January 26th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Six Field Rifles from SHOT Show 2020

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM
Volquartsen Summit rifle in Victor Company Titan aftermarket stock in Kryptec Camo.

There were thousands of rifles on display at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. We saw scores of ARs, and countless metal chassis rifles. But there were plenty of excellent field rifles with more conventional stocks. Here are our Editors’ “Pick Six” — a half-dozen stocked rifles which impressed us with their design, components, features, and “bang for the buck”. Many of these rigs feature aluminum actions and/or carbon-wrapped barrels for weight savings. We’re please to see rifle-makers employing modern materials to reduce weight for hunting rifles carried in the field.

Seekins Precision — Havak Element Super-Light

Seekins Precision Superlight

During Industry Day at the Range we met our friend Stan Pate, an ace F-Class shooter and avid hunter who was on assignment for Guns.com. Stan told us to check out the Seekins Precision Havak Element. This rifle features a high-grade 7075 aluminum action, spriral-fluted barrel, and carbon composite stock. With those components it weighs just 5.5 pounds without optics! The action also has a unique built-in bubble level (see below).

Seekins Precision Superlight

Stan Pate praised the Seekins Havak Element: “One thing I appreciate is quality. There’s something you can tell about a rifle as soon as you put it in your shoulder and cycle the bolt a few times and try the trigger. And then you shoot this rifle… it’s VERY accurate and just a solid hunting rifle. The tolerances [are] tighter than normal production rifles, which gives you a high-end rifle feel. And the accuracy follows through with that perception. The action is quite stout and ‘smooth as butter’.”

Christensen Arms — Ranger 22 Rimfire

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

At SHOT Show 2020, Christensen Arms showcased an impressive new .22 LR rimfire rifle, the Ranger 22. With an aluminum action, high-quality carbon-composite stock, and 18″ carbon-wrapped barrel, the Ranger 22 is quite light and easy to carry. This would be a great field-carry rifle for small varmints. The Ranger 22 features a Trigger Tech match-grade trigger, and Picatinny scope rail. Weight is 5.1 pounds, and there are a varity of finish options. Christensen Arms offers a sub-MOA 50-yard accuracy guarantee. MSRP is $795.

Browning — X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Max Long Range

Browing Hell's Canyon long range camo hunting rifle 6.5 Creedmoor

One of the more interesting factory rifles at SHOT Show was Browning’s limited edition X-Bolt Hell’s Canyon Max Long Range rifle. This Max LR Model features Cerakote Burnt Bronze finish on metal parts, and A-TACS TD-X Camo stock finish. The Heavy Sporter-contour 26″ barrel includes a removable muzzle brake. We like the stock design, which has a flat, straight toe for riding in a rear bag and nice ergonomics with an adjustable comb. Currently this is offered in 6.5 Creedmoor only. We hope other chamberings, such as 6XC or 6mm Creedmoor, will be offered in the future, as we think this could be an excellent long-range varmint platform, with a handy detachable magazine.

Volquartsen Summit Straight-Pull Rifle in .17 WSM

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Since it was first introduced as a .22 LR, we liked the straight-pull, toggle-bolt Volquartsen Summit rifle. The Summit action is reliable and the rifles are well-built. In 2019 Volquartsen added the .17 Mach 2 (.17 HM2) to the Summit series. Now, for 2020 Volquartsen is addding the larger .17 WSM cartridge, which offers peak performance for a rimfire rifle. With the addition of the .17 WSM chambering, the Summit is now a bonafied option for small-critter varminting out to 200+ yard. This round has far less drop than a .22 LR and retains critter-busting energy even at 200 yards. The .17 WSM Summit boasts a 1:8.25″-twist 20″ barrel, with threaded muzzle. Conveniently, the Summit takes standard Ruger 6-round magazines. Choose either AS-1 Ambi Stock or Laminated Wood Sporter Stock (shown above). MSRP starts at $1,553.00. NOTE: Volquartsen’s .22 LR and 17 Mach 2 Summits currently list for $1225.00 in Magpul stocks, about $330 cheaper.

Savage 110 UltraLite with Carbon-Wrapped Barrel

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Fitted with a Proof Research carbon-wrapped stainless barrel, Savage’s new 110 UltraLite rifle weigh under 6 pounds (without optics). It’s impressive that Savage could deliver a sub-6-pound rifle with 22″ to 24″ barrels. Part of the secret is a skeletonized receiver and fluted bolt. A full selection of chamberings will be offered: .308 Win, 6.5 Creedmoor, 6.5 PRC, .270 Win, .280 Ackley Improved, 28 Nosler, .300 WSM, and .30-06 Springfield. All 110 UltraLites come with grey AccuFit stocks with adjustable comb height and length of pull (LOP). Depending on the chambering, 110 UltraLite rifles weigh between 5.8 and 6 pounds. MSRP for the 110 UltraLite is $1499. We expect street price to be around $1300.00.

