September 30th, 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

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September 30th, 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 $26.49 at Amazon.com (plus shipping and tax), while a Kindle eBook version costs $14.99.

Updated 16th Edition with Feature Articles
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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September 30th, 2020

Padded Rifle Fore-Arm Rest Sleeve Is Great for Hunting

RRR gun rest padded neoprene

Here is a simple but effective product that can benefit varminters and game-hunters. The slip-on, padded RRR (“triple R”) gun rest cushions your rifle on any surface and helps eliminate noise when shifting the gun from one shooting position to another. The RRR slip-on rest is made of neoprene (wet suit material) with a built-in, thick Armaflex foam cushion on the bottom. This $19.95 sleeve protects the finish of your rifle, while providing a cushioned layer between your rifle and the supporting surface.

Key Benefits of the RRR Slip-On Padded Fore-Arm Rest
1. The RRR sleeve cushions your rifle. This helps to keep the shot from going high even when the rifle is placed on a hard surface.
2. The RRR sleeve quiets the gun. The padded, neoprene covering acts like a sound deadener even when you set the gun on a metal frame or hard surface..
3. The RRR protects the finish on the stock of your rifle from scratches when resting on hard surfaces.

RRR gun rest padded neoprene

Video Shows RRR in Use in the Field

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September 29th, 2020

Trick-Shot Tueday — Shooting Aspirin Pills Off Inflated Balloon

Balloon pill trick shot trickshot USAMU SPC Ivan Roe

Now here is an example of truly impressive marksmanship skills and amazing aiming from a USAMU soldier. From a standing position, SPC Ivan Roe shoots a tiny aspirin pill off the top of a balloon — without breaking the balloon. In fact, he does this twice … with iron sights no less.

Balloon pill trick shot trickshot USAMU SPC Ivan Roe

Watch Video to See Aspirin Pill Shot Twice off Balloon:

Balloon pill trick shot trickshot USAMU SPC Ivan Roe

The first time the pill sits on a small piece of tape just millimeters above the upper edge of the balloon (Time mark 00:40-45). But the second time, the aspirin pill lies flat on the top on the balloon — an even tougher challenge. Watch Ivan nail that flat pill again without hitting the balloon at 00:59. No that is truly impressive — and remember it was done from standing with Iron sights!

Balloon pill trick shot trickshot USAMU SPC Ivan Roe
SPC Ivan Roe was using a German Feinwerkbau, an elite precision air rifle favored by Olympic and World Cup competitors. Originally from Montana, SPC Roe is a member of the USAMU International Rifle Team.

Did you like this demonstration of Trick-Shot marksmanship? Then visit the USAMU’s Facebook Page. Every Tuesday the USAMU releases a new trick-shot video on Facebook and YouTube. CLICK HERE for the latest USAMU trick-shot video — hitting a poker chip on a fast-moving target frame with a pistol. Very impressive.

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September 29th, 2020

Fastest Bolt-Action Rifle Shooting — Mad Minute in Norway

Mad Minute Norway Haga 6.5x55 speed shooting marksmanship British Army

Think you can shoot fast with a bolt gun? Bet you can’t beat these Norwegian speed-demons. Last year, Inge Hvitås recently set a new Mad Minute World Record, putting 39 rounds inside a 16″ circle at 200 meters, all in a single minute. Another Norwegian ace fired 48 rounds in a minute, with 38 in the bullseye. Now that’s spectacular speed and accuracy.

Watch Inge Hvitås Set New Mad Minute World Record:

Mad Minute Norway Haga 6.5x55 speed shooting marksmanship British Army

New Mad Minute World Record — 39 Hits in One Minute (60 seconds)
At the Haga shooting range in Norway, spectators witnessed spectacular speed shooting last summer. Norwegian shooter Inge Hvitås set a new Mad Minute Challenge World Record with 39 hits in ONE MINUTE at 200m. The target was a 40cm (15.75″) bullseye placed at 200m (218 yards). Fellow Norwegian Jesper Nilsstua also shot brilliantly, sending 48 rounds down-range in one minute. Jesper had 38 hits, missing the record by just one. Both shooters were using iron-sighted Sauer 200 STR target rifles, which are normally chambered for the 6.5×55 cartridge. For this event, magazines are limited to 5 rounds and shooters may use slings but no bipods or other support.

Amazing Bolt-Gun Cycling Speed — 48 Rounds in One Minute

Another Norwegian ace, Jesper Nilsstua, missed the Mad Minute Challenge record (by one hit), but boy was he fast. Dennis Santiago (who has done his own Mad Minute drill), was dazzled: “This dude didn’t get the new world’s record of 39 hits in 60 seconds. He ‘only’ got 38 hits after getting off an amazing 48 shots in 60 seconds. Watch the smoothness of his shooting. It’s amazing.”

Mad Minute Norway Haga 6.5x55 speed shooting marksmanship British Army

Mad Minute Norway Haga 6.5x55 speed shooting marksmanship British Army electronic targets
For the Mad Minute Challenge in Norway, a standard 200m DFS target was used, with 1 point per hit within the black area which is 40cm (15.75″, or 6.9 MOA) in diameter.

(more…)

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September 29th, 2020

Supreme Court Nominee Barrett Supports Second Amendment

Judge Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS supreme court nominee donald trump

Supreme Court Nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett — A Jurist for All Rights
Story based on article by Larry Keane, NSSF
President Donald Trump’s nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett is again delivering on his promise to return the judiciary to jurists who will faithfully interpret law as it is written. The president delivered on his original campaign promise to nominate justices to the U.S. Supreme Court “in the mold of Justice Scalia”.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS supreme court nominee donald trump“Amy Coney Barrett will decide cases based on the text of the Constitution as written,” President Trump said of his nominee in the White House Rose Garden. “As Amy has said, being a judge takes courage, you are not there to decide cases as you may prefer. You are there to do your duty and to follow the law wherever it may take you. That is exactly what Judge Barrett will do on the U.S. Supreme Court.”

President Trump has nominated Supreme Court justices who interpret the Constitution in the same originalist manner as the last Justice Antonin Scalia. In 2016 President Trump declared: “I will appoint justices, who like Justice Scalia, will protect our liberty with the highest regard for the Constitution”.

He delivered on the promise with the nomination of Justice Neil Gorsuch. The president updated that list in 2017, including the names of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Judge Barrett. Justice Kavanaugh was nominated to replace the retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy. Over the weekend, President Trump made his third nomination to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, again delivering on his campaign promise to submit nominations from the list of jurists presented to voters.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett SCOTUS supreme court nominee donald trump

In her Rose Garden remarks, Judge Barrett affirmed her commitment to the Constitution as it is written:

“I clerked for Justice Scalia more than 20 years ago, but the lessons I learned still resonate. His judicial philosophy is mine too. A judge must apply the law as written. Judges are not policy makers and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.”

That view of the Bill of Rights (and the Second Amendment) was explained by Justice Scalia in his majority opinion in the landmark 2008 Heller decision. The Supreme Court ruled in D.C. vs. Heller that the Second Amendment protects pre-existing fundamental civil rights of individuals.

“The Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm unconnected with service in a militia, and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home,” Justice Scalia wrote. He further explained that the right isn’t derived from government, but exists outside of the whims of a government to grant or take away. “The very text of the Second Amendment implicitly recognizes the pre-existence of the right and declares only that it ‘shall not be infringed’.”

Judge Amy Coney Barrett clerked for Justice Scalia in 1998-1999. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that her understanding of fundamental rights, especially those included in the Second Amendment, follow Justics Scalia’s faithful reading of the Bill of Rights.

