just $125.60! Right now the RB17 is just $125.60 at Guns Midwest. If that sells out, the RB17 is $135.99 at Gensec Armament. (Compare More Vendors).

11. Amazon — Neiko Digital Calipers, $17.85

Amazon Neiko Digital Caliper

Even if you have a good set of calipers, you may want to get one of these Neiko 01407A Digital Calipers. The #1 best-selling digital caliper on Amazon.com, this Neiko tool features a large LCD Screen and measures up to 6.0 inches. With over 3800 customer reviews, this product has earned an overall rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars. It’s hard to go wrong for $17.85, even if you just use these as a spare set for measuring group sizes and case trim lengths.

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May 26th, 2019

Sunday GunDay: Old Savage Becomes 300M Match Rifle

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

Editor: This story by Tommy C. (aka “dc.fireman”) comes from our Shooters’ Forum. It’s fascinating to see how a relatively inexpensive Savage M12 BVSS varmint rig was transformed into a sophisticated 300M match rifle with a modern chassis, Shilen barrel, and top-of-line sights. With some ingenuity, and careful parts selection, Tommy created a rifle that can compete with match rifles costing many thousands of dollars more. American ingenuity at work!

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

Savage Reborn — Old BVSS Transformed into 300M Match Rifle

by Tommy C. (aka “dc.fireman”)
So, I began the project of building a 300M International competition gun, about a year ago, intending to compete at the 300M Nationals this year in Minnesota at the Minneapolis Rifle Club. Realistically, I didn’t want to pay the price-tag demanded of the Bleikers, Grunig & Elmigers, Hammerlis, or Tanners that (infrequently) pop-up for sale from time to time. So I decided to build my own 300M Match rifle with an American action, barrel, chassis, and trigger.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Here is Tommy’s completed 300M Match rifle with Savage action in PDC Custom chassis.

I had decided on the .260 Remington (aka 6.5-08) as the caliber choice. This beat out 6.5×47 Lapua simply due to the cost/availability of brass. The .260 Rem cartridge is based on the .308 Win parent. I made my first batch of brass by necking down some Federal .308, and it worked great. [Editor: We do recommend Lapua .260 Remington brass for match purposes for those who don’t have a supply of good .308 brass.]

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

I had an older Savage M12 stagger-feed action, originally from an old .22-250 BVSS. I contacted James at Northland Shooter Supply, and he walked me through the game plan and equipment I needed: Shilen Select Match 26″ barrel, NSS Stainless recoil lug and nut, a set of Forster headspace gauges, and the NSS action wrench.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Catalog photo of current Savage M12 BVSS in .22-250 Rem.

A few months later, I replaced the original Accu-trigger with a Rifle Basix SAV-II trigger, and immediately wondered why I waited so long to do that. The Rifle Basix is perfect for my application. Mind you the he safety DOES NOT work now, but, I don’t need it for my application.

Another member on the AccurateShooter Forum sold me a BVSS stock that has been re-worked by Alex Sitman of Masterclass Stocks, and it served as a placeholder, until I could find a maker who could nearly replicate my Feinwerkbau 2700 Alu stock in my smallbore match gun.

After scouring the AccurateShooter Forum, and multiple internet searches, I found PDC Custom in Michigan. I spoke with Craig Kierstadt a few times, before finally deciding to pull the proverbial trigger on his chassis. He had a few of the older chassis stocks with spacing for the Savage stagger-feed action. He machined an Anschutz rail into the fore-end for my hand stop and sling. Then he powder-coated the chassis black, and sent it to me sans grip and butt plate.

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle
Photo of action/chassis. Tommy says: “It locks up really tightly, and you can tell Craig spent some time on the CNC work need to make this all fit.”

There are a few minor issues with the PDC chassis, but overall, I would rate this a 9.5 out of a possible 10. The price, and the features built into it, plus the ease of which everything fit together, far outweigh any minor issues. And two of the issues I quickly corrected with Teflon tape. I will need to make a walnut cheek piece — a curved one isn’t conducive to aperture iron sight shooting.

