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February 21st, 2020

Gunsmithing Gone Bad — How NOT to Headspace a Barrel

Locktite Red barrel shoulder headspace Thomas Speedy Gonzales
This barrel’s shoulder was 0.025″ off the action because Red Locktite had been used on the threads.

Gunsmith Thomas ‘Speedy’ Gonzales offered this interesting report about how NOT to headspace a barrel. Hopefully you never discover something like this…

“A good friend and customer sent this rig in for repair after FedEx damaged the rifle during inbound transport from another smith. After repairing the stock and rebedding it, I decided to re-polish the barrel to make the repair perfect. Well this just added insult to injury as the barrel did not want to come off. After a few choice words, the barrel finally broke free only to reveal something very disturbing. It seems the barrel had been ‘headspaced’ by using RED Loctite to hold it in place.” [Editor: That’s definitely NOT how barrels should be fitted.]

Speedy was not happy: “I hope the smith that did this sees the photos and realized what jeopardy he put my customer in or anyone who shot the rifle for that matter. When cleaned up, the shoulder on the barrel was over 0.0250″ (25 thousandths) away from the face of the receiver.” [Editor: That’s a lot in this business]. Check out the images below to see how much the barrel rotated further inward when cleaned up. The barrel spun in nearly another eighth-turn or more. Not good.

Locktite Red barrel shoulder headspace Thomas Speedy Gonzales

Locktite Red barrel shoulder headspace Thomas Speedy Gonzales

Permalink - Articles, Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 3 Comments »
February 21st, 2020

CMP Marksmanship 101 Rifle and Pistol Training Programs

cmp marksmanship 101 training program

The Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) will offer hands-on rifle and pistol training programs in 2020 at locations around the nation. Marksmanship 101, formerly known as the Small Arms Firing School (SAFS) On The Road, is designed to train beginners on rifle or pistol essentials and competition basics in a closely monitored setting, utilizing the talents of qualified CMP staff, trainers, and members of the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU).

Participants learn through classroom work and active training on the range. Near the conclusion of training, students participate in a true M16 rifle or M9 pistol match, fired under close supervision of trainers on the line. Registration opened February 19, 2020. Classes are limited, so you should sign up well ahead of time. No walk-ins will be permitted in PA, IN or IL. CLICK HERE to REGISTER.

No previous knowledge in marksmanship is required for the course. All experience levels are welcome to attend. Rifles and ammo are provided. Personal shooting jackets and gloves are permitted. Hearing protection and eye protection is also required.

Courses on the Marksmanship 101 2020 schedule include:

RIFLE Marksmanship 101 Training Programs 2020:

March 14, 2020: Western CMP Games – Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, AZ
April 24, 2020: Eastern CMP Games – Camp Butner, Butner, NC
May 16-17, 2020: Ridgway Rifle Club – Ridgway, PA
May 29, 2020: Camp Atterbury – Edinburgh, IN
July 25-26, 2020: National Matches, RIFLE SAFS – Camp Perry, Port Clinton, OH
September 24, 2020: New England CMP Games – Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, VT
September 25-26, 2020: Illinois State Rifle Association – Bonfield, IL
Oct. 15, 2020: Oklahoma CMP Games – Oklahoma City Gun Club, Oklahoma City, OK
November 17, 2020: Talladega 600 Matches – CMP Talladega Marksmanship Park, AL

CMP Marksmanship 101 Programs utilize the Small Arms Firing School format.
cmp marksmanship 101 training program

PISTOL Marksmanship 101 Training Programs 2020:

July 7, 2020: National Matches, PISTOL SAFS – Camp Perry, Port Clinton, OH
September 18, 2020: New England CMP Games – Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, VT

cmp marksmanship 101 training program

How to Register for CMP Marksmanship Training Programs

Visit the CMP Marksmanship 101 website for Registration Links and other information. Once on the website, click your desired date and location to be sent to the CMP Competition Tracker page to complete registration. Questions regarding Marksmanship 101 may be directed to Amy Cantu at 419-635-2141 ext. 602 or acantu@thecmp.org.

cmp marksmanship 101 training program

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
February 21st, 2020

‘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 2 Comments »
February 20th, 2020

2020 NRA Annual Meetings in Nashville — Start Planning

NRA 2020 Annual Meetings and Exhibits Nashville Tennessee TN April

The 2020 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits will be held in Nashville, Tennessee this year. This should be a very popular event, given Nashville’s rich heritage as “Music City”. The NRA expects big crowds this year: “With exhibitors inside and outside the Music City Center in downtown Nashville, there is something for the whole family! Spend the day exploring products from every major firearm company in the country, book the hunt of a lifetime in our outfitter section, and view priceless collections of firearms in our gun collector area. You’ll also see knives, shooting accessories, hunting gear, and much more.” The event runs April 16-19, kicking off with the NRA Auction and BBQ on the evening of the 16th.

NRA 2020 Annual Meetings and Exhibits Nashville Tennessee TN April

REGISTRATION | Events | Exhibitor List | Floor Plan | Hotels

149th NRA ANNUAL MEETINGS & EXHIBITS — NASHVILLE, TN — April 16-19, 2020
Music City Center – 201 5th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37203

President Donald Trump is Expected to appear at the NRA-ILA Leadership Forum
NRA 2020 Annual Meetings and Exhibits Nashville Tennessee TN April

Major Scheduled Events at 2020 NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits:

NRA 2020 Annual Meetings and Exhibits Nashville Tennessee TN April

NRA 2020 Annual Meetings and Exhibits Nashville Tennessee TN April

Permalink Handguns, News No Comments »
February 20th, 2020

Where You Can Shoot F-Class Matches — 100+ Ranges Listed

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

F-Class shooting (both F-Open and F-TR) is one of the fastest-growing forms of rifle competition. Each season many new shooters hit the line and attendance at the major F-Class matches increases every year. But if you’re new to the game, you may ask “Where can I shoot an F-Class match?”. Well, Forum member Rod V. (aka Nodak7mm) has compiled a useful list of 112 ranges throughout the USA where F-Class matches are held. With venues from Alabama to Wyoming — you should find an F-Class program not too far from home. The list, in Excel spreadsheet format, provides range locations and weblinks (where available). Click the link below to download the F-Class Range List (.xls file):

Download F-Class Range List, Revision 20 (12/24/2015) (.XLS file, right click to “save as”)

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

Note — this list, now in its 20th Revision, is augmented regularly, but info is still being gathered. No claim is made that the list is comprehensive. But it still covers the the lion’s share of the important F-Class venues nationwide. If you know of a range that should be added to the list, please post the location on our F-Class Range List Forum thread. Rod will update the list as new range info is received. Rod writes: “Range information is wanted and welcomed. I would like your help on collecting specific info on Clubs/Ranges where known F-Class matches are held.” Here’s a partial sample from Rod’s list:

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

Accurateshooter.com F-Class Excel range list

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Tech Tip 2 Comments »
February 20th, 2020

Zediker Book Helps with Build-You-Own AR-15 Projects

AR15 Varmint rifle AR gunsmithing robert whitley

AR15 construction guideMany of our readers use AR-type rifles for Service Rifle matches, varmint hunting, 3-Gun competition, or defensive use. AR-platform rifles can be configured in a multitude of ways to suit the application. But if you plan to put together your own purpose-built AR rifle, how do you get started?