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September 28th, 2020

ShotMarker SNAFU — What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

Canadian F-Class shooter Michael Traynor was surprised when he saw this “flat-line” target displayed from a ShotMarker system. That’s 30 shots with almost no vertical at all. So what gives? The ShotMarker uses acoustic sensors to plot shot location. It is normally accurate to within a few millimeters. Traynor posted: “I’ve never had this happen before with a waterline. This is myself and another shooter, 30 rounds total, including four sighters at 900 meters in super strong winds that twitched back and forth every minute.”

So what happened? It turns our that the system’s wires were not connected correctly. AccurateShooter IT expert (and top F-Class Shooter) Jay Christopherson posted: “The wires are connected incorrectly… you’ve got the sensors crossed”. This ShotMarker system error can be diagnosed by doing a “tap test” as explained by Cal Waldner: “Thats a crossed sensor wire! That’s why a tap test needs to be done every time you rig the equipment. If a wire is crossed then you will catch it on the tap test.”

Other folks who viewed Traynor’s target photo on Facebook said that they have seen a similar problem, so this is NOT an uncommon fault:

“Yup, my club had the same issue (and results) in an early outing with one of our ShotMarker units. The system reads the target area as a horizontal rectangle not as a square.” — Laurie Holland.

“I have seen this exact same result with the sensors plugged incorrectly.” — Dino Christopoulos

“This happened to several people at one match early on. Sensors crossed.” — Jen Bondurant

“I thought I was shooting a great waterline once [but the] wires were crossed — [a mistake from] setting up in the dark.”– Jerry Stephenson

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

The ShotMarker System — Technology and Performance

The ShotMarker was invented by Adam McDonald, a brilliant young Canadian who also created the AutoTrickler. The ShotMarker is an advanced system for plotting shot impacts on targets using acoustic sensors placed in the four corners of the target frame. The central Sensor Hub at each target transmits to the Access Point at the firing line using LoRa, a low frequency RF protocol. Unlike Wifi, this power-efficient design works at over 2 miles and provides hassle-free connectivity even without direct line of sight.

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

The sensor unit in each corner of your frame contains two precision MEMS ultrasonic microphones which are capable of measuring a supersonic bullet within 1mm – when the frame is perfectly still.

Adam McDonald Shotmarker sensor wires

Real-world accuracy will be limited by motion of the sensors and the air while shots are being detected. Typically, every shot will be reported within a few millimeters, with ideal performance being realized on a stable frame in calm conditions.

CLICK HERE for more ShotMarker Technical Information »

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September 28th, 2020

Bargain Finder 262: 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. Natchez — Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper, $179.99

frankford arsenal intellidropper
Fast, programmable, accurate dispenser at great price

If you’re looking for an affordable yet reliable and accurate upgrade for your powder measuring system check out the Frankford Arsenal Intellidropper. It’s accurate to one-tenth of a grain, dispenses in seconds, and can be controlled by a handy Spp on your phone (that can remember various charges weights for different cartridges). IMPORTANT: The advertised price is higher. However, when you add the Intellidropper to your Natchez online shipping cart, the price drops to $179.99! That’s a killer deal.

2. Sportsman’s Warehouse — Ruger American Rifle, $399.99

ruger american rifle sale
Good choice for affordable hunting rifle with strong warranty

Hunting season is around the corner. Who doesn’t want a new gun to take on that big fall hunt? Hunters looking for a good, solid deer rifle that’s very affordable should consider the Ruger American rifle. Right now you can get this in 6.5 Creedmoor, .308 Win, .243 Win, .270 Win, or 7mm-08 — each for the low price of $399.99. Grab one of these Ruger Americans and be set up for hunting season. For optics, consider a Vortex Strike Eagle scope for $299.99, as listed below.

3. MidwayUSA — SnapSafe 2-Gun Vault PLUS Pistol Safe, $99.99

snapsafe vault
Twin pistol safe package — good for home and workshop

Keeping your handguns safe and out of unwanted hands is the responsibility of every gun owner. Here’s a good 2-for-1 option for safe handgun storage. MidwayUSA is offering the SnapSafe 2-Handgun electronic vault PLUS free pistol safe for just $99.99. The electronic vault has a top-mounted finger keypad for rapid access. This is bigger than some of the competition so it easily holds two handguns plus other valuables. The smaller pistol safe has a key-lock and fits easily in a drawer.

4. Creedmoor Sports — Kowa 82SV Spotting Scope With 25X LER Eyepiece Combo and Creedmoor DLX Scope Cover, $999.00

kowa spotting scope
Highly rated Kowa Spotter with free cover

Walk the line of any high-power match and you’ll see more Kowa spotting scopes than any other brand and for good reason. They’re clear, crisp and great for reading mirage and you can pick up the Kowa 82SV Spotting Scope With 25X LER Eyepiece Combo plus Creedmoor Scope Cover for $999 or the Kowa 82SV Spotting Scope With 20-60X Zoom Eyepiece Combo plus Creedmoor Scope Cover for $1085. Either option will put you in control of reading the wind flags and mirage better than ever. Note that both packages come with a premium-quality Creedmoor scope cover, a $59.95 value.

5. Amazon — 10000mAh Dual USB Battery Charger Packs, $19.99

battery charge pack
Recharge your smartphones and tablets — good for Labradar too

Do you have a cellphone, tablet, LabRadar, barrel cooler or other device that needs mobile power? If so, we found a killer deal on a pair of Miady 10000mAh Dual USB Portable Chargers. Yes you get TWO (2) charging packs for just $19.99 total! Featuring USB and USB-C ports and fast 2 amp charging capability, this pair of portable power banks is one of the best deals we’ve seen.

6. Brownells — Caldwell Fire Control Coaxial Front Rest, $246.99

caldwell fire control
Functional Coaxial Rest at fraction of cost of big mames

Most people have seen or heard of high-end rests like SEB or Farley, but did you know there’s a great entry level joystick rest for under $300? For those getting started pick up the Fire Control front rest from Caldwell and you’ll be off and running. These rests are a great upgrade from standard lead sleds or sandbags and the integrated joystick control give you pin-point adjustments for the best shooting experience possible.

7. EuroOptic — Vortex Strike Eagle Scopes, $299.99 and Up

vortex strike eagle
Good basic scopes for hunting rifles — 33% Off savings

Vortex offers great “bang for the buck” in optics, along with an industry-leading warranty. And here is one of the best Vortex Sales we’ve seen. Right now EuroOptic has deeply discounted Vortex Strike Eagle scopes. A wide variety of Strike Eagles, a good choice for a deer rifle or AR, are now up to 33% off, with retail prices as low as $299.99. Chose your preferred zoom range — from 1-6X to 5-25X.

7. Amazon — Flambeau 6500AR AR Tactical Gun Case, $46.22

gun case sale
Case has compartments for magazines and rust-fighting feature

Transporting guns securely requires a quality case, but good ones can be expensive. This Flambeau case offers solid protection for under $47.00. The Flambeau Outdoors 6500AR AR Tactical Gun 40″ case with ZERUST fits most mid-sized rifles and features a special corrosion inhibiting vapor that forms a protective layer on metal to stop rust. At 44% off with FREE Shipping this is a solid deal.

