March 31st, 2020

Status of Firearms Dealers and FFLS — State by State

Emergency Executive order gun FFL retailer store closure coronavirus covid-19

Currently gun retailers and FFLs in 42 U.S. states are being allowed to stay open, either because they have been declared “essential businesses” or because there is no Emergency Order in place. This is consisent with a recent “Guidance” issued by the Dept. of Homeland Security. In six states, gun stores and FFL operations have been ordered closed by Executive Orders. While in two states, California and Michigan, the situation is unclear because of inconsistent county-by-county policies or vague statewide orders.

These findings come from TheTrace.org, a gun control website that has published an interactive map, along with a state-by-state list of gun store closures policies. While we are no fans of TheTrace.org, since it definitely has an anti-gun bias, right now that website provides one of the more up-to-date summary of gun shop status across the country. Hopefully the NRA will provide its own map soon.

On TheTrace.org’s Gun Store Closure Report you can see a grid-map with each state’s status indicated by a color. Blue means gunshops and FFLs are open, yellow means they have been ordered closed, pale gray means no order is currently in effect, and dark gray indicates the situation is “unclear”.

Click Image to Use Interactive Map
Emergency Executive order gun FFL retailer store closure coronavirus covid-19

TheTrace.org lists the status of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, with links to official Emergency Orders and relevant media reports. Here are status summaries for six states, based on information AccurateShooter.com has obtained:

Alabama
According to local media reports, Alabama gun stores remain open. AL Gov. Kay Ivey issued an order closing “non-essential business”, but gun dealers and FFLs were not among those businesses ordered to halt their operations.

Arizona
Currently there are no formal restrictions on the operations of gun store. But, it looks like gun rights will be honored. AZ Gov. Doug Ducey included “firearm and ammunition suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security” on a list of “essential services”.

California
Situation is in flux. CA Gov. Newsom stated he would defer to the decisions of local Sheriffs, so gun stores are open in some counties, closed in others. There is litigation in progress that could open all stores statewide. MORE INFO.

Florida
No gunstore closures yet — “Firearm and ammunition supply stores” have been included on list of “essential businesses”. However a stay-at-home order for four counties in South Florida — Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, and Monroe — was issued by FL Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Pennsylvania
Gun stores are open, but may not be running full operations. According to TheTrace.org: “Governor Tom Wolf has issued guidance allowing gun dealers to operate on an appointment-only basis in order to ‘complete only the portions of a sale/transfer that must be conducted in-person under the law’. The governor’s original order shuttered gun stores, but he issued the revision after several Pennsylvania Supreme Court justices urged him to allow the shops to reopen.”

Texas
Gun shops and FFLs can remain open in the Lone Star state. After some localities attempted to close gun retailers via executive orders, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton issued a statement that that cities and counties “may not regulate or restrict the sale of firearms”. Paxton said in his nonbinding opinion that state law prevents cities and counties from “adopting regulations related to the transfer, possession, or ownership of firearms, or commerce in firearms.” MORE INFO.

Gun Store Shut-Downs Challenged by Legal Actions
TheTrace.org reports that State Executive Orders mandating gun store closures have been challenged in the courts: “In states that have ordered gun stores to close, enforcement of the orders is proving messy — and litigious. In Pennsylvania, gun-rights advocates immediately filed a lawsuit challenging Governor Tom Wolf’s order to close dealers. The state Supreme Court swiftly rejected the suit, but hours later Wolf’s office quietly updated its policy to allow gun dealers to operate on a limited basis. On the other side of the country, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that he was leaving the decision to let gun stores continue operating in the hands of county sheriffs. And New Jersey’s unprecedented decision to eliminate access to its background check system drew multiple lawsuits.”

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March 31st, 2020

NRA Suspends All Sanctioned Matches Through April 30, 2020

NRA Camp Atterbury Indiana Camp Perry National Matches

On Monday, March 30, the National Rifle Assocation (NRA) announced the suspension of all sanctioned matches until the end of April. Here is the NRA’s official statement:

Due to the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the NRA is unfortunately suspending all sanctioned matches through April 30, 2020. Any requests for sanctioning of new matches beyond April 30 are also suspended until further notice. As a result of this suspension, the NRA will no longer accept match fees or scores. The NRA will continue to monitor the situation and make additional statements as the Covid-19 pandemic unfolds. [For more information] Please contact the NRA Competitive Shooting Division at comphelp@nrahq.org, follow the NRA Competitive Shooting Facebook page or monitor the Competitive Shooting Division website at Competitions.nra.org.

NRA Camp Atterbury Indiana Camp Perry National Matches

NOTE: At this time there are no plans to cancel the NRA National Championship Matches to be held at Camp Atterbury, Indiana during July and August 2020.

NRA Smallbore Championships — July 23 – August 5, 2020
NRA High Power Rifle Championships — August 9-15, 2020
NRA Mid-Range Rifle Championships — August 16-20, 2020
NRA Long Range Rifle Championships — August 21-25, 2020

NRA Camp Atterbury Indiana Camp Perry

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March 31st, 2020

Get Hodgdon and IMR Loads from Reloading Data Center

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powderLooking for a good load for a new rifle? Or perhaps you want to try a new powder and bullet combo for an existing rig. One of the best places to start for load data is Hodgdon’s online Reloading Data Center for pistol, rifle, and shotgun reloaders. Check out the Reloading Data Center at www.HodgdonReloading.com.

In the Data Center, you’ll find thousands of load recipes for pistol, rifle, and shotgun. Rifle shooters will find dozens of loads for their favorite Hodgdon, IMR, and Winchester powders such as H4198, Varget, H4350, and IMR 8208 XBR. And Hodgdon’s Reloading Center is “mobile-friendly” so it works well with smartphones and tables. Navigation is easy, and you can set the search criteria easily choosing your favorite powder or bullets. After choosing a cartridge, you can pre-select specific bullet weights and powder types. That quickly delivers just the information you want and need. You won’t have to scroll through scores of entries for bullets or powders you don’t use.

Hodgdon Reloading data Center hand loading powder

Mobile users will notice that the current Hodgdon Reloading Center is much more “user-friendly” for smart-phone and tablet users. Controls have been optimized for touch-screens, and buttons are large and easy to use. Likewise the results are displayed in a large, easy-to read format.

How to Get Started with Handloading

Getting started in Reloading? Ultimate Reloader offers a helpful introductory video that covers the basics. In addition, a recent Ultimate Reloader article reviews the types of reloading presses, plus the other gear you’ll need, from dies to powder dispensers.

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March 30th, 2020

Bargain Finder 236: AccurateShooter’s Deals of the Week

AccurateShooter Deals of the Week Weekly Bargain Finder Sale Discount Savings

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. Palmetto State Armory — JTS M12AK 12ga Shotgun, $399.99

ak style 12ga shotgun

For home defense, it’s hard to beat a shotgun. And a magazine-fed, semi-auto AK-type shotgun offers serious firepower in a compact package. This JTS M12AK 12ga 18″ Shotgun, features the proven, ultra-reliable AK47-type action. Yes it works great with shotshells. This 18″-barrel, 4.9-Star rated, semi-auto firearm takes a variety of magazine sizes, and is Saiga-mag compatible. If you want a high-capacity scatter-gun, this is a solid value at $399.99 from Palmetto State Armory.