For AR Do-It-Yourselfers, we suggest reading Glen Zedicker’s book, the Competitive AR-15 Builders Guide. Following on Zedicker’s The Competitive AR15: Ultimate Technical Guide, the Builders Guide provides step-by-step instructions that will help non-professional “home builders” assemble a competitive match or varmint rifle. This book isn’t for everyone — you need some basic gun assembly experience and an aptitude for tools. But the AR-15 Builders’ Guide provides a complete list of the tools you’ll need for the job, and Zedicker outlines all the procedures to build an AR-15 from start to finish.

One of our Forum members who purchased the AR-15 Builders Guide confirms it is a great resource: “Much like any of the books Mr. Zediker puts out this one is well thought-out and is a no nonsense approach to AR building. I can not stress how helpful this book is from beginner to expert level.”

Along with assembly methods, this book covers parts selection and preparation, not just hammers and pins. Creedmoor Sports explains: “Knowing how to get what you want, and be happy with the result, is truly the focus of this book. Doing it yourself gives you a huge advantage. The build will honestly have been done right, and you’ll know it! Little problems will have been fixed, function and performance enhancements will have been made, and the result is you’ll have a custom-grade rifle without paying custom-builder prices.” Other good resources for AR projects is Gunsmithing the AR: The Bench Manual, and the Building Your AR from Scratch DVD.

Permalink Gunsmithing, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
February 19th, 2020

New Barnard SMS Action from Whidden Gunworks

Whidden Gunworks Barnard SMS Remington Rem 700 action receiver
Whidden Gunworks Barnard SMS Remington Rem 700 action receiver

Whidden Gunworks has the long-awaited Barnard SMS action. This impressive new 3-lug Rem-footprint action is NOT just another Remington 700 clone, though it fits Rem-inletted stocks and chassis systems. The Barnard SMS is a high-quality, custom-grade action. With the 3-lug design, bolt handle lift is shorter and quicker than its top competitors. And the excellent trigger timing of the SMS provides a smooth, glass-like operation.

Whidden Gunworks Barnard SMS Remington Rem 700 action receiver

New Zealand-crafted Barnard actions, such as the venerable Model P, have been highly coveted in the competitive long range community based on their high quality, ease of maintenance, and superb performance. Here in the USA, customers have asked for the same Barnard quality in a format that allows the use of Rem 700-configured stocks, triggers, magazines, and other accessories. This new SMS action can be used for long-range competition, PRS, benchrest, silhouette, hunting — any application where Rem 700-type actions are popular.

This new SMS action works with the Rem 700-family accessories which are readily available on the market. No adapters or conversion blocks are necessary for this action. The Barnard SMS is a true drop-in fit with Rem 700-inletted stocks and chassis systems. Likewise magazines and triggers for the Remington 700 footprint fit and work 100% with the new Barnard SMS.

Whidden Gunworks Barnard SMS Remington Rem 700 action receiver
Whidden Gunworks Barnard SMS Remington Rem 700 action receiver

Whidden Gunworks states: “Sportsmen all over the world will agree to the unequaled and superb quality of Barnard actions. The internal parts are simple and robust. Disassembly and maintenance can be easily done in the field if needed quickly, returning your firearm back into service. Quality material and proper heat-treating methods ensure strength and longevity for a lifetime of use. The new Barnard SMS is a great new offering. For MORE INFO or to place your order today visit WhiddenGunworks.com. SMS Actions list at $1150.00.

Whidden Gunworks Barnard SMS Remington Rem 700 action receiver

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product No Comments »
February 18th, 2020

Tikka T3 and T3x — Value, Performance, Upgradability

Tikka T3 rifle Competition Machine Pre-Fit barrel Criterion

In a recent Forum thread, one member asked for recommendations for a factory rifle with a good action and trigger, under $600.00. Many respondents recommended a Tikka T3 (or newer T3X), and we concur. These won’t run with a $2500 custom, but for a hunting or varminting rig, they offer good bang for the buck with a very nice action. The last Tikka T3 we tried, a .308 Win with 24″ barrel, easily shot sub-MOA groups with factory ammo.

The original Tikka T3 and newer T3x actions are rigid, robust, and well-crafted. They cycle smoothly and have a short 75° bolt lift. The bolt features a Sako-style extractor, with angled-leading-edge bolt lugs for smooth lock-up. These T3/T3x rifles offer smooth-running actions, easy sub-MOA accuracy with good ammo, crisp triggers, and ultra-reliable detachable box magazines. The Tupperware stocks aren’t super-rigid, but they are comfortable and easy to handle.

If you are looking for a hunting rifle, the Tikka T3/T3x is a smart choice, offering good performance for the price (which starts at $569.00 for the T3X Lite version). The current T3x series is offered in a wide selection of chamberings, from .204 Ruger up to the large magnums.

Tikka T3X UPR SHOT Show

We were impressed with the new Tikka T3x UPR rifle we saw at SHOT Show 2020 We liked the stock very much, and thought this was a very versatile gun that could be used for target shooting off bipod, hunting, even PRS, given its detachable magazine. The stock is very ergonomic and feels good. Tikka states the UPR’s stock “features an extra layer of carbon fiber mixed with fiberglass for increased rigidity and accuracy.”

Video Owner’s Review of standard model T3X with polymer stock:

Tikka T3 Upgrades — Barrels, Stocks, and Chassis Systems

Once you acquire a Tikka T3 there are many interesting upgrades available. First, you can improve accuracy and consistency with a pre-fit barrel from Criterion. There are also many chassis systems that fit Tikkas. In fact you can even get an Eliseo Chassis so you can shoot Palma matches F-TR competitions, or tactical/practical matches.