9. MidwayUSA — Hunting Gear — 29% to 60% Off

Thompson Center Compass II Rifle Vortex Scope
Get gear for your annual hunt while saving big

Hunting season is here. Grab those extra gear items you need before you head out into the backwoods on your hunt. At MidwayUSA you’ll find great hunting items at bargain prices right now. As shown above, here are some of our top hunting gear picks:

1. MidwayUSA Stealth 2.0 Softshell Camo Pants, starting at $27.86 (60% Off)
2. MidwayUSA Prairie Creek Softshell Camo Jacket, $41.26 (51% Off)
3. Stealth Cam BT-USA Trail Camera, $49.99 (44% Off)
4. Hawk Crawler Steel Game Cart, $119.99 (29% Off)

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September 28th, 2020

Remington Assets to Be Divided Among Multiple Companies

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11

This is a sad story. Remington, America’s oldest continuously-operated gunmaker, has collapsed due to debts and litigation. Through a bankruptcy proceeding, Remington’s product lines and other assets are being acquired by a variety of companies, including Ruger, Vista Outdoor, Sierra, and other large shooting/outdoor industry enterprises. Notably, Ruger will pay $30 million to get the Marlin brand, and Sierra will take over Barnes bullets/ammo business, paying $30.5 million.

The sell-off of Remington assets, specifically product brands, will be going forward through Federal Bankruptcy court, with an order expected Tuesday September 29, 2020. The Shooting Wire reported on 9/28/2020:

Although it won’t be formalized until approved at a hearing scheduled tomorrow (Tuesday, September 29, 2020) in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Alabama, the breakup plan for Remington was filed yesterday. Barring something unforeseen, Remington and its associated companies will be divided among Ruger, Vista Outdoor, Roundhill Group, LLC, Sierra Bullets, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Franklin Armory, and JJE Capital [Palmetto State Armory]. Remington’s Lonoke, Arkansas, ammunition business will go to Vista Outdoor (with SIG Sauer as a backup bid), Sierra Bullets will acquire the Barnes Ammunition interests, Ruger will acquire Marlin, Franklin Armory will assume the Bushmaster brand (and related assets), JJE Capital Holdings will assume DPMS, H&R, Stormlake, AAC, and Parker brands, and Sportsman’s Warehouse will acquire the Tapco brand.

Remington assets will be divided among: Franklin Armory, JJE Capital, Ruger, Roundhill Group, Sierra Bullets, Sportsman’s Warehouse, Vista Outdoor. Roundhill will take over production of Remington firearms which will continue in Ilion, New York.

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11
Remington-owned brands displayed at Remington booth at SHOT Show. Photo by Remington.

Even with surging firearms sales in 2020, Remington Arms Company (Remington) found itself in financial trouble — with overwhelming obligations to creditors and investors. Accordingly, on July 27, 2020, Remington filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy — the second time in recent years.

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11

Remington, based in Madison, North Carolina, previously filed for Chapter 11 in March 2018. With major loan reorganizations, Remington “emerged nearly two months later, having converted more than $775 million in debt into equity for its lenders.” (Source: Syracuse.com.) However, despite this debt-restructuring, the company struggled with high interest costs and litigation related to the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting. The perpetrator had a Bushmaster XM15-E2S rifle sold by Remington.

Remington Factory Bankruptcy chapter 11

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September 27th, 2020

Sunday GunDay: Shelley Davidson’s Amazing “Tinker Toy” 30 BR

Shelly Davidson Tinker Toy 30 BR

Editor’s NOTE: Shelley Davidson passed away in 2008 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was one of the great innovators in benchrest rifle design. This article, written before Shelley died, showcases Shelley’s creative talents at their best. His “Tinker Toy” design will always be a tribute to Shelley’s fabricating skills and imagination.


Shelley Davidson — a brilliant innovator. R.I.P. Shelley — you will not be forgotten.

Shelley Davidson’s peers called his radical rifle the “Tinker Toy” gun. We call it revolutionary. Even now, 14 years after its creation, there’s nothing quite like it. This innovative, skeleton design threw conventional wisdom to the winds. Shelley readily concedes he “broke the rules” of benchrest rifle building. But this was inspired rule-breaking, because Davidson’s rifle shot like a house on fire. The Tinker Toy gun won its first matches, both for Score AND for Group. And this rifle also delivered many “zero groups” in Gene Begg’s Texas Tunnel. Hats off to Shelley for conceiving and building a truly radical rifle that was also wicked accurate and successful in competition.

tinker toy davidson 20 BR benchrest rifle

Tinker Toy 30 BR — Radical As It Gets

Report by Shelley Davidson
Although I’m not big on naming rifles, my shooting buddies have christened the gun “Tinker Toy.” I can live with that as it does kind of look as if it was made with a Tinker Toy set.

Origins of the Project
This project began with some wild ideas I had in the fall of 2006 about using magnets to tune a barrel. My idea was to use one magnet on the barrel and another on the stock so they pushed against each other to counter gravity-induced barrel sag (and possibly) tame barrel vibration in a beneficial manner. The only way to test these ideas was to build the device and mount it on a gun. That meant I had to build a new rifle because there was no place to mount a magnet on the stock of a conventional benchrest rig. I had a Kelbly-stocked heavy varmint stock with a Michael Kavanaugh paint job on it. I didn’t think Kav would ever forgive me if I started drilling holes in one of his works of art. My light varmint was in a carbon fiber Scoville stock that costs about a grand. Drilling into the Scoville for an experiment just smacked of bad judgment. So, the magnet thing was my first motivation for designing a new stock. As long as I was building from scratch I decided to offset the barrel and action 0.75″ to the right to counteract the spin/torque from the bullet.

Although there’s nothing new here, my second motivation was to build a 30BR that could shoot in the 10.5 lb light varmint class in NBRSA. The magnetic tuner will automatically make this gun illegal in the IBS. The IBS has declared all barrel attachments un-safe and have outlawed them. I personally feel that the IBS really outlawed all barrel attachments to prevent experimentation and innovation. But at least we have NBRSA matches.

Designing the New Gun — Thinking “Outside the Box”
Once I’d decided to build a lightweight stock that could support experimental devices out near the muzzle, I started drawing up some rough plans. I also took a trip to Jerry Stiller’s shop in Wylie, Texas for a brainstorming session with Jerry, the maker of Viper and other Benchrest actions. Jerry is a school-trained mechanical engineer and thinks differently than I do. I came away from Stiller’s shop with my design roughed out and sketched on paper. The design violated several covenants of conventional wisdom for building competition BR rifles. For instance, two-piece stocks stress the action. Stress reduction is why most BR rifles are glued into the stock. Another myth is that metal stocks vibrate too much so wood or foam-filled fiberglass or carbon fiber are used.

Tinker Toy Rifle DESIGN FEATURES

Shelly Davidson’s Rifle was so innovative, that almost every feature, except the bare action, is very different than you’ll find on most Benchrest rigs. Accordingly we felt it would be useful to isolate and describe the key design features, from stem to stern. Click thumbnails to view FULL-SIZE PHOTOS.

Front Bracket with Magnetic Tuner
The tuner consists of one rare earth magnet attached to the stock and another attached to a barrel sleeve with the magnets oriented so as to make the magnetic force repel each other. The purpose is to counter “barrel droop” and, hopefully, dampen barrel vibration. The lower magnet is carried on a threaded shaft (with lock ring), allowing the magnet to be raised up and down to adjust the “up push” on the barrel.

Tubular Fore-Arm Supported by Brackets
Three brackets support two tubes, one on either side of the barrel. The rear-most bracket is sandwiched between the barrel and the action. Four inches forward (max distance allowed for barrel blocks) a second bracket grips the barrel. Near the muzzle a third bracket secures the ends of the tubes and holds the magnetic tuner. To allow barrel offset, the left tube is 1″ diameter tube while the right tube is 5/8″ diameter.