2. Costco — Cannon Large Executive Safe, $699.99 (Save $200!)

cannon safe
$200 manufacturer’s savings is valid 3/30/20 through 4/27/20. While supplies last.

Being a responsible gun owner means securing your weapons at all times. However, not everyone can afford a multi-thousand dollar safe. Cannon Safe has been making quality yet affordable safes for decades. Now you can grab Cannon’s Executive Series Safe for $699.99. This is a BIG, 43.8 cubic foot-capacity vault with 60 minutes fire protection. Price for this large 59″ H x 45″ W Safe is just $699.99 INCLUDING SHIPPING! This is an amazing deal for a very big safe. NOTE: Just last week this same safe was $899.99 at COSTCO, so you Save $200!

3. Midsouth Shooters — Fiocchi 9mm Luger Ammo, $12.99/50

fiocchi 9mm 9x19mm luger fmj ammo ammunition pistol

Currently pistol ammunition is in very high demand, particularly 9mm Luger (9x19mm). Some dealers have doubled or even tripled the price of their 9mm pistol ammo. Thankfully, Midsouth Shooters continues to offer Fiocchi 9mm Luger ammo for just $12.99 per 50ct box. That works out to $0.26 per round. This is reliable ammo with 115gr FMJ bullets and reloadable brass cases.

4. Optics Planet — Vortex 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope, $399.00

vortex spotting scope

With plenty of high-end spotting scopes available on the market it’s easy to forget there are some very good, affordable spotters out there. Among the better budget-priced spotting scopes is the Vortex Diamondback 20-60x60mm Spotting Scope. Both angled and straight-body versions are on sale now for $399.00. This spotter is backed by a rock-solid, Vortex lifetime warranty. The 20-60X zoom range is ideal for viewing mirage or bullet holes on distant targets.

5. Midsouth Shooters — RCBS ChargeMaster Lite, $219.99

Chargemaster Lite Midsouth Sale

Do you need an electronic powder scale and dispenser? Check out this great deal at Midsouth Shooters Supply. Suggested retail for the ChargeMaster Lite is $299.99. Amazon’s best price for this unit is $269.99. But now you can get it for just $219.99 at Midsouth. So you can save $50.00 with this Midsouth sale. Put the money saved into bullets or powder. The RCBS ChargeMaster Lite is the modern second generation Scale/Dispenser, descended from the original ChargeMaster. The ChargeMaster Lite features an easy-to-use LCD touchscreen. Dispenser precision is plus/minus 0.1 grains. The unit comes with twin check weights and a convenient plastic cover for the powder pan.

6. Graf’s — Tipton Ultra Gun Vise, $99.95

tipton gun vise

Cleaning and working on your guns requires a solid platform. Most gun cleaning stands aren’t adjustable enough or are too flimsy. Not so with the Tipton Ultra Gun Vise. Weighing-in at about 10 pounds, this beefy gun vise provides a steady base. The frame is metal for strength, features stout adjustable jaws, specialized AR holder, and several accessory trays. Threaded feet allow the vise to be leveled on your bench (or the ground). With this system you can work on just about anything including bolt-action rifles, AR-platform rifles, shotguns, pistols, and even compound bows and crossbows. To fit wide forearms, you may have to remove or modify the front pad(s). Our Deals Editor, who owns this gun vise, reports this is an outstanding product, well worth the $99.95.

7. Amazon — Caldwell Precision Turret Rest, $69.99

caldwell rest

Are you tired of big heavy sleds for range shooting but they don’t provide any kind of easy adjustment or target acquisition? Check out the Caldwell Precision Adjustable Turret Rest. It offers quick horizontal and vertical adjustment making it great for target shooting as well as varminting from a bench. Amazon user ‘Jet Mech 1′ reports “…it’s REALLY solid! Solid steel legs and everything is heavy duty. It’s really compact. Easily fits in the smallest car trunk. So, if you’re limited on space going to the range, this is ideal. It holds your firearm very securely. The tilt and pan is super smooth and precise. This is the perfect platform for an AR-style rifle but works equally well for just about anything.”

8. Grizzly or Amazon — Dewalt Storage Box on Wheels, $69.99

dewalt tool box
Grizzly offers FREE Shipping on this rolling Dewalt box and all non-freight items over $35.00.

More and more we see range bags being traded out for rolling range boxes. Wheeled toolboxes such as the Dewalt TSTAK storage box have become the new go-to way of easily transporting gear to the line. The best part of these systems is that you can easily stack a smaller fitted Dewalt box on top such as the flat top toolbox or the deep drawer organizer and create the range box combo that works best for you. These smaller boxes mate with recesses in the top of the larger TSTAK Deep Box with Wheels.

9. Amazon — Sawyer MINI Water Filtration System, $19.97

travel water filter

The current pandemic has made many people realize they were not prepared for unexpected events. Safe drinking water is vital. If clean tap water is not available, and your bottled water runs out, having an emergency filter is important. At only $19.97 the Sawyer MINI Water Filter is a small and inexpensive way to have an emergency water source during times of crisis.

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March 30th, 2020

New Four-Part Reloading Video Series from Tactical Life

tactical life reloading video series rcbs barnes

In Tactical Life’s new Reloading Zone Series, Frank Melloni, of Renaissance Firearms Instruction and the Hodgdon Reloading Roadshow, covers the basic steps of reloading. From equipment selection to reading a manual, Frank explains the process and demonstrates how to produce safe and accurate ammo. In the series, the host loads pistol and rifle ammunition using Hodgdon powder, Barnes Bullets, and Starline brass. RCBS Presses, Powder Measures, Scales, and Dies are used along with the impressive new dual-tube RCBS MatchMaster electronic scale/dispenser.

This 4-part video series first guides the new hand-loader through the gear/hardware selection process. Then the videos cover, step-by-step, all the key processes of reloading from start to finish. If you are new to hand-loading, or just want a reloading refresher course, we recommend you watch this 4-part series from Tactical Life, part of the Athlon Outdoors Network.

WARNING!! We have embedded the Videos below. You can watch ALL four videos, but each will play back at the TOP. NOTE: They are all the same for the first 30 seconds, so you may want to skip forward. These videos may play back better if you go to the Tactical Life Website. Access: CLICK HERE.