Criterion Pre-Fit Barrels for Tikka T3/T3x

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels

We have always liked Tikka actions, and now there is a great re-barreling option for Tikka T3/T3x owners. Criterion Barrels Inc. (CBI), makers of “pre-fit” barrels for Savage, Remington, and Rem-clone actions, also crafts Tikka pre-fits. These pre-chambered barrels for Tikka T3 actions will be headspaced with a barrel nut, just like a Savage.

Tikka T3 T-2 prefit chambered barrel 6.5 Creedmoor Solid Accuracy Criterion Barrels
Click image for full-screen version

Tikka T3/T3x pre-fit barrels are sold through Solid Accuracy, a respected Texas-based outfit that sells high-end scopes, stocks, barrels and other rifle components. Price is $461-$485 with various contours and lengths available. Order HERE.

Competition Machine Chassis for Tikka T3

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

At SHOT Show, we saw some tactical shooters admiring the smooth Tikka T3 action and crisp trigger. They liked the action but they told us they wished they could get the T3 action in a configuration similar to the Ruger Precision Rifle. Well folks, there is a way to build a Tikka T3-based tactical/practical rig.

Eliseo Competition Tubegun T3

Gary Eliseo of Competition Machine offers a tubegun chassis for Tikka T3 actions in both Target and Tactical versions. The T3 kit is set up for AICS short action magazines. This is a “no gunsmithing” installation — no modifications to the action are required and the chassis kit works with the factory T3 trigger and safety. Along with the new Target and Tactical versions, a lower-cost Light-Weight Hunter T3 Chassis is also offered which accepts most AR-type buttstock assemblies.

Full Tactical Upgrade for Tikka T3

Osprey Rifles Tikka T3 Tactical Third Eye Chassis Stock Cerakote Camo

Tikkas are boring, nondescript hunting rifles right? Wrong. Check out this Tikka T3 tactical with “attitude”. For the British Shooting Show a while back, the folks at Osprey Rifles placed a Tikka T3 action into a modern modular chassis: “A standard factory Tikka T3 was fully Cerakoted and dropped into a Third Eye Tactical chassis stock which also had the Cerakote treatment.”

Click Photos to see full-screen version.
Osprey Rifles Tikka T3 Tactical Third Eye Chassis Stock Cerakote Camo

This T3 Chassis can be ordered through Osprey Rifles in the UK. The latest chassis stock system from Third Eye Tactical is currently available for both the Rem 700 short action and the Tikka T3.

Permalink Gear Review, Gunsmithing, New Product 5 Comments »
February 18th, 2020

RCBS Reloading Videos — How to Load Better Ammo Safely

RCBS reloading equipment instruction video series chargemaster progressive rock chucker press case prep

RCBS makes some of the most rugged and durable reloading products you can buy. The RCBS Rock Chucker press is legendary — for good reason. The Editor uses one that has been in my family over twenty years. I also own an RCBS 2000 progressive press that has loaded many thousands of rounds, and features the excellent APS strip priming system. RCBS is serious about reloading, so this company has created a very complete series of instructional videos showing reloading precedures and equipment. You’ll find over 60 videos on the RCBS Video Resources Page and RCBS YouTube Channel.

We encourage readers to check out the RCBS Videos. They can help you master the basics of handloading — case prep, priming, sizing, and bullet seating. In addition, these videos can help you select the right equipment for your loading bench. Videos show presses, case tumblers, ultrasonic cleaning machines, powered case prep centers, and more.

Here are three of our favorite RCBS Reloading videos, along with links to a dozen more:

Basic Safety Precautions for Reloading

Every novice hand-loader should watch this video. It covers the key safety principles you should follow, such as “Don’t use components of unknown origin”. We would add — always double check the labels on your powder bottles, and if you don’t know 100% what powder is in your powder measure — dump it out. Some of the most serious injuries have occurred when reloaders put pistol powder in rifle cases.

Setting Up the Sizing Die Correctly

This video address the common complaint some novices have when their hand-loadeed cartridges won’t chamber properly. Kent Sakamoto explains how to set up the sizing die properly to size the case body and bump the shoulder.

Choosing a Case Cleaning System

Here Kent Sakamoto looks at the three main types of brass cleaning systems: Vibratory Tumbler, Wet Tumbler (with media), and Ultrasonic Cleaning Machine. Kent reviews the pros and cons of each system.

More RCBS Reloading Videos

Here are twelve more helpful videos from RCBS. These cover both reloading techniques and reloading equipment. There are currently over 60 videos on the RCBS YouTube Channel.

Reloading How-To Videos
Case Trimming, Deburring, Chamfering
Measuring Case Length
Crimping — When and How to Crimp
Primer Pocket Cleaning
Priming with a Hand Tool
How to Use an Ultrasonic Machine

Reloading Equipment Videos
Rock Chucker Supreme Kit
RCBS ChargeMaster Lite
RCBS Pro 2000 Progressive Press
Universal Case Prep Center
Summit Single-Stage Press
RCBS Turret Press

Permalink - Videos, Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
February 17th, 2020

Bargain Finder 230: 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 Sunday afternoon or 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.

1. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Primer SALE, 30-42% Off

primer sale

Finding primers is still tough and getting them on sale (at huge discounts) is even harder. But right now, for a limited time, you can save up to 42% on Major Brand primers at Sportsman’s Warehouse. All types of CCI, Federal, Remington, and Winchester primers are on sale, including hard-to-find Federal 205Ms and CCI 450s. And yes, pistol and shotshell primers are on sale too. These are GREAT prices — you should stock up now! NOTE: Some primers are limited to 10 boxes (1000 primers) per order.

2. Stocky’s — Special Edition Rem 700 Stocks, $228.88

remington stocks

The Remington 700 (and clones) collectively remain the number one receiver type on the market. If you’re looking to upgrade your Rem 700, Rem 7, or Rem clone, consider one of these Special Edition Remington 700™ Classic Deluxe Stocks from Stocky’s Stocks. They’re available in 14 colors/laminates, all with correct inletting for your Rem or Rem clone action. Stocky’s wood stocks are rugged and handsome.

3. Midsouth — .308 Win Berger Bullets+Brass Load Pack, $64.99

berger loader pack sale

For Palma and F-TR disciplines, the .308 Winchester remains the competitor’s cartridge of choice. If you need bullets and brass, check out these Berger Match Grade Loader Packs featuring Berger 155 grain .308 diameter VLDs and .308 Win ABM brass. (ABM stands for Applied Ballistics Munitions, which is now Berger Ammo). These 155gr Berger bullets are truly match grade and a smart choice for Palma work. At $64.99 for 100 bullets AND 100 pieces of brass, this is a great deal. You could pay a lot more than than just for premium brass. Plus this deal includes FREE Shipping.