Savage Action .260 Rem 300M Match Rifle Components:

Action, Barrel, Stock, Grip
Savage M12 stagger-feed action, 4.27″ spacing
Shilen Select Match Barrel, 26″
Rifle Basix SAV-II Trigger
PDC Custom Chassis — tool-less adjustments
Bobsled SLED for single loading (required)
MEC Contact III Butt plate (German)
MEC handstop/sling swivel (German)
Walnut Target grip for AR-15 (eBay sourced)

Sight Components and Hardware
MEC Spy Long rear sight (German)
Centra front sight tunnel (German)
Centra adjustable aperture (German)
Medesha sight extension tube + collar
Champion’s Choice front sight base
Champion’s Choice mirage band

For his practice load, Tommy shot 123gr Hornady ELD-M bullets with H4831 powder and CCI BR2 primers. This load performed well — Tommy posted: “My 25-shot initial prone test today shows promise. There are five sighter shots, and 20 record shots. One of the 9s at 9 o’clock is my first sighter, the other one I own. The 8 out at 4 O’clock was a round that was difficult to chamber. My initial scoring puts me somewhere in the vicinity of 193-7X.”

300m meter Savage BVSS .260 Remington Shilen barrel Chassis prone rifle

The target used is the NRA C2, “300M International Rifle Target, reduced for 200 yards”.
The 10 Ring is 2.40″ in diameter, while the Inner 10 (X-Ring) is 1.24″.

Varget powder 300m .260 RemingtonMatch Load — Varget and Nosler Bullets
For his match load, Tommy switched to Varget and Nosler bullets: “My match load uses 37.9 grains Hodgdon Varget with a Nosler 123gr bullet. This was a recommendation by a gentleman with a lot of experience in 300M shooting.”

Tommy adds: “The amount of knowledge gained via the AccurateShooter Forum has made this all a reality, instead of just a passing thought.”

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May 26th, 2019

Six Tips for Better Results at Local Fun Shooting Matches

tip advice training prep club varmint groundhog match

Every summer weekend, there are probably 400 or more club “fun matches” conducted around the country. One of the good things about these club shoots is that you don’t have to spend a fortune on equipment to have fun. But we’ve seen that many club shooters handicap themselves with a few common equipment oversights or lack of attention to detail while reloading. Here are SIX TIPS that can help you avoid these common mistakes, and build more accurate ammo for your club matches.

Benchrest rear bag1. Align Front Rest and Rear Bags. We see many shooters whose rear bag is angled left or right relative to the bore axis. This can happen when you rush your set-up. But even if you set the gun up carefully, the rear bag can twist due to recoil or the way your arm contacts the bag. After every shot, make sure your rear bag is aligned properly (this is especially important for bag squeezers who may actually pull the bag out of alignment as they squeeze).

Forum member ArtB adds: “To align my front rest and rear bag with the target, I use an old golf club shaft. I run it from my front rest stop through a line that crosses over my speed screw and into the slot between the two ears. I stand behind that set-up and make sure I see a straight line pointing at the target. I also tape a spot on the  golf shaft that indicates how far the back end of the rear bag should be placed from the front rest stop. If you don’t have a golf shaft, use a wood dowel.

2. Avoid Contact Interference. We see three common kinds of contact or mechanical interference that can really hurt accuracy. First, if your stock has front and/or rear sling swivels make sure these do NOT contact the front or rear bags at any point of the gun’s travel. When a sling swivel digs into the front bag that can cause a shot to pop high or low. To avoid this, reposition the rifle so the swivels don’t contact the bags or simply remove the swivels before your match. Second, watch out for the rear of the stock grip area. Make sure this is not resting on the bag as you fire and that it can’t come back to contact the bag during recoil. That lip or edge at the bottom of the grip can cause problems when it contacts the rear bag. Third, watch out for the stud or arm on the front rest that limits forward stock travel. With some rests this is high enough that it can actually contact the barrel. We encountered one shooter recently who was complaining about “vertical flyers” during his match. It turns out his barrel was actually hitting the front stop! With most front rests you can either lower the stop or twist the arm to the left or right so it won’t contact the barrel.

