October 2nd, 2019

$50 Teslong Borescope Works Great — Full Review with Videos

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection

Review by F-Class John
Do you know what the inside of your barrel looks like? Borescoping is a great way to diagnose a barrel problem or evaluate your cleaning regimen. Conventional optical borescopes work great but are expensive. Low-cost digitial borescopes have been on the market for a while, but many have have lacked the resolution necessary to get the job done properly. Enter the Teslong rifle borescope. We set out to see whether this new electro-optical borescope, priced at just $49.99, could do the job of conventional optical borescopes that might cost twenty times as much. We concluded that this little device is pretty amazing…

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection

Here is an actual video captured with the Teslong borescope owned by Forum member DMoran. This is the inside of a Howa factory .223 Rem Barrel:

Setting Up and Using the Teslong Borescope
The Teslong borescope comes in a handy, zippered case* with a mesh pouch on one side and an elastic strap on the other to help secure the cords. The unit employs two different cables. One is a flexible USB A/V cable which also thoughtfully comes with a USB/USB-C converter as well. The other piece is the mirrored borescope which is attached to a flexible but fairly rigid cable. The first thing I noticed is the generous length of the combined cable. Since the unit needs to be connected to a computer or other compatible device, the long cable allows you easily scope the entire length of your barrel while you keep your computer at a distance. I appreciated the way this works because it allowed me to continue cleaning my gun and checking the barrel without worrying about getting any cleaning supplies on my computer.

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection
NOTE: The Teslong borescope we purchased from Amazon in September came with the storage case shown. We’d been informed that some recent shipments have omitted the case.

Plug and Play — With Impressive Resolution and Image Quality
Once the unit is plugged into the computer all I had to do was open my photo program and the Teslong activated and displayed the bore image. For Windows at least, there are no Apps to install or anything else to do other than plug it in. Once it’s plugged in you simply slide the unit into your bore and start looking. The angled mirror along with the integrated light allows for easy viewing of the lands and grooves with little to no need for focal adjustment. I ran the scope down some newer barrels as well as one of my oldest, burned-out barrels and I was shocked at the detail and resolution I saw. Rust, copper, carbon and fire-cracking really popped out. If I was assessing barrel cleaning effectiveness, I could easily see how levels of fouling are being removed. I will use my Teslong to capture photos of my next barrel in brand new condition. Then I can reference those “Day 1″ images each time I clean that barrel.

As an owner of a Hawkeye and another digital borescope, both of which are fairly expensive, I have to admit I was skeptical of a borescope that costs a mere fifty bucks. But frankly, I was amazed at the image quality. Look for yourself. These are actual Teslong photos I took while inspecting one of my barrels.

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection

Teslong digital endoscope borescope windows android Mac video screen barrel inspection
NOTE: This is a fire-forming barrel that was not cleaned for 500 consecutive rounds.

Read Reviews from Teslong Borescope Buyers

Want to know what other Teslong owners think? You can read over five pages of Teslong Rifle Borescope comments and reviews by our Forum members in AccurateShooter’s Teslong Forum Thread.

Here are actual statements by Forum Members and Amazon purchasers

“Received mine last week, incredible quality for the price.” — PhilC

“There’s a couple of threads discussing these borescopes. It actually has the 45 degree mirror so that you can see the everything much better than with a standard endoscope.” — Mark W

“Most firearm borescopes are expensive… The Teslong Rifle Borescope is currently the best affordable borescope you can buy. With the Teslong Rifle Borescope I’m able to see the fire cracking in my rifle’s bore. I definitely recommend purchasing.” — Amazon Purchaser

“The price is right and the quality is first-rate. Plugs into USB-A or Micro USB port on PC, Mac, or Android (it doesn’t work with iPhones). Takes pics or HD video, stored using either native camera software or their Teslong Camera program. It has a very close focus necessary for a borescope. Other commercial ‘endoscopes’ may be the same diameter, but they have a 2- to 5-cm focal distance, making it difficult to use in a barrel and useless for 90 degree viewing except in, say, a 105mm howitzer. Probe diameter is 0.20 in/5.0 mm diameter and is ideal for use on .223/5.56. The removable 45° mirror allows viewing chamber walls and barrel lands/grooves up close and personal.” — Jim Schmidt