4. MidwayUSA — 6.5 Creedmoor Remington 700 PCR, $699.99

remington pcr precison chassis rifle PRS sale

The new Remington Model 700 PCR (Precision Chassis Rifle) features a Rem 700 action in an aluminum chassis. This rifle features a free-floated 24″ 5R barrel with an aluminum handguard. The Magpul PRS Gen 3 stock adjusts for comb height and length of pull and the toe design works well in a rabbit-ear rear bag. Remington says these Model 700 PCRs are tested to yield sub-MOA accuracy out of the box. Right now this rifle, as chambered in 6.5 Creedmoor, is discounted $200.00 to $699.99. That’s a fine deal for a capable precision/tactical rifle.

5. EuroOptic — Bushnell Nitro Scope Sale, Save Up to 54%

bushnell scope sale

Bushnell makes quality scopes with great features for very affordable prices. Right now EuroOptic offers Bushnell 4-16x44mm and 5-20x44mm Nitro scopes with savings up to 54%. These are rugged Mil/Mil FFP scopes with the excellent Deploy MRAD Reticle with 0.1 Mil clicks. Consider this — the 5-20X Nitro was a solid value at $649.99, and now it is just $299.00 — that’s a $350.00 savings! These is a good hunting/varminting scope with scratch-resistent EXO-coated lenses that repel water and dust.

6. Amazon — Rexbetti Digital Micrometer, $39.99

digital micrometer

We’ve listed deals on digital calipers, but the other important measuring device every hand-loader should have is a Digital Micrometer. These are critical for determining neck wall thickness and other dimensions not suitable for calipers. This Rexbetti Digital Micrometer is a nicely-crafted unit (for the price) that measures to 0.00005″/0.001 mm.

7. Cabela’s — Pelican Vault Handgun Cases, $29.97 and $49.97

pelican handgun case

Typical handgun cases are pretty flimsy with easy-to-defeat lock tabs and cheap foam. These Pelican Vaults are much higher quality, offering serious protection for your pistols. Right now Cabela’s is offering the V100 Small Handgun Case for $29.97 or the V200 Medium Handgun Case for $49.97. Both cases feature five layers of interior foam, are airline compliant, watertight, and have pressure relief valves. The V200 also features strong stainless steel locking hasps.

8. Brownells — Wipeout Foam Cleaner, $14.99

wipeout cleaner

Walking the firing line of the Berger SW Nationals this year, one cleaning product was mentioned over and over again and for good reason. Sharp Shoot R Wipe-Out foaming bore cleaner is a no-nonsense, easy-to-use bore cleaner that does a great job. We get best results with two applications of Wipe-Out after some wet patches. If you’re tired of long brushing sessions, give Wipe-Out a try — it really reduces brushing required. This is a great deal. The same 5 oz. can is $24.95 on Amazon.

9. Amazon — JMack’s Ultra Soft Foam Earplugs 50ct, $6.49

soft foam earplugs

Week after week we talk about the importance of good hearing protection. With this deal, you can pick up a 50-pair (100 ct) supply of 32 dB NRR soft foam earplugs for only $6.49 — a 40% savings. These plugs are comfortable and have a very impressive Noise Reduction Rating (NRR). For under seven bucks, you can get some serious protection, with plenty of “pairs to spare” for your shooting buddies and friends.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Gear Review, Hot Deals, Optics No Comments »
February 17th, 2020

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Big Winners at Berger SW Nationals

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Dominators — that’s what these blue-shirted guys were at the 2020 Berger Southwest Nationals (SWN). For the third straight year, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden won the coveted F-Open Team Grand Aggregate award at the Berger Southwest Nationals, finishing with a score of 2584-160X (out of a possible 2600). And Team Member Jay Christopherson (AccurateShooter’s System Admin) won the F-Open Overall title, while Team Member Tod Hendricks won the 600-yard Mid-Range Event. Mighty impressive…

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod Hendricks

Team members are Jay Christopherson, David Christian, Tod Hendricks, Pat Scully, and Jeremy Smith (alternate), with Bob Sebold serving as Coach and Erik Cortina as Captain. Remarkably Jay (1247-83X), Pat (1247-72X), and Tod (1245-81X) placed first, second, and third respectively in the F-Open Grand Aggregate individual awards. That’s right, three team-mates secured ALL the podium places. And all three were separated by only two points!

Record-Setting Performances by Team
Notably Team Lapua-Brux-Borden established a new Ben Avery range record along the way to winning the Palma Team Match with a score of 1791-113 (out of a possible 1800). We’re told that the Team’s 793-47X LR score was also a new match record. Jay set a LR Aggregate Record with 799-50X, while Tod set a LR individual relay record of 200-18X.

Berger SW Nationals 2020
Photo by Sherri Jo Gallagher.

Team Lapua-Brux-Borden — Winning “Team First” Philosophy
Commentary by Jay Christopherson
For Team Lapua-Borden-Brux, winning gold is the entire focus. To that end, ego is the only enemy. Sure, we all have egos as individual shooters, but as a team, ego is subsumed into that one overriding goal. If you can’t do that, then you can’t shoot on Lapua-Borden-Brux. No matter how good you think your rifle is or how well you are shooting individually, the coach is the only arbiter — no exceptions. Every job on the team is focused towards that single goal of gold and no job is more or less important than another. Our plotter saves points by spotting high or low trends and calling that out, and ensuring we don’t lose points when a scorer misses a shot. Our back-coach saves points by spotting upcoming condition changes or making observations. Our target-puller strives to provide an example of the best possible target service. And our scorer focuses on providing attentive service to the team next to us. A failure in one job is a failure in all and we either win or lose together as a team. That is only possible when each individual understands that there is only one goal.

The Berger Southwest Nationals, hosted by the Desert Sharpshooters Rifle Club, took place February 5-9, 2020 at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, AZ with a sold-out roster of 400 competitors. America’s biggest rifle match west of the Mississippi, the Southwest Nationals is a “must-attend” event for long-range shooters competing in F-Open, F-TR, and Sling disciplines. Competitors from at least nine different countries were in attendance. The Grand Aggregate is the total score from firing points of 600, 800, 900, and 1,000 yards.

Lapua brux borden Team Berger SW southwest Nationals SWN Jay Christopherson Tod HendricksPraise from Team Captain
“I am very proud of the team”, stated Team Captain, Erik Cortina: “From setting a new range record to placing first in the F-Open Grand Aggregate, our success is directly attributed to Lapua’s premium components.”