3. Weigh Your Charges — Every One. This may sound obvious, but many folks still rely on a powder measure. Yes we know that most short-range BR shooters throw their charges without weighing, but if you’re going to pre-load for a club match there is no reason NOT to weigh your charges. You may be surprised at how inconsistent your powder measure actually is. One of our testers was recently throwing H4198 charges from a Harrell’s measure for his 30BR. Each charge was then weighed twice with a Denver Instrument lab scale. Our tester found that thrown charges varied by up to 0.7 grains! And that’s with a premium measure.

4. Measure Your Loaded Ammo — After Bullet Seating. Even if you’ve checked your brass and bullets prior to assembling your ammo, we recommend that you weigh your loaded rounds and measure them from base of case to bullet ogive using a comparator. If you find a round that is “way off” in weight or more than .005″ off your intended base to ogive length, set it aside and use that round for a fouler. (Note: if the weight is off by more than 6 or 7 grains you may want to disassemble the round and check your powder charge.) With premium, pre-sorted bullets, we’ve found that we can keep 95% of loaded rounds within a range of .002″, measuring from base (of case) to ogive. Now, with some lots of bullets, you just can’t keep things within .002″, but you should still measure each loaded match round to ensure you don’t have some cases that are way too short or way too long.

Scope Ring5. Check Your Fasteners. Before a match you need to double-check your scope rings or iron sight mounts to ensure everything is tight. Likewise, you should check the tension on the screws/bolts that hold the action in place. Even on a low-recoiling rimfire rifle, action screws or scope rings can come loose during normal firing.

6. Make a Checklist and Pack the Night Before. Ever drive 50 miles to a match then discover you have the wrong ammo or that you forgot your bolt? Well, mistakes like that happen to the best of us. You can avoid these oversights (and reduce stress at matches) by making a checklist of all the stuff you need. Organize your firearms, range kit, ammo box, and shooting accessories the night before the match. And, like a good Boy Scout, “be prepared”. Bring a jacket and hat if it might be cold. If you have windflags, bring them (even if you’re not sure the rules allow them). Bring spare batteries, and it’s wise to bring a spare rifle and ammo for it. If you have just one gun, a simple mechanical breakdown (such as a broken firing pin) can ruin your whole weekend.

Permalink Competition, Tech Tip No Comments »
May 25th, 2019

Doh! Make Sure Your Ammo Fits Your Chamber!

Ruptured Cartridge Case

If you don’t match your ammo to your chamber, bad things can happen, that’s for sure. A while back, Forum member BigBlack had an experience at the gun range that reminds us of the importance of safety when shooting. He encountered evidence that someone had fired the wrong cartridge in a 7mm WSM rifle. The problem is more common than you may think. This Editor has personally seen novices try to shoot 9mm ammo in 40sw pistols. BigBlack’s story is along those lines, though the results were much more dramatic. It’s too bad a knowledgeable shooter was not nearby to “intervene” before this fellow chambered the wrong ammo.

7mm-08 is Not the Same as a 7mm WSM
BigBlack writes: “I know this has probably been replayed a thousand times but I feel we can never be reminded enough about safety. This weekend at the range I found a ruptured case on the ground. My immediate thoughts were that it was a hot load, but the neck area was begging for me to take a closer look, so I did. I took home the exploded case and rummaged through my old cases until I found a close match. From my investigative work it appears someone shot a 7mm-08 in a 7mm WSM. Take a look. In the above photo I’ve put together a 7mm WSM case (top), the ruptured case (middle), and a 7mm-08 case (bottom).”

The photo reveals what probably happened to the 7mm-08 case. The shoulder moved forward to match the 7mm WSM profile. The sidewalls of the case expanded outward in the much larger 7mm WSM chamber until they lacked the strength to contain the charge, and then the case sides ruptured catastrophically. A blow-out of this kind can be very dangerous, as the expanding gasses may not be completely contained within the action.