“I have tried it out on my 6.5mm and .223 rifles and it performed way beyond my expectations once you know how to focus it. Also, I have a Samsung Android and neither the USB plug nor the additional adapter would fit my phone (I thought). Teslong customer service reps told me that the plug for my phone is actually a part of the standard plug that comes with the unit. Heck, all I had to do was flip the male end of the plug down! Also, there is a light intensity adjustment on the little box-looking thing that is a part of the cable. It’s really small and easily overlooked.” — Barrbqn (Amazon)

F-Class Nationals Competitors Try the Teslong — And Then Place Orders
I gave the Teslong a pretty thorough testing on my bench at home, but I was also able to test it while attending the 2019 F-Class Nationals. It hooks up easily to a laptop (either Windows or Mac). It will also work with an Android tablet or smartphone (but not yet with an iPad or iPhone). I set the Teslong up for some fellow competitors to test. Each time someone stuck it in their barrel there was a collective gasp when they saw how clear and detailed the picture was. It wasn’t long before everyone in our housing unit wanted to try it.

Interestingly, one of the fellows in our housing pulled out the exact same unit. It turned out he loved it just as much as we all did. What really told me it was a keeper is when several of the people who also own Hawkeyes or other borescopes ordered a Teslong as soon as they were done playing with it. On a side note, we also ended up using it to look inside a seating die, inside a disassembled bolt, and under a refrigerator. I’m sure there are countless other uses for the Teslong.

CONCLUSION — Impressive Product — You Won’t Be Disappointed
The bottom line is that there isn’t anything on the market that can compete with this little gem anywhere near its $50 price point. I would say that if you’ve put off buying a borescope because of price or quality concerns this is the unit to buy — you won’t be disappointed. In the video below I show how to use the Teslong in your rifle. The Teslong Borescope is available right now for $49.99 on Amazon.

Software Functionality (Apps and/or Operating System)
Windows 7/8/10 or later (Desktop or Laptop Computer)
1. Use Windows Camera, the built-in Camera software of Windows10, only for Win10.
2. Use Teslong camera software or AmCap software

Android 4.4+ (Tablet or Smartphone)
Use Teslong Camera App, CameraFi, or USB Camera App

Mac OSX 10.6+ (Desktop or Laptop Computer)
Use Photo Booth or QuickTime Player

Notice: This Teslong model does NOT support iPhone and iPad! Teslong says: “WiFi version of the rifle borescope supporting iPhone and iPad is under development, and coming soon.”

Teslong vs. Conventional Optical Borescope (Such as Hawkeye)
The Teslong is not perfect. It does have some shortcomings when compared to a conventional optical borescope such as the Hawkeye. A borescope with a long, rigid metal shaft is easy to rotate within the bore. Therefore you can quickly inspect all 360 degrees inside the barrel. By contrast, the Teslong has a flexible cable that you have to twist to rotate the lens. That works, but it’s not as easy. Additionally, in a large-diameter bore, the 5mm-wide Teslong tends to flop to the low side. Again, with a Hawkeye, it is easy to maintain a constant distance to the bore wall.

Forum member Ned Ludd explains these considerations in a Forum post: “The [Teslong] is designed to fit into a .22 Cal bore. As such, there is quite a bit of play (lateral movement) of the camera head in a .30 Cal bore as you twist the cable to swivel it around 360 degrees. This is largely caused by the angle of the cable as you spin it, which is not perfectly concentric to the bore. This is not an issue of concern in a much more expensive borescope with a purpose-built swivel mechanism.”

That said, we still think the Teslong is a great device, well worth the money ($50 vs. $850+ or so for a Hawkeye). The cable rotation isn’t that big a deal, with a little practice. Overall, for regular visual inspections of your barrels, with easy photo/video capture, the Teslong is hard to beat for the price.

*The Teslong borescope we ordered from Amazon and tested came in the black, zippered case shown in the top-most photo. We have been informed that some Teslong units have recently shipped with NO case. We do not know if cases will be provided in the future.

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Optics 8 Comments »
October 2nd, 2019

Four Vital Ammo Checks — Avoid Big Problems at the Range

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Here’a useful article by Sierra Bullets Media Relations Manager Carroll Pilant. This story, which originally appeared in the Sierra Blog, covers some of the more common ammo problems that afflict hand-loaders. Some of those issues are: excessive OAL, high primers, and improperly sized cases. Here Mr. Pilant explains how to avoid these common problems that lead to “headaches at the range.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

I had some gentlemen at my house last fall getting rifle zeros for an upcoming elk hunt. One was using one of the .300 short mags and every 3rd or 4th round would not chamber. Examination of the case showed a bulge right at the body/shoulder junction. These were new cases he had loaded for this trip. The seating die had been screwed down until it just touched the shoulder and then backed up just slightly. Some of the cases were apparently slightly longer from the base to the datum line and the shoulder was hitting inside the seating die and putting the bulge on the shoulder. I got to thinking about all the gun malfunctions that I see each week at matches and the biggest percentage stem from improper handloading techniques.