About Lapua — Premium Brass, Bullets, and Ammunition
Lapua produces the highest-quality small caliber cartridges and components for civilian and professional use. Lapua is a part of the Capstone Precision Group, exclusive U.S. distributor for Berger, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK-Rimfire products. For more information, visit Lapua.com.

Permalink Competition, News 1 Comment »
February 17th, 2020

The Art of Arms — Holland & Holland’s Engraved Masterpieces

Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

Here’s some eye candy for your Monday morning. We’re presenting some stunning Royal shotguns from Holland & Holland, a legendary British gun maker. These amazing arms, which cost as much as a luxury automobile, demonstrate that the “art of engraving” still thrives among a few elite gun-makers.

Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

What goes into a £77,500.00 ‘Royal’ model hand-crafted shotgun? Watch this remarkable video from Holland & Holland to find out. Filmed in the Holland & Holland factory, this nine-minute video shows all the key stages in the creation of H&H’s prized shotguns and rifles. The video shows barrel-making, stock checkering, metal engraving and more…

Holland & Holland ‘Royal’ Side-by-Side Shotgun

Holland & Holland Double Rifle with Fitted Case
Holland and Holland Video gunsmithing

Permalink - Videos, Gear Review, Gunsmithing No Comments »
February 16th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: .22 LR CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

Rimfire cross-training allows PRS competitors to build their skill sets without breaking the bank (or burning out nice custom barrels). One great .22 LR option for cross-training is offered by CZ (Česká Zbrojovka), the Czech arms-maker. The TFBTV video below spotlights the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT), a smooth-running .22 LR bolt action. This factory rifle was designed specifically as a training tool for precision long-range competition. It boasts a Manners composite stock and 20.5 or 24-inch heavy barrel. The 0.866″-diameter tube is threaded and suppressor-ready. The model 455 VPT is mag-fed and comes with a crisp trigger that adjusts to two pounds. Street price is around $830.00. That’s pricey for a rimfire — but you’re getting a premium Manners stock that would cost $534 by itself.

Field Testing the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

.22 LR Rimfire from 50 to 300 Yards
CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stockThe CZ 455 VPT proved accurate, recording half-inch groups at 50 yards with SK ammo: “[we] shot CCI standard, Federal match, and SK match through the rifle. It liked the SK ammo the best.” One goal of this test was to see how a .22 LR could perform beyond typical rimfire ranges, so reviewer Joel Wise (Precision Rifle Network) tested this rifle all the way out to 300 yards. Groups were about 1″ at 100 yards, but opened up considerably at 200 and 300. Joel concluded 300 yards was a practical max. We know that some tactical rimfire matches set targets out that far, but we think 200 yards might be a better practical limit for matches run with smallbore rifles. It’s not just the problem of running out of elevation in your scope. At 300 yards the effect of the wind is huge.

CZ  455 rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR smallbore video TFBTV manners stock

The CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer (VPT) features a mag-fed CZ 455 action, with .866″-diameter heavy barrel, in a rigid, high-tech Manners Composite stock. Feeding was very reliable.

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

The 455 VPT offers the same look and feel of a full-size tactical rifle. This 455 uses a Manners MCS-T4 stock assuring a rock solid platform for the 455 barreled action. The outer shell of the MCS-T4 is made with carbon fiber and fiber glass in multiple layers. The stocks can be custom-ordered with a heavy fill to match your current rifle weight to truly duplicate its feel.

Manners VPT Stock Available for Other Rimfire Platforms
Manners Composite Stocks offers versions of the CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer stock design that can be used with other barreled actions: “The 455 VPT stock is based on our MCS-T4 design. We offer this, fully inletted with pillars, for a variety of rimfire actions: Sako Quad, Savage Mark II, CZ 452, CZ 453, along with the 455.”

CZ 455 Varmint Precision Trainer

Inletting is complete, so this will be a drop-in solution if you already own one of the listed rimfire rifles. Tom Manners notes: “With this stock, some guys will bed the rear area of their action, but that’s not necessary — you can pretty much bolt ‘em in and go”.

New CZ 457 VPT Replaces 455 VPT — Major Action Changes

Readers take note — the CZ 455 VPT profiled above has been replaced with the new-generation CZ 457 Varmint Precision Trainer, which still boasts a Manners Composite stock, based on the PRS1 design with a more tapered forearm. The new 457 VPT has some very notable upgrades. First, the stamped bottom metal of the 455 is gone, swapped for a two-piece interlocking system. To make scope fitment easier, CZ ditched the 90° bolt rotation in favor of a 60° bolt, allowing for larger ocular bell diameters with lower ring heights. And the 457 VPT now features a trigger adjustable for weight, creep, and over-travel. MSRP for the new CZ 457 VPT is $1144.00, with street price around $990.00.

CZ 457 varmint precision tactical rimfire precision PRS trainer .22 LR  manners stock

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February 16th, 2020

Target Dots — Buy ‘Em by the Thousand and Save

target dots sticker avery label flourescent dot labeloutfitters

Sometimes simpler is better when it comes to targets for fun shooting and load testing. While we normally use test targets from our Downloadable Target Page, it’s sometimes easier to just use brightly-colored “Hi-Viz” adhesive target dots.

Hi-Viz Stick-On Dots in Assorted Colors and Diameters
You can order 1″ target dots in bulk from Labeloutfitters.com. Many colors are available including fluorescent (hi-viz) Red, Green, Orange, and Yellow. These are bright and easy to see even in fading afternoon light. A pack of twenty (20) sheets (1260 dots total) costs just $5.97 (that works out to $4.74 per thousand). For the 1″-diameter stick-on dots you get 63 dots per sheet. Larger, 1.5″-diameter fluorescent dots are also available in 20-sheet packs for $5.97, with 24 large dots per sheet (480 dots total). If you want even bigger, 2″-diameter dots, sheets with 20 Hi-Viz dots per sheet are on sale for $5.97 per 20-pack (400 dots total).

Our friend Danny Reever really likes the bright dots from Label-Outfitters: “Ordered some of the 1″ dots from LabelOutfitters.com and received them in two days Priority Mail! Bought the fluorescent red,green, and yellow and they are really nice — especially for the price.”

