May 3rd, 2020

Bargain Finder 241: 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. McMillan Fiberglass Stocks — Big Sale, up to 33% Off

McMillan Stock Sale

Are you looking for a very high-quality, premium fiberglass stock for your next hunting rifle or tactical rifle project? Now’s a great time to buy — McMillan Fiberglass Stocks is running a Major Stock Sale with substantial savings — up to 33%. Currently 19 popular models are on sale including A3, A4, A5, Z-10, Game Scout, XTR, McMillan Hunter and more. NOTE: While this sale was set to end Monday, May 4, 2020, the McMillan website still lists sale prices for many of the items — but don’t delay. See all sale stocks at McMillanUSA.com.

2. CDNN Sports — Remington Camo R15 16″ Barrel, $399.89

remington mossy oak camo camouflage short barrel AR15 MSR gun

Here’s a great-looking compact Modern Sporting Rifle Kit for hunters. This is a good value, with Remington R15 Upper and Lower finished in Mossy Oak Breakup Camo. Parts include Bushmaster 2-Stage Match Trigger, Aluminum handguard, and Yankee Hill Flash Hider. Price is great — just $399.89. But take note — this Kit is NOT ready to shoot. This Rem Kit is sold without bolt carrier group, charging handle, and magazine. But those are easy to purchase (or borrow from another AR-platform gun). So remember, buyers must supply their own bolt carrier group, charging handle, and magazine. It’s still an excellent value.

3. EuroOptic — Nikon Riflescope Closeout Sale

Nikon black scope sale

Nikon’s decision to stop selling riflescopes has created an amazing opportunity. If you’re in the market for a hunting or tactical scope, check out EuroOptic’s Nikon Closeout Sale. EuroOptic has a big selection — Tactical Closeouts starting at $99, ProStaff Closeouts starting at $109, and Nikon BLACK scopes discounted up to 40% off. Choose MOA or MRAD versions with a variety of reticle options. NOTE: The BLACK FX1000/X1000 Series Nikons are quality tactical scopes proven in PRS/NRL competition. (FX1000s are FFP.) You’d have to pay hundreds more to do much better. At just $449.95, 40% off the original price, the 4-16x50mm FX1000-FFP MRAD is a steal!

4. Midsouth Shooters — Big Rimfire Ammo Sale, All Types

17 hmr .22 LR 22LR .22 WMR midsouth ammo ammunition sale

Ranges are starting to open up, so grab your gear and go. It’s always fun to shoot rimfire rifles, as quality training ammo (such as SK or Norma) can be a tenth the cost of factory centerfire ammo — 12 cents/rd vs. $1.20/rd or more. Midsouth Shooters has a wide selection of rimfire ammo from Aguila, CCI, Hornady, Federal, Lapua, Norma, SK, and Winchester. There are many varieties of the most popular rimfire ammo types: .17 HMR, .22 LR, .22 Short, and .22 WMR. Midsouth also has some .17 Mach2 and .17 WSM.

5. Natchez — 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 $289.99. But now you can get it for just $219.99 at Natchez. So you can save $70.00 with this 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. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Ruger 9mm SR9 Pistol, $249.97

ruger sr9 9mm compact pistol handgun

We’ve shot the Ruger SR9 9mm pistol and we like the ergonomics MUCH better than a Glock. The SR9 is comfortable with a slim, ergonomic grip, reversible backstrap, and narrow stainless slide. The Ruger SR9 also includes ambidextrous manual safety and magazine release, built-in Picatinny rail, and adjustable high-viz 3-dot sight system. If you are looking for a standard 9x19mm pistol (4.14″ barrel), this is a great value — $249.97 at Sportsman’s Warehouse

7. MidwayUSA — Packs of Sight-In Targets or Spots, $3.74 Each

midwayusa target diamond stick-on sale discount

Here are two target products we really like, both deeply discounted this week. The Caldwell Shooting Spots Combo 12-Pack offers BOTH 1″ diameter and 2″ diameter day-glo orange self-adhesive dots with inner diamonds. You get 36 big dots plus 72 small dots in the 12-Pack for just $3.74. For Load Development we like the Caldwell 9-Diamond Sight-in Target 10-Pack. Each sheet has NINE blue double diamonds inside circles. The 16″ wide paper backer also has boxes for your load data, chronograph values, gun info, and group sizes. You can also get the 9-Diamond 10-Pack for just $3.74.