Howa Mini Action Full Dip Camo Rifles

volquarsten Summit toggle Rifle Rifle 17 caliber .17 WSM

Howa’s Mini Action rifles offer a compact platform and faster cycling for cartridges such as the .223 Rem and 6.5 Grendel. At SHOT Show, Howa displayed Mini Action rifles with “Full Dip” camouflage in three patterns: Kryptek Highlander, Yote, and Kratos. The hydro-dip camo covers the rifle from butt to muzzle, including stock, action, barrel, scope, and even rings. Hunters will appreciate the “full coverage”. Howa Mini Action “Full Dip” camo rifles are currently available in .223 Rem, 6.5 Grendel, and 7.62×39 chamberings, all with 20″ heavy barrels. Nikko Sterling GamePro 3.5-10×44mm scopes are included on these Howa Mini Action camo rifles, which are guaranteed to shoot sub-MOA. If you’re looking for a light-weight hunting rig for varmints or coyotes, this is a good choice.

Permalink Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, New Product, Tactical No Comments »
January 26th, 2020

Handgun Smarts — Six Great Guidebooks for Pistoleros

Pistol Marksmanship training book
Jessie Harrison — one of the greatest female pistol shooters on the planet. In the video below, Jessie offers good tips on safe handgun mag changes.

One of our Forum members asked: “Are there any good books on pistol marksmanship? I’m looking for a book that covers techniques and concepts….” Here are six recommended titles that can make you a better pistol shooter. These books run the gamut from basic handgun training to Olympic-level bullseye shooting.

Pistol Marksmanship training book 1911 race gunGood Guidebooks for Pistol Shooters
There are actually many good books which can help both novice and experienced pistol shooters improve their skills and accuracy. For new pistol shooters, we recommend the NRA Guide to the Basics of Pistol Shooting. This full-color publication is the designated student “textbook” for the NRA Basic Pistol Shooting Course.

Serious competitive pistol shooters should definitely read Pistol Shooters Treasury a compilation of articles from World and National Champions published by Gil Hebard. You could work your way through the ranks with that book alone even though it is very small. It is an excellent resource.

If you’re interested in bullseye shooting, you should get the USAMU’s The Advanced Pistol Marksmanship Manual. This USAMU pistol marksmanship guide has been a trusted resource since the 1960s. Action Shooters should read Practical Shooting: Beyond Fundamentals by Brian Enos, and Practical Pistol by Ben Stoeger. Brian Enos is a well-known pistol competitor with many titles. Ben Stoeger is a two-time U.S. Practical Pistol shooting champion. Last but not least, Julie Golob’s popular SHOOT book covers pistol marksmanship, along with 3-Gun competition. Julie holds multiple national pistol shooting titles.

Permalink - Videos, Handguns, Shooting Skills No Comments »
January 26th, 2020

Must-Have Tool — Lyman E-Zee Case Gauge II

Lyman E-zee case gauge II cartridge length gage

Lyman E-zee case gauge II cartridge length gageLyman’s popular Case Length Gauge is now bigger and better. The enhanced version II of Lyman’s Case Length Gauge is much larger than the original version. The E-Zee Case Gauge II now measures more than 70 cartridge types — way more than before. This tool is a metal template with SAAMI-max-length slots for various cartridge types, including relatively new cartridges such as the .204 Ruger and Winchester Short Magnums. This tool allows you to quickly sort brass or check the dimensions. If you have a bucketful of mixed pistol brass this can save you hours of tedious work with calipers. You can also quickly check case lengths to see if it’s time to trim your fired brass.

If you load a wide variety of calibers, or do a lot of pistol shooting, we think you should pick up one of these Lyman Case Gauge templates. They are available for under $25.00 at Brownells ($21.99) and Amazon.com ($23.85). The E-Zee Case Gauge has long been a popular item for hand-loaders.

NOTE: For years the E-Zee Case Gauge had a silver finish with black lettering, as shown above. Some of the most recent production of E-Zee guages have a new “high contrast” look, with white lettering on a black frame. You may get either version when you order online (Brownells shows silver, Amazon shows black). We actually prefer the older, silver version.

Lyman E-zee case gauge II cartridge length gage

Case Gauge Should Last a Lifetime
Easily measure the case length of over 70 popular rifle and pistol cases with Lyman’s new E-Zee Case Length Gauge II. This really is a “must-have” piece of kit for any gun owner who hand-loads numerous pistol and rifle calibers.

This rugged, precisely-made metal gauge makes sorting or identifying cases fast and accurate. The template is machined with SAAMI max recommended case lengths. Made from metal, with no moving parts, the E-Zee Case Gauge II should last a lifetime.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading 1 Comment »