If you prefer smaller, 3/4″-diameter circles, Amazon.com sells Avery packs with 1008 adhesive dots for just $4 to $7 per pack. Colors include Neon Red/Orange (item 5467), Neon Yellow (item 5470), Neon Green (item 5468), and Bright Blue (item 5461). We recommend the Neon Red/Orange for most uses, or the Neon Yellow dots for use on a black background. There is even a dispenser-box option with 1000 3/4″ dots on a roll in a box. Amazon.com also offers 3/4″ and 1″-diameter target pasters in 1000-dot rolls for $7-$10 per roll.

target dots sticker avery label flourescent dot labeloutfitters

Half-Inch Fluorescent Dots for 100-200 Yards
For close-range work, you may prefer 1/2″-diameter dots. Forum member Steve found a source for very small 1/2″ dots: Uline.com. The 1/2″ dots are available in a wide variety of colors including fluorescent Red, Pink, Yellow, and Green. Price is $12 for a roll of 1000 dots (item S-2063). Steve notes: “A 1/2″ circle at 300 yards is not quite entirely covered by Nightforce crosshairs at 42-power (I’d say 70% coverage). I.e., it seems easier to line up repeatedly than with the bigger (3/4″) circles, which I used to use. Note that, for me, neon green and neon orange work best on brown cardboard targets. Neon orange works well on white paper.”

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February 15th, 2020

Great Guns: Smith & Wesson Model 617 Rimfire Revolver

Smith & Wesson 617

While Accurateshooter.com concentrates on high-accuracy rifles, we know that many of our readers enjoy handguns. We are often asked “What is your favorite handgun — Glock? HK? SIG Sauer?” The answer to that question may be surprising. This Editor’s favorite handgun, at least the one that gets shot most often, is a rimfire revolver — that’s right, a wheelgun.

This Editor’s first really accurate handgun was a .22 LR Smith & Wesson Model 617 that could easily stack ten shots in a dime at 10 yards. It remains my favorite and most-used handgun. What can we say about the Model 617? The single-action trigger pull is superb, and the accuracy surpasses most any semi-auto rimfire pistol, except for a few, very expensive target pistols. We like the 6″ version for the longer site radius, but the 4″-barrel 617 is also very accurate, and it balances better.

Smith Wesson model 617 .22 LR Revolver handgun
S&W Model 617 now has a 10-round cylinder, but early models were six-shooters.

We strongly recommend that new pistol shooters start off with a .22 LR rimfire handgun. The .22 LR cartridge is accurate but has very low recoil, less “bark” than a centerfire, and very little smoke and muzzle flash. New shooters won’t have to fight muzzle flip, and won’t develop a flinch from the sharp recoil and muzzle blast common to larger calibers. With the .22 LR, the trainee can focus on sight alignment, breathing, and trigger pull.

Smith & Wesson Model 617 Video Reviews
Here are three video reviews of the Smith & Wesson Model 617, both 4″-barrel and 6″-barrel versions. All three videos demonstrate the 617’s great accuracy. The reviewers concede that this handgun is pretty expensive, but all agree that the Model 617 will last a lifetime, and hold its value.

Hickok 45 Demos “Wonderful revolver”, a 4″ Model 617. See also Hickok 45 m617 Part 2:

Popular YouTube Host 22 Plinkster Tests Model 617 with 6″ Barrel:

22 Plinkster loves the Model 617, “one of [his] favorite revolvers in the whole entire world — a great choice”. He reports it “shoots straight [and] functions pretty much flawlessly” with nearly any .22 LR ammo. In this video, 22 Plinkster tests a wide variety of rimfire ammo types including CCI .22 LR Std Velocity, .22 Shorts, .22 LR Shotshells, .22 Stingers, .22 Super Colibri, and .22 LR tracers.

This Video Features the Smaller 4″-Barrel Model 617:

Other Rimfire Revolvers — from Ruger and S&W

If you’re considering a rimfire revolver but would like to see other options, read our Buyers Guide to Rimfire Revolvers. Along with the S&W Model 617, this covers the Ruger GP100 10-shot (5″ bbl), Ruger LCRx 8-shot (3″ bbl), Classic S&W Model 17 6-shot (blued 6″ bbl), and S&W Model 63 (3″ bbl).

TOP FIVE Reasons to Own a Rimfire Revolver:

1. Rimfire .22 LR Ammunition is once again plentiful and affordable. The revolver can shoot all kinds of rimfire ammo — even 22 Shorts.

2. A good, full-size .22 LR revolver will be MORE ACCURATE than the vast majority of semi-auto rimfire handguns. It will shoot all types of .22 rimfire ammo with no cycling issues. With no magazines to jam, a good wheelgun will also be more reliable than most self-loading rimfires.

3. A rimfire revolver can shoot tens of thousands of rounds, with just routine maintenance. The gun can last a lifetime and then be passed on to your kids.

4. On a S&W revolver, it is very easy to tune the pull weight. You can have a safe double-action pull with a very light, crisp single-action release.

5. It is easy to change grips and sights to suit your preference. You can also easily mount a scope on the top-strap.

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February 15th, 2020

Seven Ways to Save Money on Your Shooting Hobby in 2020

Money Saving Discount Codes Shooters Shopping Demo Optics

The true cost of living has risen significantly in recent years. Accordingly, it’s important to save money whenever possible. General prices are going up, health costs are rising significantly*, and the cost of components (bullets, brass, powder) continues to climb. To help you hang on to those hard-earned dollars, here are seven ways shooters can save money on gear purchases and other shooting-related expenses.

1. Watch for Our Deals of the Week. Every Monday, in our Daily Bulletin, AccurateShooter.com offers some of the best deals to be found. We search the web to find great deals on ammo, reloading components, optics, tools, firearms, gun safes, electronics and more. It’s not unusual to find savings of 20-35% through our Deals of the Week. And many of our vendors are now offering special deals just for AccurateShooter.com readers.

AccurateShooter deals of the week

2. Check Out the Forum Classifieds. There are great deals to be found every day in the AccurateShooter Shooters’ Forum. The latest deals are displayed in the right column of every Forum page. To see all the listings, browse through the Forum MarketPlace section which has four main categories:

  • Guns, Actions, Stocks, & Barrels
  • Tools, Dies, Rests, Reloading Components & Misc
  • Scopes, Optics, Sights, Rings, Bases Etc.
  • Commercial Sales by Paid Sponsors

3. Share a Ride to Matches. Fuel prices are on the rise — Mid-grade gasoline is nearly $4.00 per gallon in Southern California now and around $2.80/gallon nationwide. With many shooters living 30-100 miles from the nearest range, fuel remains a big part of a shooter’s hobby budget. We’d say 90% of shooters drive solo to matches, often in large, gas-guzzling trucks. If you drive 200 miles round-trip to attend a match in a 20-mpg vehicle, you’ll burn over $28.00 worth of gasoline on your trip. That adds up. By simply sharing the ride with one fellow shooter you cut your fuel expenditures in half. And, if you alternate vehicles with a buddy from one match to the next, you save on vehicle wear and tear. At $0.50/mile (overall operating costs) consider the savings.