Offset Barrel
The rifle rests on a 3″ wide plate attached to the underside of the two fore-end tubes. With the plate centered in the front sandbag, the barreled action is actually offset 0.75″ to the right (looking forward from the breech). The purpose of this offset is to keep more weight on the right side to counter the tendency of the rifle to torque counter-clockwise. Two different diameter tubes allow for the built-in offset.

Floating Action without Sub-Support or Bedding
On the Tinker Toy gun, the action serves as a load-bearing assembly, holding the barrel in the front, and the skeleton buttstock (or “keel”) in the rear. Shelley was told that accuracy would suffer if you stressed a benchrest action in this manner but that proved untrue. It is a very simple solution to building a rifle, and it eliminates the need to bed the action. The forearm attaches to the action via a bracket installed like a recoil lug.

Skeleton Rear “Keel” Affixed Directly to Action
Davidson’s Tinker Toy does not have a conventional rear buttstock. Instead there is low-profile, v-shaped metal “keel”, as Davidson calls it, that rides the rear bag. The keel is supported by a tubular backbone that attaches at the rear of the Diamondback action. At the butt end is an aluminum plate covered with bubble wrap that serves as a butt pad. The skeletonized rear section helps the rifle maintain a very low center of gravity.

Locked Scope with External Windage and Elevation Adjustment
Shelley ran an older Leupold 36X Benchrest Scope with front-adjusting objective. To eliminate slop or loose tolerances in the erector mechanism that could cause changes in point of impact, the internals have been locked up by Jackie Schmidt. To move the cross-hairs relative to the bore axis, Shelley has a special Jewell/Foster rear ring that allows a limited amount of lateral and vertical movement of the entire scope body.

TINKER TOY SPECIFICATIONS

Action: Stiller SS Diamondback Drop-Port (1/2″ short), with .308 Bolt Face.
Barrel: Shilen .308 caliber, 17-twist, HV.
Chambering: 30BR, .330″ neck, Pacific Tool & Gauge Robinett Reamer.
Stock: Davidson Custom Tubular Stock with 0.75″ Offset Barreled Action.
Tube Construction: 6061 Aluminum, 1″ diameter (left), 5/8″ diameter (right).
Load: H4198 powder and 118gr Ronnie Cheek bullets. Loaded to 2980 fps.
Trigger: Jewell, 2 ounce BR.
Tuner: Custom, Adjustable with Opposing Magnets.
Optics: Leupold 36X (locked by J. Schmidt).
Rings: Jewell Foster External Adjusting Rings.

Stiller Diamondback Action and Shilen 17-Twist Barrel
I had wanted to use an aluminum Stiller Cobra drop port with a 6mmBR bolt face but Jerry had none in stock and he estimated it would be a year before one was available. Although I’ve waited for up to a year for an action in the past, I wanted to build this rifle during the fall of 2006 while the weather was pleasant enough to work in my unheated and un-air-conditioned garage shop. Jerry did have a 1/2″ short stainless steel Diamondback in stock so I purchased it even though it would add 3 ounces to the gun compared to the aluminum Cobra. Three ounces is a lot of weight when you’re working with a 10.5-lb limit. I had a heavy varmint contour Shilen 17-twist barrel that would work nicely and I had a Jewell trigger on a rifle that I wasn’t using at the time. I also decided to use my Leupold 36X (locked-up by Jackie Schmidt) with the Jewell/Foster adjustable rings.

Building the Tube Fore-Arm and Brackets
I took a wild guess as to tubing thickness and settled on .035″ for the 1″ left fore-arm tube and .058″ for the 5/8″ right fore-arm tube. All of the flat stock and tubes are 6061 Aluminum. I did the lathe work and the mill work and every evening I’d put the parts together and think about the proper way to proceed.

tube benchrest rifle

When the parts were mostly made, I started thinking that this was a truly ugly rifle. I thought about painting it but that wasn’t a good option as many of the parts are designed to slide over others and glue together. Anodizing was the best answer so while looking on the Internet for local anodizing shops I Googled “Home Anodizing”. Sure enough there were a few sites that told about how to anodize at home. I picked up some battery acid from NAPA Auto Supply, some Rit Clothes Dye from Wal-Mart, and a bunch of distilled water from the grocery store. Using an old battery charger as my dc power supply I started anodizing and dying the eighteen parts that went into the stock. Although I had to strip and re-anodize some of the parts, the work turned out acceptable.

Putting it All Together–Lug-Mounting the Fore-Arm and Lots of Epoxy
The barrel contour had to be modified to work with the stock which attaches by way of a rear plate which mounts like a recoil lug and a plate that ties the barrel and the stock tubes together 4″ forward of the bolt face. The four-inch maximum distance is a NBRSA rule concerning barrel blocks.

Davidson Benchrest 30BR

Davidson 30BR group targetThe recoil lug-style stock mount is probably the only truly innovative thing I did other than the opposing-magnet tuner. Basically, the rear bracket is sandwiched between the receiver face and the barrel shoulder–positioned where a conventional recoil lug would go. I also added a brass ring (visible in photo) between the anodized bracket and the barrel. This was done to distribute loads over a wider surface area. (I was concerned that the bracket material was fairly soft and I didn’t want to crush it as I torqued the barrel in place.) After fitting the barrel and plates I glued the entire gun together using epoxy and various LocTite adhesives. The rest of the parts were assembled but I did not Loctite the scope bases since I thought I’d be disassembling the rifle for re-work after the first trials. That came back to bite me during later testing when the gun started shooting erratically and I went down a couple of blind alleys before finding the loose bases.

Range Testing–Results Are Very Positive
The first range session was a real shocker. Even though the wind was up to 10mph and twitchy, the rifle showed promise from the very first shot. I really didn’t expect that kind of performance without, at least, some rework. After sighting in, I shot five, 5-shot groups that, when averaged together, measured .223″. That’s good enough to win some benchrest group matches. But I wasn’t finished with the gun yet–I still wanted to try out my magnetic tuner concept.

Magnetic Benchrest Tuner Davidson

The Magnetic Tuner
Next, I built the magnetic tuner. The tuner consists of one rare earth magnet attached to the stock and another attached to a barrel sleeve with the magnets oriented so the magnetic forces repel each other. In order to test the magnets and to determine if the rifle really shot as well as it seemed to, I took it to Gene Beggs’s shooting tunnel in Odessa, Texas. I spent two days at the tunnel testing loads and then installed the magnetic tuner. The gun shoots well with the magnets and shoots well without them. I suppose I can’t make any claims as to how much, if any, improvement the magnets make. Gene said that my gun was the most accurate rifle to be tested at his one-year-old shooting facility: “Shelley Davidson brought one of the most unusual rifles I had ever seen; he called it his ‘Tube Gun.’ And boy, did it ever shoot! It still holds the record in the tunnel as the rifle that shot more zeros than any other to date.” I definitely recommend Gene’s facility for testing and refining shooting techniques and loads.

Competition — Tinker Toy Won Both Score and Group Matches

Finally the big day arrived when I’d shoot the first match with my new gun. The North Texas Shooters Association was holding its first club match of the 2007 season. At the Denton, Texas matches we shoot a Score Match in the morning and a Group Match in the afternoon. The March event was at 100 yards and the April match will be at 200 yards and so on alternating throughout the benchrest season.

