January 22nd, 2020

SHOT Show 2020 — Day One Opener

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

SHOT Show 2020 kicked off Tuesday, with tens of thousands of exhibitors, media members, and invitees streaming into the Sands EXPO Center in Las Vegas. This firearms industry trade show just gets bigger every year. We visited many of our favorite vendors including Capstone Precision Group (Berger, Lapua, SK, Vihtavuori), ATK Outdoors (Alliant, Federal, RCBS, Bushnell etc.), Hornady, Leica, SIG Sauer, and Smith & Wesson.

Here are some quick highlights from Day One of SHOT Show, a little bit of everything: Rifles, Pistols, Reloading Tools, and new optics.

Capstone Precision Group: Berger, Lapua, SK and Vihtavuori

Lapua brass ammo SK bullets scenar Capstone Precision shot show 2019

Capstone Precision Group showcased new products from its four companies: Berger Bullets, Lapua, SK, and Vihtavuori. The big news was the arrival of new Berger Long Range Hybrid Target (LRHT) bullets and hunting bullets and a new Vihtavuori powder N533.

Berger now offers some seriously big LRHT Bullet. Before the show, Berger annouced the 7mm 190gr LRHT. At SHOT on Tuesday Berger showcased two new High-BC .30-Caliber LRHTs — the new 208gr and 220gr projectiles. All these LRHTs feature formed meplats for ultra-consistent BCs. In addition Berger unveiled two new heavy-for-caliber hunting bullets: The 6.5mm 156gr EOL Elite hunter and the .30 Cal 245gr EOL Elite hunter. In this video, Emil Praslick III explains the features of the new LRHT projectiles.

The other big news from Capstone was Vihtavuori’s new N555 powder, an advanced new propellent in the same relative burn range as H4350/RL16. Along with having a suitable burn rate for popular accuracy cartridges such as 6.5 Creedmoor and .284 Winchester, Vihtavuori’s new N555 is formulated for “clean burning characteristics and insensitivity in extreme weather conditions”. Complementing its temp stability, N555 includes an anti-fouling agent to keep barrels cleaner. Initial testing has been VERY promising. If you are shooting H4350 now, you should try N555.

Berger bullets ELR solid match projectiles Capstone Precision shot show 2020

From SIG Sauer — New Cross Rifle and New .277 Fury Cartridge

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

We visited the SIG Sauer booth and talked with top 3-gun ace Daniel Horner, formerly of the USAMU. Dan showed us the new SIG Sauer Cross bolt-action rifle. This is a chassis rifle that has many advanced features yet weighs under 7 lbs. before optics, making is suitable for hunting as well as tactical competitions. The Cross was very impressive, with nice balance and a very good adjustable trigger.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

The .277 Fury, developed for the U.S. Military, used a hybrid case with a brass body and harder alloy metal case head. This design allows the cartridge to run very high pressures. Horner told us it would be SAAMI-rated to 80,000 PSI. Dan said “When the handloaders get hold of this brass, it will be a game-changer for sure.” We envision this cartridge could be necked down to 6.5 mm and it would dramatically out-perform the 6.5 Creedmoor.

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Sig Sauer .277 Fury Hybrid cartridge hunting precision military

Big Rifle for Little Lady

walther rifle .22 smallbore

At the Walther booth, Top Shot’s Gabby Franco showed the Walther KK500 3-position .22 LR smallbore rifle. With its long barrel, the KK500 dwarfed the petite Ms. Franco. Also at the Walther booth we noted the new Walther Monotec competition Air Rifle. This features a free-floating action — a block connects the chassis to the barrel forward of the action.

walther rifle .22 smallbore

New Savage 110 Ultralite Hunting Rifle

Savage 110

There were plenty of new hunting rifles on display at SHOT 2020. Savage showcased a new 5.8-lb Model 110 Ultralite rig. This features a Proof Research carbon-wrapped barrel. CLICK HERE for a full Guns.com review of the new Savage 110 Ultralite.