Can’t Happen to You? Think Again.
This kind of mistake — chambering the wrong cartridge — can happen to any shooter who is distracted, who places even a single wrong round in an ammo box, or who has two types of ammo on the bench. One of our Forum members was testing two different rifles recently and he picked up the wrong cartridge from the bench. As a result, he fired a .30-06 round in a .300 Win Mag chamber, and the case blew out. Here is his story:

“I took two of my hunting rifles I have not used for over 25 years to the range yesterday to get new scopes on paper, a .30-06 and .300 Win Mag. I had four boxes of old Winchester factory ammo (two of each cartridge), which had near identical appearances. I accidentally chambered a .30-06 round in the Sako .300 Win Mag rifle. It sprayed powder on my face and cracked the stock at the pistol grip. If I had not been wearing safety glasses I might be blind right now.

Safety eyewear glasses
You should always wear protective eyewear, EVERY time you shoot.

“I feel lucky and am very thankful for being OK — other than my face looks funny right now. I am also grateful for learning a valuable lesson. I will never put two different cartridges on the bench at the same time again.”

READ More about this incident in our Shooters’ Forum.

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 4 Comments »
May 25th, 2019

New Carbon-Wrapped Barrels from Helix 6 Precision

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

Are you looking to shave POUNDS from your hunting rig or varmint rifle? There is a new option for folks looking for a weight-saving, carbon fiber-wrapped barrel. You’ve probably heard about Proof Research. That’s a good company that crafts good products. But now Proof Research has some competition — Helix 6 Precision in Washington State.

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

Helix 6 Precision crafts button-rifled, carbon-wrapped barrels in both conventional and “pre-fit” configurations. Pre-fits are offered for Savage rifles as well as the Ruger Precision Rifle (RPR) series. These pre-fit barrels are not cheap. A 6.5 Creedmoor RPR pre-fit costs $995.00, while the Savage pre-fits are also just under a grand. The conventional barrel blanks cost $895.00 in .224, .243, .264, .284, and .308 calibers. The larger .338 caliber barrels run $945.00.

Helix 6 Precision Barrel carbon fiber proof research

While Helix 6 barrels do offer significant weight savings, the founders of Helix 6 say low mass wasn’t the number one design goal: “Accuracy was paramount and weight reduction was secondary. We’ve taken the industry’s most advanced carbon fiber engineering and pushed the technology further with our proprietary … carbon fiber process.”

The founders of Helix 6 Precision say they build some of the best carbon/steel hybrid barrels on the market: “Our unique carbon fiber-layup design dampens barrel harmonics for better accuracy. Each barrel is cut from a 416R stainless steel core, and carbon fiber-wrapped using the Helix 6 Precision’s advanced process. This creates match-grade accuracy barrels with high heat dispersion that are 30% lighter than a steel barrel of the same contour. The bores are … hand-lapped for precision accuracy.” Helix 6 claims its barrels are “lighter, stronger, and faster cooling than anything else available on the market.”

Myth vs. Reality — What Carbon Can and Cannot Do

Carbon fiber is formed using thin strands of carbon bonded together with a plastic polymer resin. The resulting material is very strong and light weight. There’s a reason Formula 1 cars are crafted with carbon-fiber composites. But is a carbon-wrapped barrel the right option for you? Here are some factors to consider:

Weight Savings — There’s no doubt that a carbon-wrapped barrel will weigh less than an unfluted stainless steel barrel with identical length and contour (outside diameters). Helix 6 claims a 30% weight reduction compared to a conventional stainless steel barrel. That’s significant.

Accuracy — Carbon-wrapped barrels are NOT commonly being used for F-Class or Benchrest competition. However, Proof Research carbon-wrapped barrels have performed well in PRS competitions in the hands of top shooters. So, we can conclude that carbon accuracy is good enough for the PRS/NRL tactical game, at least at the local club level.