Davidson tube BR rifle Score MatchMatch One–Tinker Toy Wins Score with a 250 – 17X
Since the gun is chambered in 30BR and that chambering is almost immune to tuning woes, I preloaded 130 rounds with H4198 powder and 118gr Cheek bullets. I used my SEB front rest and rear bag which are made by Sebastian Lambang in Indonesia. Everything came together, and Tinker Toy demonstrated that the accuracy it showed in the tunnel was no fluke. The gun shot great and I won the morning match with a 250, 17X. The day was quite windy and the next best shooter scored a 250, 15X. So I’d chalked up my first win.

Match Two–Tinker Toy Wins Group with a .2282″ Agg
Tinker Toy won the afternoon group match I entered with a five-group Aggregate of .2282″. (The second place score was .2568″.) My groups were .149″, .197″, .243″, .302″ (oops), and .250″. You know how some folks say a 30BR can’t be competitive with a PPC? Well that .2282″ Agg won’t break any records, but it is good enough to win some regional registered BR matches. So this rifle has demonstrated an ability to win in both Score and Group matches. Obviously I have a very good Shilen barrel, great Cheek bullets and the rest of the components are doing their jobs as well. But, the stock is also working well.

Score Shooting vs. Group Shooting–The Rules
In a score match, the shooter shoots one bullet at each of five record targets, which are clustered on one target sheet. The Aggregate score of five of these targets determines the winner. If the shooter touches the 10 ring on all of his 25 targets he can score a “clean” 250 score. Usually there will be more than one shooter who scores a 250 so the winner is determined by the X-count. The 1/2″ 10-point ring has a 1/16″ dot in its center. Touching the X dot adds to the shooters X count. In short-range group matches, the shooter must try to put five bullets through the same hole. At each distance (100 or 200), five, 5-shot matches are scored, the group sizes are added together (MOA equivalent at 200) and the total is divided by five to arrive at an Aggregate score.

Permalink - Articles, Competition, Gear Review, Gunsmithing 1 Comment »
September 27th, 2020

Do-It-Yourself Chamber Length Gauge

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

Here is a clever DIY tool we learned about from Frank Shuster, a Forum member, who, sadly, passed away in 2015. Frank was a very knowledgeable shooter who was always willing to help others. Here is one of Frank’s smart inventions. He devised a way to measure the length of a rifle’s chamber using a fired cartridge case. Frank’s system works by cutting a “collar” from part of the case neck. This then slips over a bullet seated in a case loaded without powder or primer. As you chamber the dummy round, the collar will move back to indicate the full length of the chamber. (Make sure the bullet is seated well off the lands so the dummy round can chamber fully.)

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neck

The pictured gauge can be home made (for free) with components you already have on hand. Frank explained: “I used a Dremel cut-off wheel to cut the front half of the case neck off. A jewelers needle file to de-burr both rough-cut edges. The cut-off surface does not need to be perfectly square, because you are using the original straight mouth to make contact at the front of the chamber. Seat any old bullet to the approximate normal seating length. Next apply a tiny drop of oil on the ogive of the bullet, and slide the ‘collar’ over the bullet. Then chamber the dummy round and close the bolt. Extract the round slowly and carefully and take the measurement with calipers (see top photo).”

Frank’s DIY chamber length gauge works well. In a related Forum thread, Frank posted: “I’ve compared length dimensions doing it this way and with the chamber length shown on my chambering reamer drawings, and the Sinclair gauge, and they are all within .001″ or so.”

do it yourself chamber length gauge Sinclair case neckCommercial Chamber Length Gauges May Not Work with Custom Chambers

Frank did use Sinclair chamber-length gauges for some applications. These bullet-shaped gauges slip into a cartridge, but “it’s inconvenient to order that little gauge only… without spending $6 shipping for a $7 item.” Moreover, the Sinclair gauges may not fit a custom chamber with a tighter neck dimension because the diameter of the ring at the end is too large.

As an alternative to commercial gauges, the collar-type, homemade gauge will function properly in a custom chamber. The homemade gauge will work with smaller-than-standard chamber neck dimensions, as long as you use a piece of appropriately-turned fired brass that fits your chamber.

Permalink Bullets, Brass, Ammo, Reloading No Comments »
September 27th, 2020

Dime-Sized Groups All Day Long — Yeah, Right…

Dime size meme humor joke accuracy

We’ve all encountered those boastful guys at the range — you know, the ones who say their factory rifle will shoot “dime-sized groups all day long.” Well maybe they were actually telling the truth — it all depends on the size of the ten-cent piece. With the huge dime shown above, we think we could shoot “dime-sized groups all day long” — even with a pistol. After seeing this, one reader commented: “That’s great. So this means my groups are only around Quarter-sized!”

Credit Forum member DKhunt14 who started a thread with this humorous image in our Shooters’ Forum. Other Forum members gave examples of similar accuracy claims they’ve heard:

I ran into a local tactical guru a few years ago that topped any story I’ve ever heard yet. He claimed he could shoot a quarter-inch group every time at 300 yards — like no problem whatsoever. — IMMike

I had a guy tell me he dropped a doe at 420 yards with a M1 carbine, open sights. Never took a step. I’ll bet he also shot those dime-sized groups!– DJ Porter

Seems like we could substitute 1000-yard prairie dog (other small varmint) hits for dime-sized groups. They both happen “all day long”. — Dsandfort

Many folks come into my shop… and feel compelled to regale me with their life history with firearms. Head-shooting squirrels at 100 yards with a .22 short and iron sights, deer dropped at 500 yards with a .35 Rem, ground hogs taken with one shot across vast distances, etc. — and it would appear that every former SEAL, Marine or SF sniper lives in the general area. My Dad used to tell me that sometimes you just have to smile and nod a lot. Not always, but a lot.

I’m not a huge fan of Bass Pro Shop, but I DO appreciate Bass Pro’s motto: “Welcome hunters, fishermen and other liars.” Human nature can be so entertaining. — JLT

GET Your Own Giant DIME

By the way, if you want your own jumbo dime, Amazon.com offers 3″-diameter Roosevelt dimes for about eight bucks. These would be good for range accuracy challenges. You could tell a buddy you can “put five shots on a dime at 200 yards”. Then whip out this slightly oversize 3-incher and see his face.

These could also serve as “gag prizes” at club shooting matches — giveaways for folks who want to say they shot a group at 200 or 300 yards that could be “covered with a dime” … a 3″ dime that is!

Permalink Shooting Skills 4 Comments »
September 26th, 2020

Twenty Tips for Hunters on National Hunting and Fishing Day

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

Today is National Hunting and Fishing Day. To help the avid hunters among our readers, here are Twenty Tips that can help ensure a safe and successful hunt. These tips have been compiled from our AccurateShooter Hunting Forum, with help from Hunting Editor Colton Reid (who has already been out hunting this month). Some items are preparatory — such as working with maps, sighting in the rifle, and improving physical fitness. We also talk about equipment — having the right gear, from proper boots to a GPS for multi-day hunts.

Of course there are entire volumes written on hunting, but these 20 Tips can benefit all hunters. Follow these suggestions and you should have a safer hunting experience with greater likelihood of success. If you liked these pointers, you’ll find two dozen more helpful hints on the NSSF Website.

hunting fishing day Hunting guide

Preparations Before The Hunt

1. Map Your Hunt and Notify Others — Before your hunt, make a plan and notify friends and family members about WHERE you are going and your intended return date and time. Print out a Google Satellite map and locate landmarks and trailheads. Mark where you plan to park your vehicle and give a copy of this map to friend and/or family members. A hunter may injure himself by falling off a rock, or tumbling in a creek-bed. After that kind of injury the hunter may be confused or unable to walk. If you get stranded in the wilderness, you want trusted persons to know where you are. So, before you leave on a trip, provide a map to a friend or family member. Show them where you will leave your vehicle, and where you expect to be every day of your hunting adventure.