4. Use Discount Codes to Save. It’s always smart to check for discount codes before you buy. In the Daily Bulletin, we feature “Deals of the Week” every Monday morning, and we provide discount Coupon Codes when available. These can reduce the price substantially or lower shipping costs. Search codes for Creedmoor Sports, Brownells, Sinclair Int’l, Cabela’s, MidwayUSA, and Precision Reloading. Check your email also — some discount codes are only announced in email newsletters. If you can’t find a Coupon Code for your preferred vendor, visit Gun.deals and/or RetailMeNot.com. Both those sites list current coupon codes, and RetailMeNot.com covers thousands of vendors.

5. Shop for “Demo” Optics. Modern high-quality optics can easily cost $1500.00 or more, often exceeding the value of the rifle on which they are mounted. However, you can often save 20-30% by purchasing demo optics. These are normally display units used at trade shows. They may have slight ringmarks, but otherwise they are “as new”, having never been carried in the field or used on a rifle that has fired live ammo. When purchasing demo scopes, you should always ask about the warranty before consummating the sale. However, most demo scopes from name-brand manufacturers come with full factory warranties. EuroOptic.com and SWFA.com are two respected vendors that offer a good selection of demo optics.

6. Train with Rimfire Rifles. The true cost of shooting a match-grade centerfire rifle, when you consider barrel wear along with bullets, powder, primers, and brass, can exceed $1.20 per round. READ Shooting Cost Article. By contrast, quality .22 LR target ammo sells for under $0.15 per round. Good rimfire barrels last a long, long time, so you don’t have to be concerned about wearing out your barrel quickly. A quality rimfire barrel can retain its accuracy for 10,000 rounds or more. If you run the ballistics, a .22 LR round at 100 yards can emulate the wind drift experienced by a centerfire cartridge at long range. This allows for effective cross-training with much less expensive ammo.

7. Take Advantage of Factory Rebates. Every year there are some attractive rebates available from quality manufacturers such as RCBS, Hornady, Savage, CCI, Federal, Nikon, and Remington. You’ll find rebates on rifles, pistols, optics, ammo, powder, bullets, reloading tools — you name it. Yes, many rebates are used to move less-popular merchandise. But some rebates apply to a very wide range of merchandise (perhaps with a dollar total minimum), so it’s hard to go wrong if you shop smart. Just make sure that, when you buy a product, you retain the sales slip and the original packaging (it’s also wise to print out online orders). To qualify for the rebate, you may need to mail in a product identification code found on the box, along with your original sales receipt.

* Since the adoption of Obamacare, there has been a huge increase in medical insurance costs for self-employed persons above a modest income level. Prior to Obamacare, this Editor was paying about $330/mo for Blue Shield insurance in California. Now my Blue Shield policy (similar coverage but with higher deductibles) is over $1350 per month — a 409% increase! And the office visit co-pay free has risen from $25.00 to $75.00, a 300% increase.

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February 14th, 2020

PSA Valentine’s Day Sale — Guns, Ammo, Optics and More

Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale

Palmetto State Armory (PSA) is running a Valentine’s Day Sale with some great deals on rifles, pistols, rifle components, and optics. Some of these deals run for the next few days, while others expire at 11:59 pm on February 14, 2020.

Here are some of the best deals we found. The S&W 15-22 is a fun little gun and great for NRL-22 Matches. The Taurus G2C Pistol is a true bargain at $189.99. And the Vortex Strike Eagle 1-8X scope is a versatile optic for both hunting and tactical use. Along with these 8 hot deals, there are 150+ other Valentine’s Day Sale items at PSA:

Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale Palmetto State Armory Valentine's Day Sale
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February 13th, 2020

Brain Trust — Bryan Litz, Emil Praslick, and the AMP Team

Ultimate Reloader Video interview Bryan Litz Applied Ballistics Berger Bullets Emil Praslick III AMP Annealing

Our friend Gavin Gear of UltimateReloader.com was a busy man at SHOT Show 2020 in Las Vegas. He visited many leading vendors, and he also interviewed some of the most knowledgeable experts in the world of precision shooting. Today we present three important video interviews hosted by Gavin — the SHOT Show Brain Trust series.

First up is Bryan Litz, world-renowned ballistics expert and founder of Applied Ballistics LLC. The software developed by Bryan’s company is used by top competitive shooters and military marksmen. The second member of the Brain Trust is Emil Praslick III. Former Coach of the USAMU rifle team, Emil is considered to be one of the best wind-readers on the planet. Finally, we showcase a father and son team from New Zealand, Alex and Matt Finlay, developers of the Annealing Made Perfect (AMP) electrical induction annealing system.

Bryan Litz of Applied Ballistics LLC.

This interview with Bryan Litz is a “must-watch” for any serious long-range shooter. Bryan, founder of Applied Ballistics LLC., explains many important ballistics concepts. In addition Bryan discusses bullet design qualities that can reduce drag, increase BC, and improve bullet-to-bullet consistency.

Emil Praslick (U.S. Army Ret.) of Capstone Precision Group

Emil Praslick III, former coach of USAMU and USA Long Range teams, has been hailed as a “wind guru” — a master of wind reading. Emil now works for Capstone Precision Group, Parent of Berger Bullets, Lapua, Vihtavuori, and SK. In this wide-ranging interview, Emil talks about wind-reading strategies, modern bullet designs, and ballistics challenges in Long Range shooting.

Alex and Matt Finlay of Annealing Made Perfect (AMP)

Father Alex and son Matt Finlay have brought break-through technology to the world of precision hand-loading. Their innovative AMP annealing machines are true “game-changers” that extend useful case life and improve loading consistency. The computer-controlled AMP MK 2 annealing system is the most advanced and precise annealer available for the general consumer.

Comment from Interviewer Gavin Gear
It’s an absolute privilege to have access to the “best in the business”. I have so much respect for these innovators: Bryan Litz and Applied Ballistics, Emil Praslick: King of 2 Mile winning team member (2017), and the Annealing Made Perfect team (Alex and Matt). In each case, there’s very interesting innovation happening, and I’ve applied much of what I’ve learned from these people into my daily work on UltimateReloader.com.

Credit: In top photo, brain graphic Designed by Yo_Han / Freepik.