One: Check Your Cases with a Chamber Gage

Since I shoot a lot of 3-gun matches, I see a lot of AR problems which result in the shooter banging the butt stock on the ground or nearest solid object while pulling on the charging handle at the same time. I like my rifles too well to treat them that way (I cringe every time I see someone doing that). When I ask them if they ran the ammo through a chamber gage, I usually get the answer, “No, but I need to get one” or “I didn’t have time to do it” or other excuses. The few minutes it takes to check your ammo can mean the difference between a nightmare and a smooth running firearm.

A Chamber Gauge Quickly Reveals Long or Short Cases
Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Size Your Cases Properly
Another problem is caused sizing the case itself. If you will lube the inside of the neck, the expander ball will come out a lot easier. If you hear a squeak as the expander ball comes out of a case neck, that expander ball is trying to pull the case neck/shoulder up (sometimes several thousandths). That is enough that if you don’t put a bulge on the shoulder when seating the bullet … it can still jam into the chamber like a big cork. If the rifle is set up correctly, the gun will not go into battery and won’t fire but the round is jammed into the chamber where it won’t extract and they are back to banging it on the ground again (with a loaded round stuck in the chamber). A chamber gage would have caught this also.

Bad_Primer_WallsOversizing cases also causes problems because the firing pin doesn’t have the length to reach the primer solid enough to ignite it 100% of the time. When you have one that is oversized, you usually have a bunch, since you usually do several cases at a time on that die setting. If the die isn’t readjusted, the problem will continue on the next batch of cases also. They will either not fire at all or you will have a lot of misfires. In a bolt action, a lot of time the extractor will hold the case against the face of the breech enough that it will fire. The case gets driven forward and the thinner part of the brass expands, holding to the chamber wall and the thicker part of the case doesn’t expand as much and stretches back to the bolt face. If it doesn’t separate that time, it will the next time. When it does separate, it leaves the front portion of the case in the chamber and pulls the case head off. Then when it tries to chamber the next round, you have a nasty jam. Quite often range brass is the culprit of this because you never know how many times it has been fired/sized and in what firearm.’Back to beating it on the ground again till you figure out that you have to get the forward part of the case out.

Just a quick tip — To extract the partial case, an oversized brush on a cleaning rod [inserted] and then pulled backward will often remove the case. The bristles when pushed forward and then pulled back act like barbs inside the case. If you have a bunch of oversized case that have been fired, I would dispose of them to keep from having future problems. There are a few tricks you can use to salvage them if they haven’t been fired though. Once again, a case gage would have helped.

Two: Double Check Your Primers

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

Another thing I see fairly often is a high primer, backwards primer, or no primer at all. The high primers are bad because you can have either a slam fire or a misfire from the firing pin seating the primer but using up its energy doing so. So, as a precaution to make sure my rifle ammo will work 100% of the time, I check it in a case gage, then put it in an ammo box with the primer up and when the box is full, I run my finger across all the primers to make sure they are all seated to the correct depth and you can visually check to make sure none are in backwards or missing.

Three: Check Your Overall Cartridge Length

Trying to load the ammo as long as possible can cause problems also. Be sure to leave yourself enough clearance between the tip of the bullet and the front of the magazine where the rounds will feed up 100%. Several times over the years, I have heard of hunters getting their rifle ready for a hunt. When they would go to the range to sight in, they loaded each round single shot without putting any ammo in the magazine. On getting to elk or deer camp, they find out the ammo is to long to fit in the magazine. At least they have a single shot, it could be worse. I have had hunters that their buddies loaded the ammo for them and then met them in hunting camp only to find out the ammo wouldn’t chamber from either the bullet seated to long or the case sized improperly, then they just have a club.