The complete book of reloading tactical life video seriesLearn More in Tactical Life’s The Complete Book of Reloading (2020 Edition)

This publication includes over 2000 handgun and rifle loads. In addition, The Complete Book of Reloading (2020) reviews 8 modern Progressive Presses. Take note — there is a special report on the LabRadar Chronograph. Long-range Hunters will enjoy a feature article on the new 6.5 PRC Cartridge. In the “Handloaders’ Stockpile” a variety of new products to make your hours at the bench more productive are reviewed. The issue also has feature stories on Wildcat Cartridges, Subsonic loads, and .44 Magnum loads for both rifle and pistol. There is a Bonus 33-Page Hodgdon and Alliant Load Data Guide.

CLICK HERE for more details.

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March 29th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: AR15 Uncovered — X-Ray Views of Black Rifles

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, many of our readers are dusting off their AR-platform rifles. Because ARs have a somewhat unique (and dirty) semi-auto operating system, we think all AR owners should learn how their rifles operate — from the inside out. This Sunday GunDay feature provides an “inside look” at the AR, with X-Ray and Cutaway views created through advanced 3D computer modeling.

AR15 Functions Revealed with 3D Computer Animation

Ever wondered how the parts inside an AR15 work together? Just exactly how does the reciprocating bolt carrier feed rounds from the magazine? How do the elements in the trigger group work and reset after each shot? How does the gas system bleed gas from the barrel and operate the bolt carrier? These and other questions are answered in this eye-opening video from 45Snipers. Using “cutaway” 3D computer animation, this 5-minute video shows all features of an AR15 inside and out. This fascinating firearms animation allows the viewer to look inside the upper and lower receivers, into the bolt carrier, chamber, barrel, and magazine.

This video starts off slow and has annoying background music, but it is well worth watching if you own or shoot any AR-platform rifle. It illustrates all the key operations during the charging, loading, firing, and ejection processes. The cutaway animation shows how rounds are stripped from the magazine and then chambered. It then shows how every part of the trigger group works, and how the firing pin strikes the primer. You can even watch the bullet move down the barrel before the empty shell casing is removed from the chamber and tossed out the ejection port. Here are sample frames from the video:

ar-15 AR15 3D animation video youtube cutaway 5.56 AR .233 Rem

How AR-Platform Rifles Work — General Introduction
To help reader understand the general operation of AR-type rifles, this video shows the control functions of an AR and how the upper and lower sections work together.

Cutaway 3D Animation of AR15/M16 Action — Watch Video

Here is an excellent “cutaway” animation by Thomas Schwenke that shows how an AR-15 functions — how the entire loading cycle works from start to finish.

AR platform rifles are semi-automatics version of the M16. These feature distinctive upper and lower receivers which can be readily separated via front and rear pins. The upper includes the barrel, handguard, forward gas tube, and bolt assembly, while the lower contains grip, trigger group, fire selector, and mag well. In addition the lower is attached to the stock which encloses the buffer assembly.

3d firearms modeling gun CGI software encylopedia gun disassembly

The original ArmaLite AR-15 was a select-fire, air-cooled, gas-operated, magazine-fed rifle designed by American gun manufacturer ArmaLite in 1956. It was based on Armalite’s AR-10 rifle chambered for the 7.62×51 NATO (.308 Win). In 1959, ArmaLite sold its rights to the AR-10 and AR-15 to Colt. Some key modifications were made — most notably, the charging handle was re-located from under the carrying handle to the rear of the receiver. The redesigned rifle was adopted by the U.S. military as the M16 carbine, which went into production in March 1964.

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March 29th, 2020

DHS States Gun-Makers and Retailers Are “Essential Businesses”

Department homeland security Dhs gun retailers firearms order Coronavirus essential business

Story based on 3/28/20 report by Ammoland.com.
The Department of Homeland Security has declared firearms manufacturers and retailers “essential businesses”. This is very important because many states, including California and New York, have issued Executive Orders which have shuttered gun stores and halted the operations of FFLs. The DHS statement should, hopefully, lead to changes in state and regional emergency orders requiring gun shops to close.

The reference to gun retailers and gun ranges is found in a DHS document titled Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce in the section dealing with “Law Enforcement, Public Safety, and Other First Responders”.

Department homeland security Dhs gun retailers firearms order Coronavirus essential business

Legal Actions to Counter Closures of Retail Gun Stores and FFLs

On Friday, 3/28/20, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and the Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) joined forces with the NRA, California Gun Rights Foundation and several others in a federal lawsuit against Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva. They are also alleged to be using the COVID-19 pandemic to close down gun stores.

Comment: In California, all the gun shops have closed, yet Marijuana Dispensaries and Vape Shops remain open as “essential businesses”. That shows you Gov. Newsom’s priorities — recreational drugs are good, while guns are bad. The California Governor is exploiting this crisis to harm the gun industry and put gunshop owners out of business. And in Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee’s emergency order listed employees at marijuana shops, breweries and winemaking facilities as part of the essential workforce, but omitted firearm and ammunition retailers and distributors.

The same day (3/28/20) in North Carolina, SAF and FPC filed a federal lawsuit against Wake County Sheriff Gerald M. Baker for refusing to accept new applications for pistol purchase permits or concealed handgun permits until April 30, 2020, using the COVID-19 outbreak as justification.

Previously, the SAF filed a lawsuit challenging New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s order shutting down firearms dealers. In Kashinsky v. Murphy, the SAF is joined by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society in alleging violation of “civil rights under color of law” by shutting down firearms dealerships, preventing citizens and businesses from exercising their rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments.


This story is based on an article created by Dave Workman for Ammoland.com, which states: “Readers, please share this article with your state, local and federal representatives, police departments and sheriffs as well local firearms retailers to make them aware of the new guidance so we can get our local business back to work and fellow Americans the products they need to remain safe.

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March 29th, 2020

See Bullet Holes at 500+ with White Background Splatter Targets

shoot-n-c sight-in-target white black halo

Do you have trouble seeing your bullet holes (on paper) when shooting past 400 yards? That’s a common issue even with premium ($1600+) high-magnification scopes. Here’s a target that solves that problem. A hit creates a larger black circle that’s much more visible than a plain bullet hole, making this target ideal for use at longer range (500 yards and beyond).

The 12″ square Birchwood Casey white background Sight-In Target displays a black “halo” around each hit (like the yellow circle on a conventional Shoot-N-C). Larger than bullet diameter, the “halos” can be easily seen with a high-magnification scope at long range (see video below). The self-adhesive target features four diamonds with contrasting red box centers. For precise aiming, you can position your cross-hairs to align with the corners of the boxes. Or, you can put a target dot sticker in the middle.

This video shows Black Shot Halos on white background:

White splatter targetWhile we envision using this target with optics at long range, Birchwood Casey says that open sights show up well against the white background, making these targets well-suited for indoor ranges or use in low light conditions.

This white background grid target has five aiming points and a 1-inch grid overlay for quick and easy sight adjustments. It comes with target pasters that allow shooters to cover up bullet holes and continue using the target for added value. The White/Black Shoot-N-C 12″ Sight-In Targets come in 5-packs with 75 target pasters for $8.99 from MidwayUSA or $12.70 on Amazon. If you prefer circle targets, there is a larger 17.5″ Shoot-N-C target with one large bull with red diamond center (photo right).