2. Licenses and Permits — Make sure you have a valid hunting licenses and all the necessary tags. Begin this process with ample time before your intended hunt(s). The NSSF adds: “If you are crossing state or national borders, find out about any special considerations you must take care of. Border crossings can mean knowing about firearm transport laws or Chronic Wasting Disease-related regulations.”

3. Work on Your Fitness — On a multi-day hunt you may be trekking many miles. You need to be in good shape. If you are out of shape you may be putting yourself in a precarious situation, particularly if you underestimate the terrain difficulty. As the NSSF says: “Not being able to handle the conditions lessens your chances of success, can turn a great experience into an agonizing one and can endanger your health.”

4. Do Your Homework — Study the area you will be hunting. Talk to other hunters. Look at satellite photos. Get a real sense of the walking and terrain challenges. For a multi-day hunt, MAKE a PLAN. The NSSF states: “Eliminate surprises. Learn as much about where you will be staying, the area you will be hunting, what the weather might be like and what you need to bring[.]”

5. Rifle and Ammo — Make sure your rifle is sighted-in and your ammo is tested. Sight-in your rifle with the ammo you plan to use on your hunt. CLICK HERE for 4-Shot Sight-in Method. After sighting-in from the bench, confirm your zero by shooting from typical hunting positions (kneeling and with forearm supported on a rock or post).

hunting rifle sighting in target

6. Shooting Positions — Practice the shooting positions you will use in the field. Practice sitting, kneeling, and prone positions. You should also practice with shooting sticks, using your day pack as a rest, and with a bipod. Try to have a rock-steady rest before taking your shot.

Hunting Positions

7. Back-Up Irons — If possible, select a rifle with back-up iron sights. While modern scopes are very durable, they can and do fail (glass can crack). If you’ve invested a lot of time and money in your hunt, back-up iron sights can keep you in the game even if your riflescope fails.

8. Communications and GPS — Bring a GPS if you are in a wilderness area far from civilization. It’s a good idea to bring a cell phone, but you may not have coverage if you’re quite a distance from populated areas. A smart-phone also doubles as a digital camera to record your trophies. For navigation and safety, consider getting Garmin inReach Explorer+. This high-tech handheld unit features interactive SOS, connecting you to the GEOS 24/7 search-and-rescue monitoring center. They also allow you to send and receive text messages, no matter where you are, via advanced inReach satellite technology. Yes you can communicate even if you are miles from the nearest cell tower.

9. Select Good Gear — Make sure you have GOOD BOOTS that are comfortable — you’ll spend a lot of time on your feet. You may want a pack with harness for your rifle so you have both hands free. On a multi-day trip, make sure you can carry enough water, and that you will stay warm enough at night. Good practices for backpacking apply to multi-day hunts.

10. Make a Checklist — Create a complete checklist of the gear and supplies you need. That includes arms, ammunition, rangefinder, binoculars, proper clothing (including spare clothes), hunting accessories, sleeping gear (on multi-day hunts), toiletries, medications. Don’t forget a good first aid kit — lots of bad things can happen during any wilderness trip. You can cut a hand, break an ankle or worse.

During The Hunt

11. Have a Plan — know where you plan to go and when. Try to be where you want in the early morning and early evening hours when deer are likely most active.

12. Take Your Time — If you spot a deer and get too excited and don’t take your time you may spook him. Go slow and glass. If possible, wait for the animals to bed down and relax. Then work out the best way to approach your prey. Remember, “You get so few opportunities, don’t screw it up!”

13. Glass More, Walk Less — Let your eyes do the walking — get good binoculars and use them. With their heightened senses of smell and hearing, deer/elk are able to spot you way better than you can spot them. If you are walking around a lot, chances are you are getting spotted by your prey.

14. Riflescopes Are Not Binoculars — Never use a riflescope as a substitute for binoculars. The temptation to do so is real, but when one does this, one is by definition pointing the muzzle of the gun at unknown targets. We like binoculars with built-in rangefinders. When glassing at long range, try supporting your binoculars on your pack.

hunting scopes binoculars Zeiss Colton Reid

15. Be Sure of Your Target before Shooting — Every year during whitetail season, farmers everywhere are forced to spray-paint their cattle or risk having them “harvested” by hunters who don’t bother confirming the species in their sights. Hunters with “buck fever” can make mistakes. When in doubt, don’t shoot.

hunting scope deer rifle

16. Know When to Unload — When finished hunting, unload your firearm before returning to camp. You should also unload your gun before attempting to climb a steep bank or travel across slippery ground.

17. Hearing Protection — While pursuing and stalking your prey you’ll want full sensory use of your ears. But when you’re finally ready to take the shot, slip in hearing protection. A shot from a large-caliber hunting rifle can exceed 170 decibels. Unprotected exposure to noise from a SINGLE 170+ dB shot can cause permanent hearing damage. (Source: ASHA.org). If you make a follow-up shot, you double that noise hazard. Therefore a hunter with a non-suppressed rifle should have hearing protection available.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

You can keep a pair of quick-insert plugs on a cord around your neck. Or, get the Howard Leight Quiet Band QB2HYG. This is a plastic ring with earbuds, you can keep around your neck.

hunting safety annual day top 20 tips

“Once a hunter is successful, the REAL work begins.” — Colton Reid

18. Harvesting the Animal — When dressing your animal, be careful with the meat. You’ll want very sharp knives. Some hunters prefer knives with replaceable, razor-sharp blades. Don’t rush the task. Make sure you don’t get moisture or dirt on meat. The three spoilers of meat are heat, moisture, and dirt.

19. Pace Yourself When Packing Out — If you DO succeed, and bring down a big buck, will you be able to dress the animal and carry out the meat? Always be prepared to hike out with extra weight. If you are successful, make sure not to waste the meat you worked so hard for. Choose a pack that can help you carry a heavy load. Remember, this is not an insignificant challenge — you may be carrying 60 to 100 extra pounds in addition to your other gear. Again, take your time. Rest as needed. Don’t hurt yourself.

20. Remember to Enjoy the Experience — Our Hunting Editor, Colton Reid, offers this sage advice to all hunters, but particularly to novices: “Have fun, and appreciate your hunt, whether you bag a buck or not. It is a privilege to experience the wilderness and to get away from the city. Enjoy it while you’re out there. And keep your spirits up. You may get tired, but remember that ‘comes with the territory’. At the end of the day, yes you may be exhausted. And you may want to quit and go home. But stay positive, stay focused. Be patient, the experience is worth it.”

hunting fishing day Hunting guide
CLICK HERE for Hunter Training/Mentoring Programs State-by-State.

Prepare For Your Hunt — Get Fit and Practice Positions

As part of the NRA’s Tips & Tactics video series, Kristy Titus explains how to prepare for a hunt. Titus, co-host of the Team Elk TV show has hunted around the globe. She grew up in the outdoors, running pack mules in Oregon with her father. In this video, Kristy discusses fitness training and demonstrates field positions that can be employed during a hunt.

Kristy explains: “Hunting can lead you into some steep, rough country. It’s really important that you train both your body and your mind to handle the elements and the rigors of hunting So, if you plan on going on a mountain hunt, get out and train your body. Train with your firearm. Get off the bench and have some fun with this. Do some positional shooting or, if you want to add a stress dynamic… have someone put you under a time parameter.”