NEW Reloading Presses, Powder Dispensers, and Tools

RCBS had two notable new products on display. First, RCBS has a new single-stage press, called the Rebel. This looks similar to the venerable Rock Chucker, but it has a larger base and taller arch. The most important change is that this new Rebel Press ejects primers straight down the ram — just put a waste bin under the press to collect all your spend primers. However — take note — the Rebel has NO PRIMING function. You need to prime your cases separately.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

RCBS also showcased its impressive new MatchMaster Power Scale/Dispenser. This features twin dispensing tubes, and can be set to deliver 1- or 2-kernel precision in the slower, more precise “Match Mode”. This is an impressive new machine, but it represents a significant investment. MSRP for the MatchMaster is $1123.95 with street price around $899.00 (MidwayUSA).

MatchMaster RCBS

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Hornady unveiled a new Auto Charge Pro Powder Dispenser, along with a Precision Measurement Station. The new powder measure features a touch-screen ABOVE the powder tray. We’re not sure if that enhances usability, but it does allow for a smaller footprint on your reloading bench. This Auto Charge Pro offers customizable trickle speeds for different powders. Hornady claims the unit is “accurate to within 0.1 grain”.

shot show 2020 Berger Lapua Vihtavuori SIG .277 RCBS

Handguns from Walther, Smith & Wesson, and Ruger

Huge 25-foot high displays were promoting Walther’s steel-framed Q4 pistols. These handguns balanced well and the trigger was nicer than you’ll get on most semi-autos these days.

Walther Q4 Steel Frame Walther Q4 Pistol

Wheelguns and more from Smith & Wesson
Smith and Wesson hand a big display of revolvers and carry pistols. We liked a new .22 LR semi-auto on display with a suppressor.

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020

Ruger Super GP100 Revolver in 9mm Luger (9x19mm)

Ruger adapted its existing Super Redhawk frame for this Super GP100 9mm Luger (9x19mm) revolver, which features a stubby 8-round PVD-coated cylinder to better fit the 9x19mm round. According to Guns.com the 9mm GP100 “uses a cylinder and extractor cut for moon clips to speed up reloading [and] sports a 6-inch half-lug sleeved and shrouded barrel with an 11-degree target crown[.]”

Ruger 9mm 9x19mm luger Revolver GP100 Super GP 100 competition pistol

DAY ONE Parting Shot Photo

smith wesson revolver shot show 2020
This is a side view of an Action Target Vortex Bullet Trap.

Permalink - Articles, Handguns, New Product, Optics 1 Comment »
January 22nd, 2020

Black Rifle Blow-Ups — Shocking AR 15 Kaboom Collection

AR15 AR-15 Kaboom explosion pistol powder accident catastrophic destroyed
AR15 Kaboom big photo
This shocking photo of destroyed AR-15 bits and pieces was posted on Facebook by William Walter, a firearms instructor. William said this was “The worst AR-15 blow-up I have ever seen. The case head literally atomized …you can see the brass residue on the parts. The bolt was split in two also.”

There’s nothing inherently wrong with AR-platform rifles (well, except that they run dirty). Over the past six decades Eugene Stoner’s semi-automatic design has proven its merits in military and civilian applications. You may not know, but the original AR from 1955 was a .30-caliber. The Armalite AR-10 shot the 7.62×51 cartridge. Later, at the request of the U.S. Military, Armalite created a smaller version that became the M16/AR15. The rest was history. Now there are millions of AR “black rifles” in the hands of soldiers and sportsmen.

With so many ARs in circulation, it’s no surprise that some get used by folks who don’t know how to hand-load or otherwise fail to follow safe gun practices. The AR is actually a pretty sturdy rifle, but when it’s fed bad ammo, or abused, bad things can happen. Very bad things… commonly known as Kabooms.

Black Rifle Duplex Kaboom

The American Shooting Journal (ASJ) has compiled a set of particularly extreme AR Kabooms. Compiling the “evidence” from various web sites, ASJ has published nine (9) of the most Unbelievable AR-15 Fails. Here are two of the worst “AR-15 Fails”. CLICK HERE to see them all.