High-Viz Option — Yellow on Black Grid with Yellow Halos

If you prefer seeing ultra-high-contrast yellow/green “halos” for your hits, Birchwood Casey also makes adhesive grid targets with five yellow-edged diamonds. Red circles provide precise aiming points in the middle of each box. You can quickly estimate group size or dial-in your zero using the hi-viz yellow 1″ grid lines. These yellow-on-black targets are available in three sizes: 8″ square, 12″ square, and 17.5″ square. These yellow-on-black grid targets start at $6.80 for an 8″ five-pack.

shoot-n-c sight-in-target white black halo

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March 28th, 2020

NRA Offers Free Experienced Hunter Education Course

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

Many of our readers are under mandatory “Stay at Home” orders. And, in some states, public shooting ranges have been closed. That limits your options. If you want a break from watching TV and doing chores around the house, here is a way you can improve your hunting skills/knowledge — and it’s 100% FREE.

The National Rifle Association recently launched the NRA Experienced Hunter Education Course, a new online training program designed to help hunters brush up their skills. Free to all, this comprehensive hunting refresher course will help hunters become safer and more confident before heading out into the field. CLICK HERE for more information.

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

NRA’s Experienced Hunter Education Course is an online review of everything an experienced hunter should know, including a review of firearm safety and safe hunting practices. Though not a substitute for state-mandated hunter safety requirements, it will provide a solid foundation of the fundamentals.

Experiencd Hunter education course NRA

“If you’ve taken a break from the shooting sports or haven’t hunted in a season or two, our Experienced Hunter Education Course is the perfect refresher for firearms safety and safe hunting practices,” explained Elizabeth Bush, managing director of NRA Community Engagement. “Best of all, we’re offering this service completely free of charge.”

Course Description
This online training course is specifically designed for individuals who have not hunted in the past year or more and are looking for a safety refresher before they head back out in the field. In this course, hunters will have the opportunity to refresh their skills by taking a look at safe hunting practices and firearms safety. Once completed, you will be a safer hunter in the field.

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March 28th, 2020

Defensive Firearms — Understanding Terminal Ballistics

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

If you are evaluating a firearm for self-defense use, you should consider three main factors: Reliability, Functionality (sights, trigger, ergonomics), and Effectiveness (ability to halt/neutralize threats). Regarding effectiveness, you need to consider what happens when the projectiles from your firearm reach the target. That involves penetration and terminal ballistics.

A 12ga shotgun is very effective inside 20 yards, with less risk of over-penetration* vs. a centerfire rifle.
Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

You’ve probably heard the term “Terminal Ballistics”. But do you really know what this refers to? Fundamentally, “Terminal Ballistics” describes the behavior of a projectile as it strikes, enters, and penetrates a target. Terminal Ballistics, then, can be said to describe projectile behavior in a target including the transfer of kinetic energy. Contrast this with “External Ballistics” which, generally speaking, describes and predicts how projectiles travel in flight. One way to look at this is that External Ballistics covers bullet behavior before impact, while terminal ballistics covers bullet behavior after impact.

The study of Terminal Ballistics is important for hunters, because it can predict how pellets, bullets, and slugs can perform on game. This NRA Firearm Science video illustrates Terminal Ballistics basics, defining key terms such as Impact Crater, Temporary Cavity, and Primary Cavity.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity

External Ballistics, also called “exterior ballistics”, is the part of ballistics that deals with the behavior of a non-powered projectile in flight.

Terminal Ballistics, a sub-field of ballistics, is the study of the behavior and effects of a projectile when it hits its target.

Terminal External Ballistics Exterior, Temporary Cavity Permanent Cavity


*This Shooting Illustrated article discusses over-penetration risks with a variety of cartridge types. “A bullet passing through a threat and continuing with the potential to cause unintentional damage to a bystander or object is a situation commonly described as over-penetration.”

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March 28th, 2020

RFiD Rapid-Access Gun Vault for Home Defense

AR gunlocker RAPID Safe gun vault instant access

With the USA in the throes of a pandemic, home security is more important than ever. A large, heavy conventional safe is still the best way to store your full firearms collection. However, when seconds count, a rapid-access system may be a smart option. Using RFiD technology, and a spring-loaded door, this kind of rapid-access vault lets you instantly get your hands on your primary defensive rifle or shotgun.

For home use, we like this RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker from Hornady. The spring-loaded door opens instantly when activated by the owner’s personal RFID devices. The AR Gunlocker ($302.62 on Amazon) also has a keypad so you can enter a combination if your RFID “key” is not around. Or you can use the supplied manual barrel-style metal key. Watch the video to see how the system works:

The RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker RFID safe secures long guns in a steel-walled vault that can be stored in a closet, under a bed, or even in your vehicle. This will hold an AR and a shotgun with foam inserts. There are several options for entry: 1) Radio Frequency IDentification (RFID) tag system; 2) KeyPad; 3) Manual barrel-style metal key.

AR gunlocker RAPID Safe gun vault instant access

Provided Access Devices
For the AR Gunlocker, Hornady provides one RFID Wristband, one RFID Key Fob, and two RFID “stickers”. As a secondary entry method, you can program a four- to six-digit security code. Finally, you can use a manual lock if all power fails.

RAPiD Safe AR Gunlocker Specifications:
Exterior: 42″ Wide x 15.25″ Deep x 6.75″ High
Interior: 40.5″ Wide x 13.5″ Deep x 5.5″ High
Weight: 55 pounds
Power: 12-volt DC (with transformer from AC wall outlet) or four (4) AA batteries.

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March 27th, 2020

Ammo Sales Spike… and Gun News in Pandemic Times

Coronavirus Ammo Ammuniction Sales Guns FFL SCOPE Data

Here are some gun-industry news highlights for the week. With the Coronovirus pandemic dominating the news, there have been some important developments. First, we are seeing a huge spike in ammo sales, along with significant growth in gun purchases. Second, groups are fighting State Executive Orders mandating closures of gun stores. Third, a number of gun accessory companies are gearing up to provide health-related products such as N95 masks and disinfectants.

Coronavirus Ammo Ammuniction Sales Guns FFL SCOPE DataAmmunition Sales Spike with Widespread Concerns Over Coronavirus Pandemic
The National Association of Sporting Goods Wholesalers (NASGW) SCOPE data platform reported a 168% spike in ammunition shipments for the week ending March 14. For all of 2020 so far, ammo shipments are up 21%.

Ammo Sales up 168% Nationwide
During the week ending March 14, distributors shipped close to $10,000,000 worth of ammunition, representing a 168% bump above the 3-year average for the same week. In some states, SCOPE DLX shows up to a 600% growth in ammunition shipments. Overall, ammunition shipments are up 21% year-to-date (YTD).