Visit WhereToHunt.org

There’s a great online resource for hunters that will help you find game locations in your state and ensure you have all the proper permits and game tags. WheretoHunt.org features an interactive map of the country. For all 50 states, the NSSF has compiled information about hunting license and permits, where to hunt, hunter education classes, laws and regulations and more. For each state you’ll also find a link for required applications and license forms.

Click Map to Get State-by-State Hunting INFO
Where to Hunt hunting license game location

Permalink - Articles, Gear Review, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 26th, 2020

Resources for Hunters — Hunter Ed, Licenses, Where to Hunt

National Hunting and Fishing Day

Today, September 26, 2020, is National Hunting and Fishing Day (NHFD). On this day we recommend you take new shooters afield and introduce them to shooting or hunting. The NFHD website has helpful resources for hunters.

National Hunting and Fishing Day

Getting the right introduction to hunting ensures a quality experience and the start to a lifetime of enjoyment. Many hunters receive their first introduction to hunting from family or friends as a tradition passed down from generation to generation.

For all hunters, whether they have mentors to guide them or not, the most important first step into the woods begins with a state-certified hunter education course.

hunter education national hunting fishing day

hunter education national hunting fishing day

hunter education national hunting licenses fishing day

hunter education national hunting fishing day

Game Resources — To learn more about different game species, click these NSSF links:

Game Animals Resources | Game Birds Resources

FREE Printable Deer Hunting Target
To help you prepare for a fall hunt, here is a free, printable Deer Practice target. Hone your skills on a trio of bucks with a red bullseye centered on the animals. You can print the targets in black and white, but they look best in color. Right-click the image below to download a FREE printable PDF file.

hunting NRA Blog Target deer buck turkey hog PDF printable target

Permalink Hunting/Varminting, News, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 26th, 2020

Reading the Wind When Hunting — Smart Advice from Norway

Norway Hunting Snow

Thomas Haugland, a Shooters’ Forum member from Norway, is a long-range target shooter and hunter. He has created an interesting video showing how to gauge wind velocities by watching trees, grass, and other natural vegetation. The video commentary is in English, but the units of wind speed (and distance) are metric. Haugland explains: “This is not a full tutorial, but rather a short heads-up to make you draw the lines between the dots yourself”. Here are some conversions that will help when watching the video:

.5 m/s = 1.1 mph | 1 m/s = 2.2 mph | 2 m/s = 4.5 mph
3 m/s = 6.7 mph | 4 m/s = 8.9 mph | 5 m/s =11.2 mph

How to Gauge Wind Speed and Hold Off Using Reticles

Thomas Haugland long range shooting hunting hunter norway

This field video shows how to observe natural indicators — trees and vegetation — to estimate wind velocity. Then it shows how to calculate hold-offs using the reticle hash-marks. Thomas shoots a fast-cycling Blaser R93 rifle with Norma 6XC ammunition.

More Interesting Videos from Norway
There are many other interesting videos on Haugland’s YouTube Channel, including Game Stalking, Precision Reloading, Shooting Fundamentals and Tips on how to use a Mildot Reticle on a scope with MOA-based clicks.

Permalink - Videos, Hunting/Varminting, Shooting Skills No Comments »
September 25th, 2020

Competition Returns to Camp Perry with September GSSM Match

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

This is heartening — folks are shooting at Camp Perry again. Some normalcy has returned to the world (despite the ongoing pandemic). Though the CMP National Matches were cancelled in summer 2020, shooting returned, on a smaller scale, in the fall. The CMP hosted a Garand-Springfield-Modern and Vintage Military (GSMM) Rifle Match on Camp Perry’s Petrarca Range on September 14th.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

CLICK HERE to See 200+ GSMM Match Photos »

Competitors on the line greeted each other with warm smiles and swapped stories of missed competition over the last few months – some traveling from as far as Virginia with the hopes of enjoying Camp Perry after the cancellation of the National Matches (typically an annual tradition for marksmen). Others admitted the Petrarca Match was their first time in competition since last year’s National Matches. So, for those in attendance, this event did represent a positive return to normalcy during this challenging year.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

The GSMM Match was subject to strict health and safety guidelines. Participants practiced social distancing and wore masks when not firing. The CMP team also employed sanitation procedures for the facility.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio
CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

The morning started off soggy as rain moved through the range area along the shores of Lake Erie, clearing off before the first relay to leave a gray backdrop. The weather quickly improved through early afternoon as the sun appeared and warmed the air, making for a pleasant return to the firing line for later relays.

CMP GSMM Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio

Winning overall in the Garand competition was Jeffrey Cramer, 66, with a 266-3X Aggregate. Jace Diezman, 59, led the Springfield category with 266-2X, as SFC Charles Novak, 55, won the Vintage Military class, with a score of 254-1X. Joe Rondon, 53, won Modern Military with a score of 281-5X over the day.

Modern Kongsberg Electronic Targets for Rapid Scoring
Petrarca Range is home to CMP Targets, powered by the Kongsberg Target Systems (KTS) of Norway. The lineup of electronic targets utilized on the range allows competitors to watch their shots on monitors located at each firing point eliminating the need for pit duty and dead range time.

CMP Petrarca Range Camp Perry Ohio
Camp Perry 2016 Natinoal CMP Matches Regisatration Open

Directions to Camp Perry:

Permalink Competition, News, Shooting Skills 2 Comments »
September 25th, 2020

Smarter Glassing for Hunters — Using Binoculars with a Tripod

Vortex Binoculars

With hunting season underway (or coming up soon), we know that many readers will be out in the field — with a set of binoculars. On most game hunts, you’ll speed a lot more time glassing with binocs than looking through your riflescope. With wide field of view and extended low-light capability, a good set of binoculars will be your most important game-finder. And with premium LRF binoculars, such as the new Vortex Fury, one tool serves both for spotting and laser ranging.

“Without the stabilization of your binoculars [provided by] a tripod … you will be missing a majority of the game you are glassing for.” — Outdoorsmans.com

In this article, Vortex Optics’ Mark Boardman, an experienced hunter, explains the benefits of using a tripod with high-magnification binoculars. Everybody knows that powerful spotting scopes work best when mounted to a stable tripod or otherwise secured to a steady mount. Yet when most folks use binoculars, they never even think of using a tripod, despite the fact that tripod adapters are available for many premium binoculars.

Vortex Binoculars


» READ FULL ARTICLE with More Tips for Hunters

Vortex BinocularsOutdoorsmans Tripod Adapters
Outdoorsmans.com sells tripod adapters for various kinds of binoculars. These really work: “Mounting your binoculars to a quality tripod is a must for the serious western hunter. Without the stabilization of your binoculars [by] mounting them to a tripod … you will be missing a majority of the game you are glassing for.”

A serious hunter should learn how to glass with tripod support, using methods outlined here. With binoculars offering more that 8X magnification, you can really benefit from a steady mount. You’ll be amazed at the difference the tripod will make.

Story tip by EdLongrange. We welcome reader submissions.
Permalink Hunting/Varminting, Optics, Tech Tip No Comments »
September 25th, 2020

Reloading Can Be Fun … and a Stress-Reliever

Sierra Bullets Blog handloading stress relief

by Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Philip Mahin for Sierra Bullets Blog
A lot of calls that come into the Sierra Customer Service Center are made by shooters [of retirement age]. Most of the time the shooter used to reload back when they were [younger] and stopped in order to raise a family, pursue a career, or both. Maybe their father or grandfather taught them back in the day and they are looking for an answer to the new whatchamacallit they found on the internet. The point is they are coming back to it because it was fun.