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. MidwayUSA — Caldwell NRR 23 Youth Ear Muffs, $11.24

midwayusa NRR 23 youth kid ear muffs hearing protection

Young people are the future of our sport. Every shooter should have an extra pair or two of kid-sized earmuffs for those days when you have the chance to bring a young person to the range. Right now MidwayUSA has a great deal on Caldwell Youth Ear Muffs. For just $11.24, these 23 NRR-rated Youth Muffs are available in three kid-pleasing colors: Hot Coral (Red/Orange), Neon Blue, and Neon Green.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Hot Deals, Optics, Reloading No Comments »
May 3rd, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Berger SWN F-Open Champ Jay C’s 284 Wheeler

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Report by Jay Christopherson
2020 Berger SW Nationals F-Open Champion

Team Member, Team Lapua-Brux-Borden
I’ve been shooting F-Class for about 9 years now. In fact, I shot my very first match, a 600-yard mid-range match, using a 6mm Dasher, on March 19, 2011. My first relay was a 188-4X and my overall score was 582-19X. I remember shooting a really nice group in the 9-ring, because I dialed the scope the wrong way and I shot lots of “verification” shots before making adjustments. I also remember wondering if that was a good score for that range in those mostly calm conditions (it wasn’t). I’ve tracked every match I’ve ever shot and I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve always been a competitive person and F-Class gave me an outlet to indulge both my competitiveness and my fondness for details. In what other individual sport does a thousandth of an inch (or less!) become important? Or a tenth of a grain?

Some of my greatest pleasures in this sport come not necessarily from winning a match (though I won’t turn that down), but in identifying something small in what I am doing that has a material effect on paper. Maybe it’s a tiny change in seating depth. Maybe it’s a slightly modified strategy for making wind calls. Maybe it’s a tiny position or hold change. Whatever it is, when it works, there’s no better feeling.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I have a full-time job to go with this hobby, so finding the time for productive training is difficult. You have to really plan ahead to maximize the time you spend reloading, developing loads, and training at the range. To that end, I invest a lot of time in reducing the things that I do at the loading bench. I load ammo on a progressive press, though modified to produce ammo to my standards. I don’t clean brass. I don’t do a lot of things that most shooters would call traditional in the loading room. Because frankly, I don’t have the time between family, work, and other interests.

If it doesn’t make a difference on paper, I mostly don’t do it. Still, there are one or two loading habits I’m trying to get rid of. I also pre-seat all my ammo for matches — whatever I show up at the match with, is what I have. I don’t clean my rifle between days at the match. I had well over 200 rounds without cleaning by the time the last shot was fired at the 2020 SWN. It took a lot of time for me to get comfortable with that. That works for what I do, but I wouldn’t dare try it with any other loads or rifles, at least, not without a lot of testing to be comfortable. My original 6MM Dasher shooting Reloder 15 couldn’t go that many rounds without cleaning and building up a carbon ring. Unfortunately, I learned a tough lesson on that one my first year.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profileI do all my own gunsmithing, including chambering, bedding, and stock work. I’m no Keith Weil, Alex Wheeler, or some of those other guys, but I feel pretty good about the work I do. I know that when there’s a mistake or imperfection, it’s MY mistake and I can live with that. I like to keep things as minimal as possible, so I shoot off a SEB Mini (no mods) and SEB rear bag.

I also shoot with a spotting scope at Long Range, using a Kowa TSN-663 with 25X LER eyepiece and a relatively new spotting scope stand by Rod Brakhage who is a fine F-Class shooter himself. I really like how smooth and adjustable it is on the ground compared to some other rigs I’ve used.

The 284 Wheeler — Slightly Modified .284 Win
This year at the SWN, I shot a 284 Wheeler, which is a straight .284 Win that has some small modifications designed by Alex Wheeler. I think that the work and experimentation that Alex does with reamer design really shows up on paper. In 2019 I was testing the reamer in a couple barrels, looking for the right load. I shot some great relays and team practices with it that year, but this was the first time I brought enough ammo to shoot the entire week with it. Coupled with Berger’s 7MM 180 grain Hybrid Target bullets which I point to increase BC consistency, and Lapua brass, it’s an effective combination. In particular, the brass has lasted me for 13 firings with no signs of fatigue, so I expect I’ll be able to use it at Worlds in 2021 and beyond.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I also shot the entire 2020 SWN with a Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm scope, my preferred scope for individual matches. It’s a rock-solid reliable scope in my experience, with a great eye box, reliable and repeatable mechanical controls. The Vortex ECR-1 reticle has quickly become my favorite reticle. All four of my Open rifles are built on Borden BRMXD actions, Brux barrels, and sitting in X-Ring F-Open stocks, which are Robertson clones (more on that below). I’ve tried to make each of my rifles as much of an identical clone as possible.

I am not sponsored by anyone as an individual shooter, only through team sponsorship with Lapua-Brux-Borden. Which means that for individual matches, I am free to use what I think gives me the best opportunity to win for individual matches. In practice, the only difference tends to be the scope that I use, as mentioned above.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Jay Christopherson F-Open Rifle Specifications:
Cartridge: 284 Wheeler (variant of .284 Winchester)
Optics: Vortex Golden Eagle 15-60x52mm
Stock: X-Ring F-Open Stock with R.A.D.
Barrel: Brux 1:9″-twist, 32″-long barrel
Action: Borden BRMXD action
Trigger: Flavio Fare

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Q: What was your biggest challenge at the 2020 Berger SWN?