Gun Sales Rising Significantly
Concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic continue to drive firearms sales as well. According to Chris Means, NASGW Director and President of Tactical Gear Distributors, ammunition was the first category to spike but firearms have been following, with high demand for carry guns are ARs. Firearms shipments were up 13.74% compared to the 3-year average for March 8-14.

Coronavirus Ammo Ammuniction Sales Guns FFL SCOPE Data

About the Data Tracker: NASGW SCOPE is an analytics platform for shooting sports manufacturers, distributors, and retailers. SCOPE DLX collects weekly shipment data from 20 leading distributors that represent demand from FFLs across the United States.

AR15s Are in High Demand Again — Sales are Rising

Gun Industry News — Coping with a Crisis

Legal Challenge to New Jersey Closure of Firearms Dealers
The Second Amendment Foundation has filed a lawsuit challenging New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s order shutting down firearms dealers in the Garden State. In Kashinsky v. Murphy, the SAF is joined by the New Jersey Second Amendment Society in alleging violation of “civil rights under color of law” by shutting down firearms dealerships, preventing citizens and businesses from exercising their rights under the Second and Fourteenth Amendments. Federal Judge Judge Shipp has set Friday, April 3 as the deadline for the state’s opposition brief to the SAF’s suit. This important Second Amendment case could have ramifications across the nation.

New York Shutters Kimber Manufacturing Plant in Yonkers NY
In related news, the Kimber Plant in New York state has been closed in response to executive orders. Due to the New York state decision to shutter non-essential businesses as part of the COVID-19 response plan, Kimber Mfg. Inc. has stopped production at its New York facilities. Production continues at Kimber’s new, state-of-the-art Troy, Alabama manufacturing facility.

NOTE: In many other states, firearms and ammunition production facilities, along with retail gunstores, ARE recognized as “essential businesses” and therefore allowed to stay open. For a state-by-state run-down, read the NSSF Covid-19 Information and Resources for FFLs.

Radians Donates 14,000 N95 Masks to TN Hospitals
Radians, manufacturer of quality safety eyewear and hearing protection for shooters and hunters, donated over 14,000 N95 masks to medical facilities in Memphis, TN. Wisely, in 2018 Radians added the N95 respirator to its line of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Radians CEO, Mike Tutor, said the N95 mask donation “represents Radians’ corporate responsibility to help during challenging times. With a worldwide shortage of respirator masks, we knew this donation would quickly assist first responders and health care workers [during] the COVID-19 crisis. The respirators will also be of service at COVID-19 test sites.”

Coronavirus Ammo Ammuniction Sales Guns FFL SCOPE Data

Otis Technology Joins the Fight Against COVID-19
Otis Technology has partnered with Saint Lawrence Spirits to make, bottle and distribute hand sanitizer to first responders in desperate need during the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, Otis Technology began using its facilities — normally used to manufacture firearms maintenance products — to immediately begin manufacturing personal protective equipment.

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March 27th, 2020

Introduction to Auto-Indexing Progressive Presses

USAMU Progressive Press auto  self-advancing

On Wednesdays, The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit regularly publishes reloading “how-to” articles on the USAMU Facebook page. One “Handloading Hump Day” article, part 5 of a 6-part series, relates to reloading on Progressive Presses. This article concerns proper procedures for Auto-Indexing Progressives, which advance the shell-plate with every pull of the handle. Auto Progressives are very efficient, but they also require special attention and focus, because so many things are happening at once. You need to train yourself to watch every station. If you run a progressive press now, or are considering getting a progressive, we recommend you read this article. Visit the USAMU Facebook page for other helpful handloading guidance.

Progressive Loading Presses — Self-Advancing Shellplate Type

USAMU Progressive Press auto  self-advancing
Photo courtesy UltimateReloader.com.

Recently, we addressed manually-operated progressive presses for the beginning handloader. This type press requires one to manually advance the shellplate after each handle stroke. An advantage for beginners is that nothing happens at any station until the loader wants it to. This helps users avoid problems from clearing malfunctions without noticing that the shellplate has advanced itself. (Read Previous USAMU Article on Manual Progressives.)

The next, more luxurious type progressive press advances the shellplate automatically whenever the handle is cycled. [Editor: This is also called an “Auto-Indexing” Progressive Press.] Typically, each stroke automatically sizes and primes a case, operates the powder measure (if used) and seats a bullet. Some also have case feeders that automatically put a new case in the shellplate with every cycle. Others require the loader to insert a case each cycle. With both types, the loader usually puts a bullet on each sized/primed/charged case.

[CAVEAT: While our Handloading Shop has several progressive presses, ALL of our powder charges are thrown/weighed by hand. We do not use powder measures on our presses. Our progressives are used for brass preparation, priming, seating, etc., but not for fully-progressive loading.]

The manually-advanced press can be a boon to beginners, but as one gains experience it can be a mixed blessing, depending on one’s style. If one pays close attention to every operation and loads without distractions, the manual press is very reliable and allows full scrutiny of each round as it is loaded. However, if one easily drifts into day-dreaming, or isn’t focused on paying careful attention at all times, the manual progressive can be a bit of a liability. The opportunity for forgetting a powder charge, leading to a squib load, is ever-present. [Editor: A lock-out die can help reduce the risk of a squib load, or a double-charge. See below.]

The automatically-advancing progressives help prevent this by ensuring a powder charge will be dropped each time the handle is operated. Experienced handloaders often appreciate this feature due to the savings of time and effort. Individual preferences between the two press styles are influenced by several factors. These include one’s comfort with more- vs. less-complicated mechanisms, how often one changes calibers (case feeders often must be converted, in addition to dies and shellplates), how many rounds one loads annually, relative ease of changing primer mechanisms from small to large, etc. Automatic progressives and their caliber conversion kits tend to be significantly more expensive than manual progressives and caliber conversions from the same maker.

One USAMU handloader, who likes simple, bullet-proof machines and maximum efficiency when converting presses, owns two manually-advanced progressives. One is set up for large primers, and the other for small primers. He can change calibers in the twinkling of an eye. As he loads for many different calibers, this fits his style. Another handloader here is just the opposite. He loads for a few calibers, but in larger quantities. He much prefers his self-advancing press with case-feeder for its speed. He makes large lots of ammo in a given caliber before switching, to improve overall efficiency. His caliber conversion kits are more expensive than those for the manually-advanced progressive, but he uses fewer of them.

Whichever type one chooses, it is VERY important to buy quality gear from a manufacturer with a long, well-established track record for quality, durability and good customer support. Avoid jumping on the “latest, greatest” model until it has a proven track record. For example, this writer knows a loader who got a brand-new, expensive, self-advancing model press some years back, shortly after its introduction. As is too often the case these days, the manufacturer released it before all the “bugs” were worked out.

Better Safe Than Sorry — the RCBS Lock-Out Die
RCBS Makes a “Lock-Out Die” that senses the powder charge. This will halt the Progressive press if you have a double charge, or an undercharge. Your Editor has the Lock-Out Die on his RCBS Pro 2000. It has “saved his bacon” a half-dozen times over the years. It can be used on Dillon and Hornady progressives as well as RCBS machines.