Reloading Can Provide Stress Relief
As a father of three, a husband, a brother, a son and son-in-law, and a friend and neighbor, I get pulled in a lot of directions. In all honesty, reloading and shooting has become a stress relief for me even though I work in the shooting industry.

Sometimes, the shooting gets put on hold for other more important things but there will always be another project or repair to accomplish. There are a lot out there that have found a way to balance the work life, the family life, and the play life. I would like to applaud you on your efforts because it is a hard thing to accomplish.

Remember to take time and relieve that stress. Do something fun, especially if it is shooting that special hand-load you just made.

AccurateShooter Comment — Hand-Loading and the Creative Process
Reloading your own precise ammo can be rewarding in many ways. First it allows you a temporary escape from work pressures, “Honey-Dos”, filing your taxes — whatever. It’s just you and Mr. Rockchucker spending quality time in the loading room. Second, hand-loading is a creative process that engages the mind. During load development, you are like an inventor, selecting a powder charge, choosing the bushing size, experimenting with seating depths, working to perfect your load.

Lastly, the process of hand-loading is rewarding because you are building something start to finish. You begin with components — bullets, brass, and powder, and end up with a finished product that (hopefully) is better than the best factory ammo you could buy. It is enormously satisfying to start with piles of bullets and brass and end up with beautiful hand-loads that can deliver great accuracy.

This post originally appeared in the Sierra Bullets Blog.

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September 24th, 2020

Will U.S. Military Start Using Ammunition with Composite Cases?

true velocity composite polymer case ammunition ammo U.S. Military production

True Velocity is a Texas-based ammo-maker with 145 issued patents on its products and technologies. More than 1 million rounds of True Velocity composite-cased cartridges will be delivered through 2020-2021 to the U.S. Army. This revolutionary new ammo will be tested by the U.S. Army’s Next Generation Squad Weapons program. The advantage of the composite cases, which employ various polymers, is primarily weight savings. True Velocity-made ammo is 30% lighter than conventional ammunition. That means that a typical soldier’s load-out can be reduced by many POUNDS with this innovative ammo. And the military can transport much more ammo with existing vehicles and aircraft.

true velocity composite polymer case ammunition ammo U.S. Military production

true velocity composite polymer case ammunition ammo U.S. Military production

true velocity composite polymer case ammunition ammo U.S. Military production

The company claims: “True Velocity’s precision engineering and manufacturing capabilities allow for substantial improvements in consistency over brass. Our proprietary technology and manufacturing process, combined with progressive process and quality control standards … yields a cartridge of unparalleled performance.” In addition, True Velocity can produce ammo in smaller facilities than a typical large ammo plant. The company states: “The company’s manufacturing capabilities can power customizable and highly-portable ‘cells’, allowing for decentralized and automated ammunition production.”

True Velocity’s modern composite cases withstand temperature changes very well and can function well even in sub-zero environments (however you still may have issues with the powder inside at super-low temps). In addition, the composite cases are 100% recyclable. This can make a difference for shooting ranges and training facilities. One question we have, however, is long-term durability. Brass cartridges can remain strong and functional for decades. Some plastics degrade in just a few years. It will be interesting to see how the True Velocity composite cases hold up over time.

true velocity composite polymer case ammunition ammo U.S. Military production

True Velocity is an advanced technology and composite manufacturing company based in Garland, Texas. Founded in 2010, True Velocity has more than 250 patents pending or issued on its products, technology, and manufacturing processes. True Velocity products are manufactured in the U.S. in a state-of-the-art, 66,000-square-foot facility and are currently available to public agencies, with consumer products available soon. For more information, visit TVammo.com.

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September 24th, 2020

Case Diagnostics — How to Find Defects in Cartridge Brass

Case Diagnostics 101 Sierra Bullets .223 Rem 5.56 brass cartridge safety

Ever wondered what caused a particular bulge or marking on a case? And more importantly, does the issue make the case unsafe for further use? Sierra Bullets Ballistic Technician Duane Siercks offers some insight into various issues and their causes in two Case Diagnostic articles from the Sierra Blog.

Incipient Case-Head Separation
This is a Winchester .308 Win case that has a real issue. This case has a very obvious incipient case head separation in the process of becoming a complete failure.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This is most commonly caused by over-sizing the case causing there to be excess headspace on the case. After a few firings and subsequent re-sizing, this case is just about ready to come completely apart. Proper die adjustment is certainly a requirement here. Of course this case is not safe to reuse.

Excessive Pressure (Load Too Hot)
If you will notice in the picture of the case rim, there are two pressure signs to notice. First, look at the primer. It is basically flattened to about the max of what could be considered safe. If this was the only pressure sign noted, I would probably be fine with this load, but would constantly keep an eye on it especially if I was going to use this load in warmer temperatures. This load could easily cross into the “excess pressure” realm very quickly.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

There is another sign of pressure that we cannot ignore. If you’ll notice, there is an ejector mark apparent that is located over the “R” of the R-P headstamp. This absolutely tells us that this load would not have been in the safe pressure range. If there were any of these rounds loaded, they should not be fired and should be dis-assembled. This case should not be reloaded.

Split Case-Neck
Here we have an R-P .22-250 case that has died the death. Everything looks fine with this case except the neck is split. This case must be tossed.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

A split neck is a normal occurrence that you must watch for. It is caused by work-hardening of the brass. Brass cases get harder with age and use. Brand new cases that are stored for a period of time can become hard enough that they will split like this case within one to two firings. I have had new factory loads do the same thing. Then as we resize and fire these cases repeatedly, they tend to get harder and harder. Eventually they will split. The life of the case can be extended by careful annealing practices. This is an issue that would need to be addressed in an article by itself. Of course this case is no longer usable.

In the classes that I teach, I try to use examples like this to let the students see what they should be looking for. As always, if we can assist you, whether you are new to reloading or very experienced, contact us here at Sierra Bullets by phone at 1-800-223-8799 or by email at sierra@sierrabullets.com.

Dented Case Body
Here we have a Lake City 7.62×51 (.308 Win.) case with two heavy marks/dents in the case body.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This one may be a bit of a mystery. It appears as if this case may have been caught in the action of a semi-auto rifle when the firearm jammed or the case failed to clear during the cycling process. I probably would not reload this case just to prevent any feeding problems. This also appeared to be a factory loaded round and I don’t really see any pressure issues or damage to the case.

Multiple Problems — Lake City 5.56×45 unknown year.

Sierra Case reloading pressure safety inspection

This case has suffered multiple failures and cannot be re-used. First its has have a very rounded shoulder that is split. Upon first look it was obvious that this round had been a victim of excess pressure. The firearm (perhaps an AR?) was apparently not in full battery, or there was possibly a headspace issue also. While taking a closer look, the primer was very flat and the outside radius of the primer cup had been lost. High pressure! Then I also noticed that there was an ejector mark on the case rim. This is most certainly an incident of excessive pressure. This case is ruined and should be discarded.

CLICK HERE for MORE .223 Rem Case Examples in Sierra Blog

To see more examples, view both Part I and Part II of the Case Diagnostics from Sierra Bullets:

» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part I
» Reloading 101: Case Diagnostics Part II

It is very important to observe and inspect your cases before each reloading. After awhile it becomes second nature to notice the little things. Never get complacent as you become more familiar with the reloading process. If ever in doubt, call Sierra’s Techs at 1-800-223-8799.

Sierra Bullets Case Diagnostics Blog

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