Heat Dispersion — Carbon-wrapped barrel-makers claim their hybrid design disperses heat better than an all-steel barrel. Some independent testers disagree, saying: “hold on now — the carbon actually acts as an insulator, so more heat is retained in the barrel”. The jury is still out. One thing that is true is that the carbon barrels seem to generate less mirage from barrel heat. Ask yourself, “if less heat is coming OFF the barrel, where is that heat retained?” But the reduced mirage could be a function of the black woven surface which may release heat differently than polished steel.

Standard, Pre-Fit, and Custom Barrel Options
Helix 6 Precision barrels are available as pre-fit barrels for both Savage and the Ruger Precision Rifle in many popular long-range cartridges. Barrel blanks are sold in five calibers from .224 to .338. Helix 6 can also thread and chamber a barrel for any precision rifle. Helix 6 Precision also builds one-off barrels to fit individual needs.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product 2 Comments »
May 24th, 2019

ELR Shooting at Raton, New Mexico — Out to 1.55 Miles

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 Barrett

While 100/200 yard benchrest competitors have been drilling tiny groups at the Kelbly Super Shoot this week, other folks, with MUCH bigger rifles, have been shooting at very long range in Raton, New Mexico.

This week the NRA Whittington Center at Raton hosts the Fifty Caliber Shooting Association (FCSA) annual Extreme Long Range (ELR) Record Match. Some of the most talented long-range shooters on the planet are there, including past King of Two Miles Derek Rodgers, along with his Team Global Precision team-mates Mark Lonsdale and Paul Phillips.

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 Barrett

Here is Mark preparing to shoot on the first day of the FCSA 1.5 Mile ELR Match with Paul and Derek spotting and calling wind. The cold bore 10″ gong was at 1,040 yards and all three men nailed it. From there the six steel targets ranged from 1,180 yards, up the side of the mountains, to over 2,600 yards.

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 Barrett
Site of Day 1 for the FCSA ELR match at Raton, NM. Targets at 2,300, 2,585, and 2,725 yards. Weather cleared up but wind was brutal.

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 BarrettAfter Day 1 of the FCSA 1.5 Mile ELR match, Derek was in 2nd place, Mark in 3rd, and Paul in 5th. Mark reported: “Today we had winds gusting well over 15 mph from 6 o’clock, but as they hit the base of the mountains, they created an updraft that caused shots out past 2,000 yards to go high. But just when you had that wind doped, it would switch to a gusting 9 o’clock (left to right) pushing bullets 20 feet to the right. A very challenging day but good practice for Ko2M next month.”

These gents are shooting big rigs with jumbo-sized cartridges. Mark is campaigning a .416 Barrett with Cutting Edge Bullets. Below is his ELR rifle, which features jumbo BAT action, Bartlein barrel (with brake), McMillan stock, and Nightforce scope. Mark posted: “Getting the .416 Barrett ready to shoot in the FCSA 1.5 Mile ELR Match. Weather is definitely warmer than yesterday’s match but wind is howling today.”

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 Barrett

TECH TIP — Barrel Life in the ELR Game

Mark Lonsdale posted this interesting commentary on barrel life in the ELR game: “How long a barrel lasts has a lot to do with how hot you run your loads and resultant chamber pressures, but it can also be poor cleaning technique. That said, if you are into ELR or long range precision shooting, and you shoot a lot, you need to think of match-grade barrels as a consumable item — just like the tires on your car. You change your tires when they show excessive wear, so you change your barrel when the accuracy drops off. Similarly, you buy tires that best suit your needs, street or off-road, so you buy a barrel that meets your requirements for weight, accuracy and muzzle velocity.”

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 Barrett

“Accuracy is also subjective based on the needs of the shooter. Hunting big game does not require the same pin-point accuracy as long range varmint hunting, and having fun at local club matches does not require the same accuracy as aspiring to be a national champion. With accuracy comes cost, but when compared to the cost of ELR ammo in .338, .375 or .416, a new barrel is actually an affordable consumable. Just remember, ‘the only good rifle is an accurate rifle’.”

Team Global Precision Raton New Mexico NM FCSA ELR Mile long range Whittington Center Derek Rodgers Mark Lonsdale .416 Barrett

Permalink Competition, News No Comments »