Jay: The biggest challenge for me at this year’s SWN was purely mental. At past SWN matches where I had done well, I was trying to focus on not thinking about the different things going on around me. Where I was ranked on the score sheet. How well other shooters were doing. How many points or Xs I was ahead (or behind). Being worried about conditions or whether my ammo would hold up. And so on. And sooner or later, I think those things break your focus.

Going into a relay calculating the points or Xs that you can’t afford to drop is a recipe for losing. It’s like trying NOT to picture a pink elephant with purple dots when somebody challenges you try to not think of a pink elephant with purple dots. In previous SWN events, I came up just short three times in a row, for one reason or another. So, in 2020 I went in with a mental game plan.

Mental Game Plan — Envisioning Success
I pictured what it would take to be successful and what winning would feel like. First relays, then days, and then the match. I started that process months before the match actually happened. I thought about who I was shooting against and how much pressure there was to make every shot count. I thought about how I had performed or reacted in similar situations in the past. And I planned out what I would do and how I would handle those things. I strived to be neither negative nor positive — I wanted to be neutral. I wanted to be ready to win, instead of being surprised by it.

Q: What gear/hardware items give you an edge over the competition?

Jay: There’s no single piece of gear that I can think of that gives someone an edge over somebody else. It all sort of works — it’s more about being consistent with whatever hardware you have. But one piece of new gear that I tried out at the SWN was a single-piece scope mount called the Alphamount (photo below), by Richard Near of NEAR Manufacturing.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

I think scope mounts are the most overlooked piece of equipment in F-Class right now — whether they be improperly aligned, improperly torqued, or just plain junk. I think people put a lot of blame on their scopes that can be traced back to mounts. The Alphamount (and single-piece mounts in general) are something that I believe in now, having done a lot of testing. It worked out OK for me at the SWN.

Action for Back-Up Rifle Is Glued and Screwed into Stock
One of the new things I am trying this year is a “glue and screw” action set-up. At the 2019 US F-Class Nationals in Raton, we got rained on a little and when I pulled my rifle apart, I found water between the bedding and action (the bedding is about 2 years old). At the SWN, I found that something had moved enough that I could torque the front action screw and bind the bolt. Not good, but luckily this was my backup rifle that I shot for Mid-Range (badly) and not my lead rifle. There could have been stock movement or other factors as well, but there was no question the bedding had shrunk when I stuck a dial indicator on it and found that my pillars were now standing proud.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Some people had been goading me to try a “glue-and-screw” procedure. Since I had nothing better to do during the COVID-19 lockdown, I pulled out the Dremel, scuffed up the action and bedding, removed the recoil lug, and glued the action into the stock. I’ve had it out a couple times since and it seems to be shooting well, but we’ll see how it holds up and what sort of difference it might make as time goes on.

Q: What is your advice to newcomers in F-Class and Long Range competition?

Jay: Find a nemesis. Someone local who puts in the same effort that you do and is as competitive as you are. Be friends, share info, but work your behind off to make sure you win on match day. I guarantee you someone reading this knows what I’m talking about. The best thing you can do is have someone who pushes you to perform better each time out. You love to win against them, but not as much as you hate to lose to them.

Q: What do you like most about Long Range and F-Class competition?

Jay: I like the challenge of F-Class — it’s a nice blend of working to get the most out of your equipment and the most out of yourself as a shooter. You can have the greatest shooting rifle in the world and it won’t matter a bit if you can’t be consistent pulling the trigger or making good wind calls. By the same token, you can be the greatest wind caller and most consistent trigger puller in the world — but it won’t matter a bit if you can’t wring the best possible performance out of your rifle for that tiny little target at 1000 yards. I like Long Range because everything is magnified — there are rarely easy shots.

Q: What do you prefer, individual events or team matches?

Jay: Team matches. No contest. Most of the reason I travel to matches is for the team events. But just throwing together a team of great individual shooters is not enough to consistently win. You have to operate as a team, which at times means subsuming your own individual goals for the good of the team. I’ve gone into big matches knowing that my team rifle is my best rifle by a mile — but knowing that the best thing for the team’s current and future success is for me to not burn that barrel out (or burning up known good components) in the individual events. And that’s fine with me. Being part of a team of shooters with the same goal, with the same drive, the same focus on team rather than individual — and able to deliver the goods — that’s the reason why I do this.

Team Lapua Brux Borden

Q: What kind of stock do you use and how does it behave?