It would not fully seat primers to the correct depth. No amount of adjustment, extra force, or fiddling would do better than to seat primers barely flush with the case head. Any inattention could result in a slightly “high” primer, protruding above the case head. It created a risk for slam-fires, particularly in semi-autos without spring-retracted firing pins, such as the M1 or M1A. In desperation, he had a machinist buddy study the problem and machine a new part to correct it. No dice. Its engineering didn’t permit full primer seating, even with extended parts. He now wishes he’d heeded his shooting buddies’ advice to stick with the “tried and true,” reliable performer they all used.

Whichever press one selects, see if the maker has a kit or list of commonly-replaced parts. Having needed springs, pins, etc. on hand in the rare event that one breaks or “goes missing” can save the day when one is busy loading for a match! Another tip for improving one’s overall loading efficiency (rounds loaded with minimal set-up/tear-down time) is to plan one’s handloading by primer size. For example, if your machine is set to use small primers, load all the calibers that you intend to that take small primers, before converting the press to load large-primer calibers.

In our next chapter, we’ll discuss peculiarities of progressive loading for rifle cartridges, with remedies for problems such as excessive cartridge-case headspace variation when sizing, tips for ensuring best powder charge consistency, and so on. Until then, be safe, and good shooting!

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March 27th, 2020

How to Assemble Your Own AR-15 from Components

AR-MPR-Build-2-AR-15-Tools
Here are the main tools you’ll need to assemble an AR-platform rifle

In these challenging times, many Americans are buying an AR-type rifle, or starting an AR project — assembling the rifle from available uppers, lowers, and parts kits.
Planning to put together an AR-platform rifle? Or are you looking to upgrade your AR with a new barrel, stock, or trigger group? Then you should check out the AR-15 Rifle Build DVD from our friends at UltimateReloader.com. This DVD covers all the details of a custom build, using high-resolution video sequences, and helpful supporting graphics.

AR-15 DVD ultimatereloder.com

In this DVD, Gavin Gear guides you through the entire process including selecting components, acquiring and using the necessary tools, assembly steps and details for each component, and even mounting a scope. Building an AR-15 can be overwhelming, but with the right guidance and help it’s not difficult and can be very rewarding. With this DVD you’ll be able to build your AR-15 with confidence.

Upper: Barrel / Gas Block / Gas Tube
AR-MPR-Build-4-Barrel-and-Gas-Tube-2

Upper: Handguard Installation
AR-MPR-Build-5-Handguard

UltimateReloader.com’s AR-15 Build DVD is available just $9.90 (plus $3.80 shipping/handling). This DVD can pay for itself many times over by showing you how to do your own gunsmithing (and get quality AR components at attractive prices).

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March 26th, 2020

Amazing Scope + Rifle Deal — Buy Scope, Get Rifle for $199.00

Tikka T3x TAC A1 Rifle schmidt bender PMII Scope sale $199 special eurooptic

Here’s a crazy good deal for these crazy times.

Buy a Schmidt & Bender PMII Scope, and get a Tikka Tactical Rifle for $199.00.

Yes, you read that right.

Here’s the deal — if you purchase a Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56mm PMII riflescope from EuroOptic, you will receive a complete .308 Win Tikka T3X TAC A1 Rifle for just $199.00. Total Scope + Rifle Price is $3499.00. Effectively you save $1599.00. But you have to act quickly — this special Scope + Rifle Sale ends 3/29/2020 at 11:59 pm EDT.

Tikka T3x TAC A1 Rifle schmidt bender PMII Scope sale $199 special eurooptic

Tikka T3x TAC A1 Rifle schmidt bender PMII Scope sale $199 special eurooptic

Schmidt & Bender 5-25x56mm PMII FFP Scope
This is an ultra-high quality German-made First Focal Plane (FFP) scope with 0.1 MRAD Click values. The double-turn elevation turret offers a full 26 MRAD of vertical adjustment. The reticle is the excellent illuminated P4LF design. This 5-25x56mm scope boasts 3.54″ of eye relief plus 90% light transmission. In the FFP tactical optics world, this is as good as it gets. S&B PMII Scope Specifications HERE.

Tikka T3x TAC A1 Rifle schmidt bender PMII Scope sale $199 special eurooptic

Tikka T3x TAC A1 in .308 Winchester
The Tikka T3x is the latest generation of the T3 rifle. The T3X boasts a 3-shot sub-MOA accuracy guarantee right out of the box (expect considerably better than that with your handloads). Great for tactical disciplines, this rifle features an adjustable 2-stage trigger (2-4 lbs.), and adjustable modular chassis. For this deal, the Tikka T3x is chambered in .308 Winchester ONLY with choice of 20″ or 24″ barrel. A factory muzzle brake is included. With the 20″ barrel, rifle weight is 10.8 lbs. and OAL is 39.8″. FWIW, owners realy like this rifle. One buyer posted: “This rifle can flat-out shoot! I have one in 6.5 Creedmoor and love it. I promise you won’t be disappointed.” The Tikka T3X A1 rifle retails for $1798.00 by itself, so this is a great deal. Tikka T3x Rifle Specifications HERE.

Tikka T3x TAC A1 Rifle schmidt bender PMII Scope sale $199 special eurooptic

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March 26th, 2020

AR, Garand, M1A — Six Rules for Gas Gun Reloading

Reloading for Service Rifles
SFC Lance Dement as featured in CMP’s First Shot Online.

The U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU) has published a great series of reloading “how-to” articles on its Facebook Page. This post covers key factors to consider when loading ammunition for Match Rifles and Service Rifles, with a particular focus on self-loading “gas guns”. Visit the USAMU Facebook Page each Wednesday for other, helpful “Handloading Hump-Day” tips.

We offer some “cardinal rules” to help new gas-gun handloaders with safety and efficiency. These address both Match Rifle and Service Rifle versions of the AR15, M1 Garand, M1A, and M110. However, they can also improve safe reloading for many other auto-loaders such as M1 Carbines, FALs, SIGs, etc. The author distilled these principles many years ago to help focus on the essential aspects of these rifles.

RULE ONE: Service Rifles Are Not Benchrest Rifles
Gas-guns require a relatively loose fit between ammunition and chamber (vs. bolt actions) for safe, smooth operation. Many techniques, such as neck sizing and keeping cartridge headspace quite tight, are popular in the extreme bolt gun accuracy realm. However, they are of little value with Service Rifles, and some could even be hazardous. Before adopting a specialized technique, seriously consider whether it is appropriate and beneficial in a gas-gun.

RULE TWO: Never Compromise Safety to Obtain Accuracy
Example: If choosing a brand of great, but ultra-sensitive match primers offers possibly better accuracy at the risk of slam-fires in your design of rifle, don’t do it! You are issued exactly two eyes and ten fingers (best-case scenario). Risking them trying to squeeze 0.25 MOA better accuracy out of an M1A, etc. simply isn’t worth it.