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February 13th, 2020

Primers and Pressure Tolerances — How Primers Vary

Primer Pressure signs

by James Calhoon
(First Printed in Varmint Hunter Magazine, October, 1995)

Primers and Pressures

In the course of talking to many shooters, it has become clear to me that the manufacturers of primers have done a less than adequate job of educating reloaders on the application of their primers. Everybody seems to realize that some primers are “hotter” than others and some seem to shoot better for them than others, but few reloaders know that primers have different pressure tolerances.

Primer Pressure Tolerance
When loading a .223 to the maximum, I was getting primer piercing before I reached case overloading. I don’t know what prompted me to try CCI 450s instead of the 400s which I had been using, but I did. Presto! No more piercing! Interesting!? A primer that has a hotter ignition and yet withstands more pressure! Thats when I decided that it was time to do a dissection of all primers concerned. The chart below shows my results.

Primers and Pressures
NOTE: These primer dimensions were measured many years ago. There may be some differences in current production specifications.

By studying the numbers (Cup “A” thickness), one can see which primers in the small rifle sections should be more resistant to primer cratering and/or piercing. Primer cup diameters are all similar and appear to follow a specification, but check out the cup thickness in the small rifle primers (Dimension “A”). Some cups are quite a bit thicker than others: .025″ for CCI 450 vs. .0019″ for Fed 200. Large rifle primers all appear to have the same cup thickness, no matter what the type. (As a note of interest, small pistol primers are .017″ thick and large pistol primers are .020″ thick.)

If you are shooting a 22 Cooper, Hornet, or a Bee, the .020″ cup will perform admirably. But try using the .020″ cup in a 17 Remington and you will pierce primers, even with moderate loads.

Considering that cup thickness varies in the small rifle primers, it is obvious that primer “flatness” cannot solely be used as a pressure indicator.

Another factor which determines the strength of a primer cup is the work-hardened state of the metal used to make the primer cup. Most primers are made with cartridge brass (70% copper, 30% zinc), which can vary from 46,000 psi, soft, to 76,000 psi tensile strength when fully hardened. Note that manufacturers specify the hardness of metal desired, so some cups are definitely “harder” that others.

What does all this mean to the reloader?
- Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at moderate pressures (40,000 psi) can use CCI 400, Federal 200, Rem 6 1/2, or Win SR. Such cases include 22 CCM, 22 Hornet and the 218 Bee. Other cases that use the small rifle primer can use the above primers only if moderate loads are used. Keep to the lower end of reloading recommendations.

– Cases that utilize small rifle primers and operate at higher pressures (55,000 psi) should use CCI 450, CCI BR4, Fed 205 and Rem 7 1/2.

– All the large rifle primers measured have the same thickness. Therefore choose based on other factors, such as accuracy, low ES/SD, cost, cup hardness, and uniformity.

Hope this clears up some primer confusion. If you want more information about primers, priming compounds, or even how to make primers, the NRA sells an excellent book called “Ammunition Making” by George Frost. This book tells it like it is in the ammo making industry.

Jim Calhoon Products

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February 13th, 2020

CMP Western Games Return to Arizona in March

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The annual Western Civilian Marksmanship Program (CMP) Travel Games (Western Games) will return in 2020 for another round of marksmanship events at the Ben Avery Shooting Facility in Phoenix, Arizona. The week-long series of recreational vintage and modern rifle competitions will be held March 13-22, 2020 and is open to competitors of all ages and experience levels. NOTE: This is a major scheduling change — in recent years, the CMP Western Games were conducted in October. The new Spring schedule should allow cooler temperatures.

CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Notably, Western Games matches on the High Power range will be fired on CMP electronic targets. That means less time in the pits, and faster cycling of relays.

Western CMP Games Program | Western Games Entry Form | Online Registration

Vintage Sniper Matches have become very popular
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

The Western Games lineup is comprised of CMP Games matches such as the Garand, Springfield, Vintage Military, Modern Military, Rimfire Sporter, M1 Carbine, and Vintage Sniper matches as well as a series of CMP High Power (HP) Rifle Matches, which include three days of 80-Shot Aggregate competitions, a 4-Man Team event, and a Service Rifle EIC Match.

M1 Carbine Match at Western CMP Games
CMP M-1 Rimfire Carbine Citadel

There Is Always a Big Turn-out for Rimfire Sporter Matches
CMP rimfire sporter match western Games

Rifle Marksmanship 101 Training Class
For beginners and enthusiasts wanting to sharpen their marksmanship skills, a Rifle Marksmanship 101 class will also give participants insight into the fundamentals of safety and competition shooting. Participants work one-on-one with experienced CMP Rifle Master Instructors for classroom and hands-on training. Rifles and ammunition will be provided for the class. At the conclusion of training, students in the school will fire in a true M16 EIC Match, observed by instructors on the line.

CMP Western Games March Ben Avery Arizona

A CMP HP Clinic, conducted by experienced instructors, will be held for those wanting a closer, more detailed look at the sport. The clinic will include training that utilizes live-fire education on the firing line. Additionally, the scheduled M1 Maintenance Clinic is the perfect place to learn more about the inner workings of the classic rifle and ways to ensure its preservation.

electronic TargetsElectronic Targets for High Power Matches
High Power competitors at Ben Avery will have the opportunity to fire on the CMP’s modern traveling electronic target system. This Kongsberg system features special targets programmed with precision software that register the shot locations and score. In addition, beside each competitor on the firing line is a remote monitor that instantly displays shot scores.

The CMP electronic target system eliminates the need for doing pit duty — that saves time and aggravation for the shooters. The more efficient schedules allowed by the electronic targets give Western Games shooters more opportunities to fire additional disciplines because relays run much more quickly.

The CMP adds: “Trained CMP staff members will be present at all times to ensure safety and a great experience for all who attend the event. Join us for a week of competition, new experiences and fun!”

More information about the Western CMP Games and registration forms can be found by on the CMP website. The match is just one month away. If you’re interested you should Download the Entry Form and/or REGISTER ONLINE soon.

Schedule for Major CMP Events in 2020:

(Mark Your Calendars)

Western CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
March 13-22, 2020, Ben Avery Shooting Facility, Phoenix, AZ

Eastern CMP Games & CMP HP Rifle Matches
April 24 – May 3, 2020, Camp Butner, Butner, NC

CMP National Matches at Camp Perry
July 6 – August 8, 2020, Camp Perry, Port Clinton, OH

New England CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
September 14-20, 2020, Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, VT

Oklahoma CMP HP Rifle & CMP Games Matches
October 12-18, 2020, Oklahoma City, OK

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