Jay: I use an X-Ring Open stock, which is basically a Robertson clone. I’ve been using X-Ring for about 4 years now. I’ve been through a lot of different stocks to find the one that fits me and the way I like to shoot, and X-Ring has done that for me. There’s a lot of focus recently on lowering the center of gravity and extending the stock length through various methods to solve problems like torque, jump, etc. — those are just problems that I don’t experience or, at least, that don’t bother me while I’m shooting. So, I don’t tend to worry about them. The X-Ring fits nicely and runs very well in the bags that I use. I do think that you have to spend some time finding the right bag setup for the stock you are using. I have at least 9 different rear bags that I have tested at one time or another until I settled on my current bag.

Q: Do you have any specific Gun Handling Tips for F-Open shooters?

Jay: As for gun handling, I prefer a light hold — my cheek indexes off the stock with a very light touch and my trigger hand indexes off the stock also with a light touch so that I have a consistent trigger finger position. What I do is in the style of “free recoil”, but is NOT fully “free recoil”, since I DO lightly touch the stock. For the butt, I run the R.A.D. recoil reducer at its lowest setting, which means that I can barely touch off for indexing purposes and still not interrupt the recoil pulse because the R.A.D. absorbs it. This was a suggestion that Will McCloskey made to me a couple years ago in place of leaving space.

This video, from a past Berger SWN, illustrates Jay Christopherson’s shooting style. He employs a very light touch on the gun. The front rest is a SEB Mini. If this Facebook video doesn’t load, CLICK HERE.

My hold for F-Class has evolved over time into what it is now. There are lots of successful shooters that are using varying degrees of holds, from light to hard. Again, It all sort of works — the most important part is that whatever you do is consistent and repeatable, hence my touch points that ensure my head, shoulder, and trigger finger are in the same position every time. There are shooters out there that will rant about “the fundamentals of shooting” and insist that your legs have to be a certain way, your cheek has to be a certain way, your breathing has to be done a certain way. I’m sure that’s valid for what they do and I’m fine with them looking down on me for it, but I do what produces results for me. For certain, my position and hold when shooting sling is completely different. All it means is that you have to be prepared to adapt.

PARTING SHOT — Have Guns, Will Travel

Here is one of Jay’s other F-Open Rifles. When traveling he separates the stock from the barreled action. He uses a custom-cut foam piece that holds the components very securely. Note the separate slots for barreled action, stock, scope (in rings), bolt assembly, and spotting scope.

Jay Christopherson Berger SWN Southwest Nationals Champion F-Open Rifle .284 Winchester Win profile

Permalink - Articles, - Videos, Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 10 Comments »
May 3rd, 2020

The Illustrated History of Firearms, Second Edition

Illustrated History of Fireams NRA museum 320 page 1700 photos

Looking for a superb illustrated coffee table book about guns? Yes there is such a thing, a great book we highly recommend — The Illustrated History of Fireams (2nd Edition). This full-color 320-page hardcover book features more than 1,700 photos compiled by NRA Museums curators Jim Supica, Doug Wicklund and Philip Schreier. This Second Edition includes 300 photos more than the original, plus dozens of new profiles of important persons who influenced firearms development.

This follow-up to the best-selling original NRA Museums book is loaded with great images, historical profiles, and technical data on old, new, and currently-manufactured firearms that have changed history. Covering the earliest matchlocks to modern match-grade superguns and everything in between, The Illustrated History of Firearms provides a fascinating education on how guns evolved, where they originated and how they worked.

The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition

– Authored by the experts at the NRA Firearms Museums

– Published by Gun Digest Books

– 9 ½ x 11 1/2 inches, hardcover with dust jacket

– 1,700 full-color photos

– 320 Pages

– Price: $39.99

The Illustrated History of Firearms, 2nd Edition is available at gundigeststore.com, Amazon ($34.95), Barnes & Noble and most other major booksellers.

Historic American Arms — Teddy Roosevelt’s Lever Guns
These two lever action rifles, owned by President Theodore Roosevelt, are part of the NRA Museum collection. First is a Winchester 1886 rifle known as the tennis match gun because Roosevelt used winnings from a tennis match to buy it. Below that is a suppressed Winchester model 1894 rifle. Roosevelt liked to shoot varmints around Oyster Bay (Long Island, NY) with this gun so he wouldn’t disturb his neighbors — the Tiffany and Du Pont families.

Roosevelt NRA Museum lever gun suppress 1886 1894
Roosevelt NRA Museum lever gun suppress 1886 1894

About the NRA Museums
The NRA opened the original National Firearms Museum at its Washington DC Headquarters in 1935. In 2008 the Francis Brownell Museum of the South West opened at the NRA’s Whittington Center in Raton, NM. Then, in 2013, the National Sporting Arms Museum opened at the Bass Pro Shops store in Springfield, MO. Every year, at these three museum facilities, over 350,000 persons visit to see the impressive exhibits and many of America’s most famous firearms. For more information, visit www.NRAMuseum.org.

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