Four: Confirm All Cases Contain Powder

No powder in the case doesn’t seem to happen as much in rifle cartridges as in handgun cartridges. This is probably due to more handgun ammo being loaded on progressive presses and usually in larger quantities. There are probably more rifle cartridges that don’t have powder in them than you realize though. Since the pistol case is so much smaller internal capacity, when you try to fire it without powder, it usually dislodges the bullet just enough to stick in the barrel. On a rifle, you have more internal capacity and usually a better grip on the bullet, since it is smaller diameter and longer bearing surface. Like on a .223, often a case without powder won’t dislodge the bullet out of the case and just gets ejected from the rifle, thinking it was a bad primer or some little quirk.

Sierra Bullets Reloading Blog Matchking Carroll Pilant

For rifle cases loaded on a single stage press, I put them in a reloading block and always dump my powder in a certain order. Then I do a visual inspection and any case that the powder doesn’t look the same level as the rest, I pull it and the one I charged before and the one I charged after it. I inspect the one case to see if there is anything visual inside. Then I recharge all 3 cases. That way if a case had powder hang up and dump in the next case, you have corrected the problem.

On progressive presses, I try to use a powder that fills the case up to about the base of the bullet. That way you can usually see the powder as the shell rotates and if you might have dumped a partial or double charge, you will notice as you start to seat the bullet if not before. On a progressive, if I don’t load a cartridge in one smooth stroke (say a bullet tipped over sideways and I raised the ram slightly to reset it) Some presses actually back the charge back adding more powder if it has already dumped some so you have a full charge plus a partial charge. When I don’t complete the procedure with one stroke, I pull the case that just had powder dumped into it and check the powder charge or just dump the powder back into the measure and run the case thru later.

Permalink - Articles, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »
October 2nd, 2019

Smart Reloader — Die Shims For Full-Length Sizing Dies

Sinclair Die Shims

When your cases become hard to extract, or you feel a stiff bolt lift when removing a cartridge, it’s probably time to full-length size your cases, and “bump” the shoulder back. With a hunting load, shoulder bumping may only be required every 4-5 loading cycles. Short-range benchrest shooters, running higher pressures, typically full-length size every load cycle, bumping the shoulder .001-.002″. High Power shooters with gas guns generally full-length size every time, and may need to bump the shoulders .003″ or more to ensure reliable feeding and extraction.

Use Shims for Precise Control of Shoulder Bump
Some shooters like to set the “default” position for their full-length die to have an “ample” .003″ or .004″ shoulder bump. When they need less bump, a simple way to reduce the amount of shoulder movement is to use precision shims in .001″ (one-thousandth) increments. You can get a set of seven (7) shims for your standard 7/8-14 FL sizing dies for just $11.99.

Here are reports from Forum members who use the shims:

“Great product. I have my die lock ring(s) adjusted for the shortest headspace length on my multiple chambers 6BRs and 6PPCs. When needing a longer headspace, I just refer to my notes and add the appropriate shim under the lock ring. Keep it simple.” — F.D. Shuster

Mats Johansson writes: “I’ve been using [shims] since Skip Otto (of BR fame) came out with them. I set up my dies with the .006″ shim, giving me the option of bumping the shoulder a bit more when the brass gets old and hardens while still having room to adjust up for zero headspace, should I have missed the original setup by a thou or two. Hunting rounds can easily be bumped an extra .002-.003″ for positive, no-crush feeding. Being a safety-oriented cheapskate, I couldn’t live without them — they let me reload my cases a gazillion times without dangerous web-stretching. Shims are a must-have, as simple as that.” — Mats Johansson

Sinclair Die ShimsBrownells offers a seven-piece set of Sizing Die Shims that let you adjust the height of your die (and thereby the amount of bump and sizing) in precise .001″ increments. Sinclair explains: “Some handloaders will set their die up to achieve maximum sizing and then progressively use Sinclair Die Shims between the lock ring and the press head to move the die away from the shellholder. Doing this allows you to leave the lock ring in the same position. These shims are usually available in increments of .001″ and work very well.”

Seven Shims from .003″ to .010″
Sinclair’s $11.99 Die Shim Kit (item 22400 or 749-001-325WB) includes seven shims in thicknesses of .003, .004, .005, .006, .007, .008, and .010. For ease of use, shim thickness is indicated by the number of notches cut in the outer edge of each shim. Even without looking you can “count” the notches by feel.

NOTE: Brownells also offers a 10-shim set for use with L.E. Wilson seating dies used with arbor presses. Frankly we prefer micrometer-top Wilson dies, but if you have the standard dies, these shims come in handy. Order Brownells Code 749-001-326WB, $12.99.

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