Nothing but busted parts after this catastrophic Kaboom…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Notice the bolt is still stuck in the barrel extension … with the rest of the gun in pieces.
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

Another view of this sad blow-up…
AR AR16 m16 AR-10 AR-16 kaboom failure catastrophic reloads American Shooting Journal

These catastrophic AR failures are eye-openers, that’s for sure. ASJ cautions: “Any weapon can fail if given the wrong ammunition, faulty reloads or a plugged barrel. Always be aware of what can happen at anytime if you fail to follow common sense and gun safety rules.”

ASJ Sources: Photobucket, Armory Blog, Pinterest, Northeastern Arms, Eric Nestor

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, News, Tactical, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
January 22nd, 2020

TECH TIP — Check Barrel Tightness If POI Shifts Erratically

loose barrel vortex scope optics point of impact change fix

Are you seeing unpredictable changes in Point of Impact on your target? Think you may have a scope issue? Well maybe not — when was the last time you checked your BARREL?

Yes scopes do fail, and scope bases/rings do get loose. But sometimes problems with erratic POI shifts are caused by a LOOSE BARREL. This issue came up recently in our Shooter’s Forum. One member complained that his zero was shifting from day to day — by as much as two inches at 100 yards. He was convinced he had a scope problem, based on erratic POI:

“I think my scope loses 1 to 3 MOA per day. When I shot my rifle Monday it was dead on. On Tuesday it was 1″ low. Then on Wednesday it was 1 or 2″ lower. I don’t get it. — the elevation knob never touched. Scope will track and return to zero that day perfect. Yes EVERYTHING has been checked, nothing loose. What is the chance the erector tube spring has gone south? For the record this is a Vortex GE. Never had a bad scope, but this has me wondering”. — LB

On Forum member told LB to send the scope right back to the manufacturer. Two other members suggested mounting the scope on a different rifle to test. Good advice. That’s generally a smart strategy before you conclude a scope has gone bad…

Could Problem Be the Scope Base?
Two Forum members, ExPiper and Dickn52, suggested checking the scope base, recounting their past experiences with troublesome bases. This was intelligent — anyone with a POI problem should check all the optics attachments:

“Went crazy one day chasing my impacts on a 100-yard target. Shots would group fine for three then go nuts for 4-5. I cranked and un-cranked for about an hour. Then I reached up and the base wobbled on the rifle. Removed scope, tightened base screws and back in business.” — Dickn52

“Years ago I had a problem [where] shots were climbing with almost every shot. I was blaming the scope. However, when removing the scope I noticed that the 20 MOA base was cracked and getting wider with every shot. Needless to say I replaced the base and the problem was solved. — ExPiper

Eureka Moment — The problem was the BARREL, not the Scope

There were many helpful suggestions, but member PirateAmmo steered LB to the real problem — a loose BARREL: “We had a problem on a home-built AR-platform rifle once, barrel was loose a tad…”

Member Snert chimed in: “Yep — I had a PPC that suddenly went 19″ low. Picked up gun off bench by barrel and felt a wiggle. I tightened the barrel and the POI went 19 inches up”.

Problem Solved — Barrel Tightened up and POI Back to Normal
The gentleman with the POI problem took the advice of PirateAmmo and checked his barrel. BINGO! Low and behold, the barrel WAS loose.

LB posted: “Barrel loose by about 2%, checked it twice before and didn’t find it the first two times”.

After LB re-tightened his barrel, his rifle started shooting normally again. No more shooting low by 1-2 inches. Problem solved. The fix didn’t cost a penny and now LB doesn’t have to send a perfectly good optic back to the manufacturer.

Lesson learned? Check ALL the variables before you assume a scope has gone bad. Along with the barrel, also check your action screw tension, and of course the scope base and rings.

Permalink Optics, Tech Tip 3 Comments »