Reloading for Service Rifles

RULE THREE: Tailor the Precision to Your Individual Skill and Your Rifle’s Potential
This has been addressed here before, but bears repeating for newcomers. If you are struggling to break out of the Marksman Class, or using a CMP M1 “As-Issued,” then laboriously turning the necks of your 600-yard brass is a waste of time. Your scores will improve much faster by practicing or dry-firing. On the other hand, if the reigning champions anxiously check your scores each time you fire an event, a little neck-turning might not be so far-fetched.

Verifying Load Improvements — Accuracy hand-loading involves a wide variety of techniques, ranging from basic to rather precise. Carefully select those which offer a good return on investment for your time and labor. In doubt? Do a classic pilot study. Prepare ammo for at least three or four ten-shot groups with your new technique, vs. the same with your standard ammo. Then, pick a calm day and test the ammo as carefully as possible at its full distance (e.g. 200, 300, or 600 yards) to verify a significant improvement. A little testing can save much labor!

RULE FOUR: Be Your Own Efficiency Expert
Serious Service Rifle shooters generally think of ammunition in terms of thousands of rounds, not “boxes”, or even “hundreds”. Analyze, and WRITE DOWN each step in your reloading process. Count the number of times each case is handled. Then, see if any operations can be dropped or changed without reducing safety or accuracy. Eliminating just two operations saves 2000 steps per 1000 rounds loaded. Conversely, carefully consider any measurable benefits before adding a step to your routine.

RULE FIVE: In Searching for Greater Accuracy with Efficiency, Look for System Changes
For example, instead of marking your 300-yard rounds individually to differentiate them from your 200-yard ammo, would a simple change in primers work? If accuracy is maintained, using brass-colored primers for 200 and silver for 300 provides an indelible indicator and eliminates a step! Similarly, rather than spending hours selecting GI surplus brass for weight and neck uniformity, consider splurging on some known, high-quality imported match brass for your 600-yard loads. Results should be excellent, time is saved, and given limited shooting at 600 yards, brass life should be long.

RULE SIX: Check All Your Primers Before Packaging Your Loaded Ammo
This seems simple and even intuitive. However, many slam-fires (which were much more common when M1s and M1As were the standard) are due, at least in part, to “high” primers. Primers should be seated below flush with the case head. The USAMU has addressed this at length in a previous column, but each round should be checked for properly-seated primers before they are packaged for use.

Reloading for Service Rifles

Permalink Reloading, Tech Tip 1 Comment »
March 26th, 2020

Cartridges of the World (16th Edition) Covers 1500+ Types

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of the World (16th Edition), belongs in every serious gun guy’s library. This massive 688-page reference contains illustrations and load data for over 1500 cartridge types. If you shoot a wide variety of cartridges, or are a cartridge collector, this book is a “must-have” resource. The latest edition (release date 7/23/2019) includes 50 new cartridge types and 1500+ photos. This print version can be ordered for about $30.00 at Amazon.com (plus shipping and tax), while a Kindle eBook version costs $14.99.

Updated 16th Edition Released Late July 2019
The 16th Edition of Cartridges of the World includes cartridge specs, plus tech articles on Cartridge identification, SAAMI guidelines, wildcatting, and new cartridge design trends. Cartridges of the World, the most complete cartridge reference guide in print, now includes a lengthy full-color section with feature articles such as 7mm Rem Magnum, .44 Special History, and “P.O. Ackley’s Best Improved Cartridges”.

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of World Barnes 15th Edition

Cartridges of the World 16th Ed. CHAPTERS:
Chapter 1: Current American Sporting Cartridges
Chapter 2: Obsolete American Rifle Cartridges
Chapter 3: Wildcat Cartridges
Chapter 4: Proprietary Cartridges
Chapter 5: Handgun Cartridges of the World
Chapter 6: Military Rifle Cartridges of the World
Chapter 7: British Sporting Rifle Cartridges
Chapter 8: European Sporting Rifle Cartridges
Chapter 9: American Rimfire Cartridges
Chapter 10: Shotgun Shells
Chapter 11: U.S. Military Ammunition
Chapter 12: Cartridge ID by Measurement

Cartridges of the World by author Frank C. Barnes was first published in 1965. The 16th Edition is edited by W. Todd Woodard, Editor of Gun Tests magazine and author of several firearms reference books. Frank Barnes (1918-1992) began collecting information on handgun cartridges at the early age of 12, thanks to his father, a police officer. Frank Barnes was an innovative cartridge designer, who invented the original 308 x 1.5″ Barnes, predecessor of the 30BR case.

Before Frank began a law enforcement career, he was a college professor. Frank was also a pilot, and a race-car driver. Learn more about Cartridges of the World (15th Ed.) at www.gundigest.com.

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March 25th, 2020

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooter

Precision Rifle Challenge on Shooting USA This Week
This week, Shooting USA TV features a show that should interest PRS/NRL fans, tactical marksmen, and long range hunters. Run in Utah’s backcountry, the Hornady Precision Rifle Challenge is a unique long range competition with serious wind and elevation changes. This isn’t a typical PRS Pro Series match by any means. Participants in this challenging Precision Rifle match will have to deal with tough conditions not typically seen in other tactical matches. The match runs in summer in Utah, just across the state line from Evanston, Wyoming. Watch the show 3/25/20 on the Outdoor Channel.

Shooting USA will air Wednesday, March 25, at 9:00 PM Eastern (8:00 PM Central) on the Outdoor Channel. If you miss that, it runs again on Thursday afternoon. Look for Shooting USA on the Outdoor Channel. In addition, you can watch all episodes of Shooting USA on the VIMEO channel by subscription. Each episode is just $0.99, about 1/10th what a movie ticket costs these days.

In addition to the Precision Rifle challenge, this week’s Shooting USA episode features to interesting rifles — one new, one historic.

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooterVolquartsen Summit — Toggle Bolt Rimfire Precision Rifle
With the help of Volquartsen, John Scoutten has created a prototype .22 LR Rimfire Precision Rifle based on the toggle-bolt Summit action fitted in a modular chassis.

The Summit’s straight-pull toggle action is similar to the actions on competition Biathlon rifles. This allows very fast cycle times, without disturbing rifle placement. The Summit fits stocks made for the Ruger 10/22 and uses 10/22 magazines. But it’s a manual action, not blow-back semi-auto.

Enfield L42 A1 Sniper Rifle — History’s Guns
This week’s show also features a legendary WWII sniper rifle, Britain’s Enfield L42 A1. This special sniper rig was the last in a long line of military arms built on the famous Enfield .303-caliber bolt action.

Shooting USA SHOT Show 2019 AccurateShooter

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March 25th, 2020

Six Shooting and Safety Tips for New Handgun Owners

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glow
OK this is no novice. But even champion pistol shooter Jessie Harrison, Captain of Team Taurus, had to start with the basics. Jessie says that safety should always be your number one priority.

Due to concerns about the Coronovirus pandemic, many Americans are purchasing firearms for self-defense. A large percentage of these purchasers are first-time gun buyers. It is vital that “newbie” gun owners learn proper safety procedures. In addition, even long-time gun owners should probably review the basic rules of gun safety. Here are six tips for shooting safely and accurately with handguns. These pointers will help you advance your skills and be more assured with your pistols and revolvers.

1. Make Sure Safety Is Number One

Whether you own one gun or one hundred, gun safety must always be your main priority. In this video, Smith & Wesson Team Captain Julie Golob covers the basics of gun safety.

2. Start with a .22 LR Handgun

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training

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. When he or she has mastered those skills, move on to a .38 Special or 9mm Luger (9x19mm).

What gun to use? We recommend the 10-shot Smith & Wesson Model 617. Shooting single action, slow-fire, this is ideal for training. Shown above is the 4″-barrel Model 617version which balances well. There is also a 6″-barrel version. It has a longer sight radius, but is a little nose-heavy. Both are great choices. They are extremely accurate and they boast a very clean, precise trigger.

browning buck mark buckmark stainless udx rimfire .22 LR pistol

If you prefer a semi-auto .22 LR pistol, we recommend the Browning Buck Mark series. Buck Marks are very accurate and very reliable. This rimfire pistol is available in a variety of models starting at under $350.00. Like the S&W Model 617, a good Buck Mark will serve you for a lifetime.

3. Shoot Outdoors If You Can

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training

We recommend that new pistol shooters begin their training at an outdoor range. There are many reasons. First, you can stay away from persons who may have a health problem, and you will be breathing fresh air. Second, the light is better outdoors. Third, sound dissipates better outdoors. The sound of gunfire echoes and bounces off walls indoors. Fourth, an outdoor range is a more comfortable environment. In addition, “stay at home” executive orders may have closed urban ranges. If you can make it to an outdoor range (which is still open in your area), you should have a good experience. Just be considerate with others and exercise “social distancing” — stay at least six feet from others.

4. Use Quality Targets with Multiple Aim Points

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glow

Birchwood Casey Target Spots neon day-glowIt’s common for new pistoleros to start shooting at cans or clay birds at a public range. That can be fun, but it’s better to start with proper targets, placed at eye level, at 7-10 yards. We like to use targets with large, brightly colored circles. Focus on putting 5 shots in a circle. We recommend targets that have multiple bullseyes or aiming points — that way you don’t have to constantly change your target. There are also special paper targets that can help you diagnose common shooting problems, such as anticipating recoil. EZ2C makes very good targets with bright, red-orange aim points. You can also use the bright orange Birchwood Casey stick-on Target Dots (right). These come in a variety of diameters. We like the 2″ dot at 10 yards.

5. Find a Good Mentor and Watch Some Videos First

Pistol Shooting Tips Target Mentor safety training
Photo courtesy AV Firearms Training.

Too many new pistol shooters try to move right to rapid fire drills. It’s better to start slow, practicing the basics, under the guidance of a good mentor. If you belong to a club, ask if there are certified instructors who will help out. This Editor learn pistol shooting from a seasoned bullseye shooter, who got me started with a .22 LR revolver and very close targets. Over the course of a few range sessions we progressed to farther targets and faster pace. But the fundamentals were never forgotten. When starting your pistol training, it’s wise to view some instructional videos. Top Shot Champion Chris Cheng hosts an excellent Handgun 101 Series produced by the NSSF. We’ve linked one of these Handgun 101 videos for Tip #6.

6. SLOW DOWN — This Is Not a Race

When you learned to ride a bicycle, you started slow — maybe even with training wheels. The same principle applies to pistol shooting. When you get started with handguns, we recommend you shoot slowly and deliberately. Start with the handgun unloaded — just work on your sight alignment and breathing. With snap caps in place, try some dry-firing drills. Then progress to live fire. But be deliberate and slow. With the target at 20 feet, see if you can get three successive shot-holes to touch. Believe it or not, many common pistols are capable of this kind of accuracy (but you won’t see many shooters at indoor ranges who pursue that kind of precision). Once you master your form and accuracy, then you can work on your speed.

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March 25th, 2020

Locate Affordable Ammo Supplies with AmmoSeek.com

Ammoseek search engine ammuntion reloading supplies

Right now, due to concerns about personal safety and potential civil unrest, Americans are arming themselves with all types of firearms — pistols, rifles, and shotguns. While plenty of guns are available, in many areas, certain types of ammunition are in short supply — particularly 12ga shotshells and 9mm centerfire ammo. This has lead to price gouging. Some online vendors are charging up to $5 per round for for 12ga buckshot shotshells!

Thankfully, if you shop around a bit, you can still find all types of defensive ammunition at reasonable prices. Everything from .22 Shorts to 12 gauge. For example, Midsouth Shooters has a variety of 12ga ammo for under $0.30 per round. And in most states, it is completely legal to order ammunition online and have it delivered to you at home. CLICK HERE for AmmoSeek 12 Gauge Ammo Listings.

Here’s a great search service that can help you locate hard-to-find ammunition and reloading components — while saving money in the process. AmmoSeek.com monitors more than a dozen online vendors — checking current pricing and available inventory, for pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition. Looking for .22 LR ammo for your rimfire trainer or .45 acp ammo for your 1911? Just select the cartridge type from the “Quick Seek” list on the right. Likewise you can find .223 Rem and .308 Win Rifle ammo with one click.

Ammoseek search engine ammunition reloading supplies skagit arms WA
Got Ammo? Here’s just part of the vast inventory at Skagit Arms in Washington State.

Use Ammoseek.com to Find Reloading Components Too
Ammoseek.com also lets you search for reloading components, including powder, primers, brass, and bullets. This is a huge time-saver. You can instantly check a dozen or more vendors to see if a particular type of powder is in stock. Likewise, you can quickly check for primer availability. If you have a big match coming up and are short on primers — this could solve the problem. To search for components, from the AmmoSeek home page, click the gray “Reloading” Tab, then select Bullets, Brass, Primers, or Powder from the pull-down menu.

Ammoseek search engine ammunition reloading supplies

Great Threat Response Shotgun Deal
Need a serious 12 gauge defensive shotgun? Here’s what may just be the best deal in America right now — the Weatherby Threat Response 12ga Shotgun for just $269.89 at CDNN Sports.

Weatherby 12ga threat response shotgun

This impressive Weatherby pump-action 12ga shotgun features an 18.5″ barrel, with Fiber Optic front sight and Ghost Ring rear sight. There’s a Picatinny-type rail on top to fit a red dot sight (recommended) or other optic. The Threat Response shotgun holds 5 rounds. With pistol grip stock, good tactical sights, and a rail, this is a great value in a defensive shotgun from a quality company. NOTE: An extension tube (shown in video) can be fitted to increase capacity.

Story Tip by Boyd Allen. We welcome reader submissions.
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